Artist Bio: Gerard Maille

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Artist Bio - Gerard Maille

My journey as an artist began, as with so many children, with a love of drawing. In fact, all kinds of manual and construction activities attracted me as a child. My parents, recognizing my natural artistic flair, sent me to a fine arts school for several years, until I was about seventeen. The experience was pure joy. I loved it all, and I remember especially the smells of the art studio, a mixture of paint, clay and turpentine.

     This pathway, however, was sadly not to continue, as I then entered the French Air Force. Yes, I am French, born on the Mediterranean Coast of France in the fishing port of Sѐte. I suppose being French kind of goes hand in hand with being an artist, but at this point in my life such was not to be. I was born in the post-World War 2 era, and my parents saw a need for job security, rather than me becoming a Rembrandt or a Gaugin. My artistic journey was therefore interrupted.

     In 1974, I married an Australian girl, and we set forth to make a life for ourselves in the north of France. I worked in aviation at Bourget Airport in Paris, and we got on with family life. In my spare time I painted, thriving on the encouragement of my wife and children. Our home became my gallery. At this point, my painting style was heavily influenced by the great French classics, and I loved painting still life, landscape and seascape. Oil on canvas became my hobby.

     In 1986 we decided to emigrate to Australia, a life changing experience on many levels. For one thing, it signalled the end of my career in aviation, as I was determined to forge a new career in art. This began when I decided to do a graphic art course in Brisbane in 1988, with a view, of course, to opening a graphic art business, which I did, under the name of “GM Design”.

     The nature of my business evolved very quickly, as I saw opportunity to make my art even more commercial beyond just graphic art. I began to do murals, commission paintings, decorative art for commercial venues and home interiors and exteriors, and eventually gilding. It was a world of art expression that I would never have dreamt of in France, and there I was, making a career of it in Australia. The name of my business changed most appropriately to “Art on Walls”.

     As I continue to run my business today, my focus has turned more to fine art, a kind of return to the origins of my love of art, and also a return to my personal origins in the Mediterranean region of France. I love painting everything Mediterranean, but with the difference that I now paint in “trick of the eye” style [“trompe l’oeil”] . I am particularly proud of my window effect paintings, which have proven very popular.

My Influences

Gérard studied art at the “Académie des Beaux Arts” from1965 to 1969, and from there his artistic pathway evolved. In France, in the early years, he concentrated mainly on still life, landscape and seascape, being strongly influenced by the great classics, among them Le Caravage, Rembrandt, Magritte, Henri Cadiou and Jean Malice.

The art forms “ Trompe L’oeil” and murals are other main features of Gérard’s “Art on Walls” business.

“Trompe L’oeil” [trick of the eye] is a form of illusionary art, designed to deceive the viewer into believing that the painting is real. “Trompe L’oeil” originated in ancient Greece and was also used by the Romans, but was lost during the Dark Ages. It was revived during the Renaissance and became very popular in the Baroque age when it was used to render a room more interesting by making it seem more spacious, and by incorporating elements of fantasy in the form of structural features, objects and people. Gérard finds that “Trompe L’oeil” involves painting a scene so realistically that it looks like a natural, integral part of the area on which it is painted. “I once painted a window scene, and after it was completed and hung on the wall, the client’s cat tried to jump through the window. The client was astounded, and so was I”. Another time Gérard found two butterflies hovering around a flowering vine, which was part of a Tuscany landscape.

Gérard also offers an innovative style of painting, which he refers to as the “Window Effect”. This is his personal style of “Trompe L’oeil” where the frame of the painting replicates a window frame and sill. The window view with three-dimensional effect allows the onlooker to “step out” into the scene of the painting. A vacant wall suddenly comes to life with a beautiful landscape or seascape view, bringing light and interest to a room. How more romantic and transporting than to look out your “Window Effect” on to your dreamscape.