Merida Review: How long have you been painting/writing/making music? (Yeah, we’re focusing on the art here, but it all feeds into each other, doesn’t it?)
Jane Gilday: been painting & drawing–“i wanna do coloring!”–as long as i can remember…my next-oldest sister, connie,(7 years older than me) also draws and paints, and from earliest days i wanted to do what she was doing..my mom played piano and i banged around on it, just making noise, but music making really grabbed hold of me at age 13, when the beatles hit the USA…zoom! never looked back…was playing in my first bands, for money even, by age 14.
Acrylic on Panel
MR: What were some of your early influences?
JG: visual art: albert pinkham ryder….andrew wyeth…fabrics…wallpaper….my sister connie’s drawings & paintings…everything seen just looking at the world around me…the many, many amazing illustrations in a 1920’s edition of ‘my book house’ that mom had found somewhere…my sister still has some of those books and i’ve bought my own–the ‘good ones’ from the 20’s & 30’s–at local flea markets…music: all kinda pop-rock-folk music heard on radio starting in the mid-1950’s..the zillions of 45’s my sisters trudy and connie had…the classical music mom played on piano and listened to on records…later all the beatle-stones-brit explosion bands, then dylan, then holy modal rounders, new lost city ramblers, incredible string band, then tons of rootsy-folk music and jazz etc….then patti smith (whose music-critic writing in creem etc i loved before she started a band, television, tons more….oh THE BLUE NILE i love the blue nile to the nth degree—plus assorted poets for lyrical content & inspiration etc
Happy Woman on Stoop
Acrylic on panel
MR: Do you know what you’re going to draw/write/etc when you start a project? Or does it just kind of come to you? Or some of both? I guess I mean, how thought out is it, and how much is spontaneous? Does that make sense?
JG: some of both tho what i love best is just starting with no preconception and seeing what happens…i love on-the-spot messy accidents and getting to that totally empty blank-mind state when there’s no words, just visual visual visual…same with music, tho obviously some songs have more deliberate shaping & sculpting to them..but i always try to record new ideas as soon as possible after they’ve occurred to me….i.e. “first thought, best thought”
Acrylic on panel
MR: Can you describe a day in your life? Any day.
JG: i wake up, have a bowl of the thick soups–more like stew–i make in crock pots, then an apple or orange…read while eating…then maybe play guitar some..then go to coffee shop for wi-fi..then do whatever seems like the best thing to do that day…no set pattern.
Acrylic and interference medium on canvas
MR: Do you have a favorite of your own works?
JG: there’s a few, but one is ‘harmonious essence of genesis’, a madonna kinda thing, owned by michael joseph who lives in nyc…michael is the curator of ancient manuscripts at rutgers university library–it’s among my facebook photos…mike is a writer….another is called ‘crucifixion of kathleen’–a triptych, and i think all or part of it is somewhere among my facebook photos…it’s in a private collection in pennsylvania.
Autumn Moonrise on Rocktown Road
MR: How did you get from punk to banjo???
JG : imo punk IS banjo and banjo is punk is rock is classical etc….long before i went to nyc & played in ‘the the’ i was playing banjo, fiddle, oldtime & roots & folk & jazz etc– from age 15 on…..tho i use such terms for convenience’s sake, i dont really believe in punk or americana or jazz or rock or classical or folk or ANY other such academic-reactionary needless-meaningless ‘definition’..music is just music and there’s only two kinds: good music and bad music…as duke ellington aspired to in his music: “beyond category”..and .as louis armstrong said: “it’s all folk music–i aint never seen no horse play music.”…and as keith richards said: “there’s only one note–you just stretch it this was and then that way”
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Jane Gilday is an artist, musician and poet living in Pennsylvania. Her artist statement: “jane gilday is 8 years old and likes to color“