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Featured Artist Interview - Gillie and Marc

Husband and wife, Marc and Gillie Schattner, are international award-winning artists and Archibald Prize finalists.

Gillie, born in London in 1965 and Marc, born in Melbourne in 1961, have exhibited their art all over the world including solos in Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Belgium. Most of their artwork appears as diptychs.

They work collaboratively on the same art piece combining their talent to arrive at a single vision. Every aspect of the art piece has both their minds and hands on it, reflecting their individual passions and influences in life.

Marc Schattner studied Graphic Design at Swinburne, Melbourne. Gillie Schattner is a self-taught artist.

TAXI>>Hi Gillie and Marc! How do both of you work with each other as a husband-and-wife team?

Gillie/Marc>> We have been painting together for the last 18 years. Once we started painting together, we discovered our styles didn’t just complement each other: they merged. We created our own visual style and language, so that eventually people couldn’t tell our work apart. Relationships and love are ongoing themes in our artwork. Painting together on the same canvas has made us very aware of just how important love and understanding is. We’re a great team. We’ve found a way to turn our passion into something we can share and do together, and I just feel so lucky that it works.

Each painting has a lengthy process. After we have discussed at length subject matter and design, we do several sketches and then re-do them. We like to debate a lot. We then apply thick layers of impasto, this gives a 3D relief, almost a sculptural effect. It also adds dimension to our figurative art and objects. We like the idea that it jumps out at you. This dries for several days. Then we place a base coat of acrylic paint with block colours and shapes. We like our work to be expressionistic and so the style is loose and flowing. The paint is applied very thickly, then when that layer is dry we splatter with metallics and we were heavily influenced by Jackson Pollack for this step. When the paint is finally dry, we then paint in the outlines with black paint to give it the final depth, dimension and shape to complete it.

TAXI>>We absolutely love the piece "He could go anywhere he wanted". What is the story behind this exhibition, "The Dog in Us All "?

Gillie/Marc>> In this exhibition we explore the theme of true, unconditional love through man's best friend, the dog. We assign dogs human activities and give them human personalities, proposing an optimistic future of friendship and unconditional love for the human race. We honor the spirit and nature of the dog, and the way their love can make humans better at being human.
When we witness the devastation that man can cause to his environment and his fellow man, we think it is not only timely but of crucial importance to show another side of humanity - a side seen through the happiness, joy and love of our dogs.

TAXI>>Could you share with us why do you think Jesus would be a Skateboarder if he was here on earth with us today?

Gillie/Marc>> When Jesus walked the earth he was a youthful rebel. Let’s face it he came from a rural backwater, hung out with outcasts, and was seen by most of society as a misfit. He never went to university, never went to any great centres of learning, or power. He spoke to small crowds, and pushed his ideas principally through 11 teenagers he chose to hang out with. He had ideas of a better way of life, and chose to demonstrate those ideas by living that life. So if he was around today, he would probably do the same. Yep, he would be a skateboarder.

TAXI>>Aside from the love for Art and dogs, what else do you love most about life?

Gillie/Marc>> Spending time with our two beautiful children: Jessica, 17, and Ben, 13. They have been the highlights of our lives. Everything has meaning because of them.

TAXI>>What is your favourite memory of a certain exhibition/ artwork that you guys have worked on before, and could you tell us why?

Gillie/Marc>> Every artwork and exhibition is special and memorable when we are working on it. Each time we do a show it relates to what we are going through at that time in our lives and we learn and grow from everything we create.

TAXI>>How much time is usually put into a whole collection for exhibition? What is your working process like?

Gillie/Marc>> It takes us around 4-6 months to prepare for a show. Because there are two of us, however, we can work at twice the speed!

TAXI>>Which artists greatly inspire and motivate you?

Gillie/Marc>> We love conceptual contemporary artists like Jeff Koons, Banksy and Damien Hirst.

TAXI>>We’d love it if the both of you could complete this sentence: “If both Gillie and Marc weren’t doing what they're doing right now (i.e. being artists), Gillie would be ________ and Marc would be ________ ."

Gillie/Marc>> Gillie would be an actress and Marc would be a professional basketball player.

TAXI>>It’s been great having the both you on The Front Seat. Before we say goodbye, where would each of you like a TAXI to bring you right now?

Gillie/Marc>> To the airport to fly to India, a country we really want to visit.

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