Bryant Giles has made a remarkable journey from his Midwestern roots to becoming an internationally celebrated artist and designer. Residing between Los Angeles and Tokyo, Giles is renowned for his unique approach to art and design, seamlessly blending emotional depth with life experiences. His work tackles complex themes such as mental health, socio-economic conditions, and freedom of speech, transcending traditional art boundaries.
His latest venture, the “I’M ALIVE?” solo exhibition at Berlin’s Schlachter 151, marks a significant milestone in his career. An extension of his show in Tokyo, this exhibition features 32 pieces that deeply engage with themes of existence and societal issues. Giles’ art explores human psyche and thought nuances, utilizing a variety of mediums like film, painting, photography, drawings, and video works.
In an exclusive interview with DSCENE Magazine, editor Katarina Doric sits down with Bryant Giles, an artist who continually pushes the boundaries of traditional art forms. This conversation offers a glimpse into Giles’ creative process, inspirations, and the powerful messages he conveys through his art. The interview is an opportunity to
In your new exhibition “I’M ALIVE?” in Berlin, an extension from Tokyo, you create a dialogue between these cities. Could you reflect on the interconnectedness of global art scenes and how these varying cultural landscapes inform your work? – Just like anywhere we inhabit in our lives, the landscape affects our point of view. I’ve always lived an inch shy of a nomadic life. It seems now I lay my head in full embrace. My days reflect the pieces that compile “ I’M ALIVE? “.
The show is a deep reflection on contemporary life and mental health. What drew you to these topics, and how do they resonate with your personal experiences? – Perhaps the lack of a therapist or any consistent outlet for expression. The arts have always kept me afoot , throughout the board. This life is fragile , and beyond deadlines , I can’t predict where I’ll be next week. That said , being present while simultaneously creating for tomorrow has consumed my mind in whole. I can only illustrate pictures I’ve seen in passing.
The exhibition prompts viewers to question their own existence and realities. How do you perceive the role of contemporary art in challenging and expanding our understanding of existence? – I guess it depends on the eye of the beholder. A piece of art can be a chamber of reflection or a nice piece of decor in your living room. It’s not up to me to tell you how to feel.
Your works often critique systemic issues and social injustices. How does art contribute to the discourse on these critical issues, and how do you navigate the balance between artistry and activism? – I’ve become more selfish in the narratives of my work. Most of this body of work questions my own existence and revisits a lot of my own best / worst memories. Amongst the chaos lies drop of ideals both social and systematic. But in the world of self reflection, honest self reflection that is, you’re just pointing the finger at yourself. And in this case I am doing just that, and I’m asking “Are you here? Really? “
A piece of art can be a chamber of reflection or a nice piece of decor in your living room. It’s not up to me to tell you how to feel.
With your roots in Chicago and Michigan City, how do these origins intertwine with your creative expression, especially in the realms of identity and systemic critique? – Not at all. I guess I’m tied to Chicago forever but I have not been to either place in years. I’ve spent most of my time these days abroad which has changed my life and my perspective completely.
From New Balance and Nike to Levi’s, how do you choose which brands to collaborate with? What do you look for in a potential collaboration? – A uniform for the moment. In the hope that it’ll last a lifetime. I design in the same breath as I paint. So the future is always in mind but so is the now. How do I feel, now?
I need to experience life before I speak artistically. I have a fear of saying nothing.
How do these collaborations shape your artistic identity and how does your independent art practice influence these partnerships? – I try to keep my artwork separate from my serious design work projects, gone homme for example. But if the project is from the same world of my art practice, I try to do it as tastefully. It’s always a bit harder when your artwork is involved.
With the recent launch of your clothing brand, Gone Homme, how do you balance your identity as an artist with that of a fashion designer? How do these two roles influence each other? – There is no me without the other. The two have been strong passions of mine since birth. Like mentioned previously, I try to completely separate the two , but I’m far from finished – and I have a lot more to say with my artwork and my design work. And everything that falls in between.
Do you have any unusual or unexpected rituals or habits that you follow before starting a new piece of work? – I need to experience life before I speak artistically. I have a fear of saying nothing. But not in the sense where silence speaks the loudest , but in the sense where my words get lost amidst the jumble of everything else we consume. I don’t know if that’s unusual, but my need for escapism feels a bit unreal. I fear losing my artistic voice to lost of my own attention span.
If you were to create a time capsule today with the intent of it being opened in 100 years, what three items would you place inside, and why? – “My Korg 64 key , my laptop , and a shure microphone.”
As cliche as it sounds, be yourself. And hold on to your privacy like your life depends on it. Because it does.
If you had pursued a career completely outside of art and design, what do you think it would have been? – Music / film.
Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re particularly excited about? What can your followers expect from Bryant Giles in the near future? – There’s a lot. A lot. I don’t think anyone can really predict what I have in store, and that’s pretty exciting. And with time, kinda frightening. Time will tell.
Lastly, what advice would you give to young artists trying to find their voice and place in the art world today? – As cliche as it sounds, be yourself. And hold on to your privacy like your life depends on it. Because it does.
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