ARTIST STATEMENT

Since 1985, I have been creating portraits for clients who seek expression beyond a traditional approach to portraiture. For over three decades, I have practiced a unique style of combining the mediums of oil paint with analog black and white photography. The concept of the photograph capturing real time in portraiture has deeply intrigued me from the first moment I picked up a camera at age sixteen. That intrigue continues as I remain fascinated by the alchemy that takes place through the lens of the camera, onto film, into the darkroom and further developed into images. Uniting the surface of the image with paint, or drawings, or rubbing it with sandpaper or scratching words onto the negative allows me to further interpret the aesthetic form while the soul of the portrait remains based in photographic reality.

In my studio, I aim to provide an environment where subjects are comfortable and relax enough to expose something real about who they are in the world. My intention is to imagine a portrait that is equal parts subject and artist in a co-creation of truth and beauty. Success lies in an ability to anticipate, recognize and illustrate the spirit of a subject. There is a certain profound trust when that subject has authentically revealed something about themselves that is genuine and I deeply respect that confidence.
— Gail Hill

PORTRAIT PROCESS

The portrait sessions take place in a classic studio set up with strobe or natural lighting and backdrops. The studio is 2000 sq. ft. of white warehouse space with abundant natural lighting and high ceilings located in downtown Toronto. Out of city natural location and/or studio shooting is also available. Shooting sessions are approximately 90 minutes in length, depending upon number of subjects, with a wide range of images produced.

A consultation meeting is held after the studio session to review the proofs selected by the artist. The art form of the work can vary widely from traditional framed works to contemporary wallpaper to image books to sculptural works. Extensive portfolios of original works are available for review during this selection process.

It is the objective of the artist to co-create a work of art that reflects the individuality of each subject and there is an investment made in the consultation meetings to interpret all aspects of form, style, size, framing and installation sites.