Discovery Series: Interview with Gino Rubert
Briana McKinnell for WelcometoCOMPANY
WelcometoCOMPANY had the pleasure of catching up with artist Gino Rubert while he was in New York City for the opening of his solo show, “True Love,” at Claire Oliver Gallery. The interview began with Gino taking us through his childhood ambitions and ending with where he is at in his current practice.
Suprisingly, as a young child, Gino did not want to be an artist; he thought that being an artist was existential existence, but he enjoyed drawing. Eventually he came to study illustration at Parsons, during this time he found that his creativity was actually being hindered rather than fostered. After three years at Parsons, his interest shifted from illustration to painting. Not long after, Gino had his first exhibition in a bookshop. This first solo show proved to be a success, nearly selling out.
Gino says he “accidentally” fell into becoming an artist - we’re quite glad he did. Despite his continued success, Gino feels extremely lucky to be able to support himself from his art, which is something not all artists can say. While he is happy painting, he admits that when he isn’t creating, he is overwhelmed with anxiety.
As writers, we interpret art for others, but we are always curious to know how artists themselves would describe their work. Rubert, although he will deny it, believes his work to be an unintentional diary. By his definition, this is not meant to be interpreted as a diary or reflection on his personal life, but more of a sentimental diary - one that explores the world of love, relationships and gender roles. Gino prefers his work to be intriguing and to make the viewer question what they are seeing: to fall between the familiar and unfamiliar.
Jean Jacques Rousseau once said, “To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say and to finish without knowing what you have written,” which Gino feels rings true of his artwork. He does not paint with a specific intention or to make a certain statement or thesis. Gino admits to being guided and inspired by the post-impressionism movement in Barcelona, as well as the work of Frida Kahlo, with whom he identifies closely because of his Mexican roots. While discussing his influences, Gino told us an insightful story about his last night spent in Rome, when he was studying at the Spanish Academy. That evening he stumbled upon a bag of old photographs; these would come to greatly alter the trajectory of his work. As a result, when he returned to Barcelona, he began to incorporate photography into his paintings. I ended our discussion by asking Gino what items in his Berlin studio he could not live without, and he appropriately stated his photographs. Thousands of pictures of the unknown surround him in his studio. Gino says he is, “Constantly surrounded by people staring at him,” and based on the success he has had thus far in his career, it is probably something to which he ought to become accustomed.