Painting: #figurativepainting #contemporarypainter #contemporaryrealism #614artist @gg_paint


Grant Gilsdorf is a contemporary figurative painter based in Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Upcoming Exhibitions 2019

Laluzapaloosa at La Luz De Jesus Gallery Santa Monica, CA

2019 Showcase at Arch Enemy Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Visage at Brandt Roberts Gallery, Columbus, OH



Bending Over Backwards Acrylic on Linen 30 x 40 inches

Bending Over Backwards
Acrylic on Linen
30 x 40 inches

What current trends are you following and why?

Any artist who is NOT following current trends should be careful. Art is often a social mirror, or at the very least can be predicated by the cultural baggage a viewer brings to the piece. It’s important to understand how your work fits into the greater view of things.

So, I follow numerous design blogs, pay close attention to branding, entertainment, music, social media, etc. I may not participate or engage in the trends… but it helps to know how my work sits next to everything. When I’m not making the art, I’m thinking about it, and that includes staying awake to everything around you. 

A fleeting glimmer Acrylic on Canvas 18x24

A fleeting glimmer
Acrylic on Canvas

How or where do you seek out opportunities?

Art is a hustle. You get to a certain level where every artist has talent, and the great separator with be the passion and effort one puts in. It is so much easier to find opportunity in this culture. There are so many blogs who need daily content, social media, online galleries, etc.

Personally, the opportunities I’m most interested in are ways in which I can get the physical piece in front of an audience. Seeing work online is our new standard, but we run the risk of missing out on experiencing art. So, I’m constantly scheming up grass roots pop up shows, or ways to create events where my physical pieces can be experienced in person. How can I go beyond putting painting on a wall… how do I create an event or experience?

Explain your process.

The process begins when I’m not making art. That is when I’m trying to refill the inspiration cup and gather ingredients for future pieces. At some point in there… a specific concept with emerge or push itself forward. Then I usually write/research and further develop the idea. Then I work on thumbnails and play with composition. Once I feel confident in what I’m pursuing, I move on from the sketchbook and start gathering references. Those might be clothes, locations, models, etc. I photograph what I need and then use Photoshop as my main tool. I do variations and tweaks within that program until I’m satisfied with the image. I would say this is my longest stage. From there I project and trace the composition, and then re-draw or exaggerate features over top of the transfer. From there its just painting your ass off and trying to find that euphoric flow that we all chase in the process of making. 

Who is your art crush?

I think Andrew Wyeth is the greatest painter who ever lived. There seems to be this invisible entity that hovers in his work. Like the atmosphere around his subjects is a character in and of itself. I strive to build that same weight and mood in my work. There are contemporaries who follow on in that same vein… Jeremy Geddes comes to mind. He is a modern master.

What concept or narrative is behind your work?

My art is where I’m sorting out an exploring the big ideas that can’t be tucked away or categorized in my brain. I explore themes like love, self-actualization, the soul, parallel dimensions, connection, etc. Sometimes it’s a reaction to something societal that I struggle to process. But it’s safe to say that my work is all narrative. I prefer to try to give the viewer 80% of the puzzle pieces and allow them to fill in the last few parts of the narrative. In my experience dissonance is more intriguing, but it can only work alongside stable and recognizable aspects. 

Patina  Acrylic on Linen 24x30

Acrylic on Linen

How do you navigate the art world?

I navigate by staying authentic. It is easy to chase a trend or create something that you know will draw a reaction, but I strive to create something timeless. I haven’t achieved it, and I may never, but that pursuit is so rewarding to me. So, I make art according to my own personal compass, and luckily others have responded to it. I suspect we know when someone is being inauthentic in their work. We sense it somehow. So, I try to be reflective and honest with myself and my intentions.

The other key seems obvious, but you need to be a good human being. Be as kind and grateful as possible. You will not establish yourself in the artworld without help along the way. That help can come out of nowhere, so you cannot afford to ever be anything but your best self. Most of my opportunities have resulted from positive interactions and relationships. No one wants to go out of their way to help an asshole.