More about Gigi Mills

Elizabeth Cook-Romero, writing for the Pasatiempo, notes that “Gigi Mills paints a world in flux.  Like the kaleidoscopic and fleeting manifestations of nature, every color and texture in Mills’ paintings seems as if it could change in the blink of an eye.”  Gigi’s recent sketches, collages, and paintings on panel do bear witness to an intuitive immediacy in media.  Thin paint, visible brushstrokes, sgraffito (scratched) lines, drawn marks, and collaged papers create a textural surface that clearly records the artist’s last touch and gesture.   Like the work of Milton Avery, Gigi abstracts space and forms to merely reference the physical world.  Her beaches, seasides, and interiors are placed in an impossible mixture of points of view, resulting in truly imaginary spaces.  An attention to flat geometric shapes, a rarity of detail, and a tendency to define her figures as silhouettes lends anonymity to her subjects.  Gigi observes, “The reduction of forms to a simplified elegance is essential to my paintings.  A successful piece should have the psychological and aesthetic weight to hold the viewer, to entice them to keep coming back to it.  It’s my goal with each painting to create extraordinary beauty with the ballast of emotional complexity.”
Working in series allows Gigi to tell a larger story amongst a group of related paintings.  The “Procession Series” seems to have subtly spawned from her personal history of being raised within the Mills Brothers’ Circus.  Burdened animals and clowns occupy a non-space en route to nowhere and conjure up the bittersweet quality of Samuel Beckett’s poetry and plays that Gigi enjoys.  Elements from previous series, such as Gigi’s museum interiors, drying laundry, reclining figures, Southern women, and still-lives featuring musical instruments and fruit, often reemerge.  In sketchbook pages and complex collages and paintings on bookboard, Gigi’s various series have begun to mingle.
Gigi has a BFA in Theatre from the College of Santa Fe, NM and an MA in Choreography from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  Her training results in an awareness of gesture and performance.  Interestingly, many of her paintings present themselves as stage sets, where the figures and interiors are conspicuously on display.  With all of their grace or awkwardness they face and confront the viewer.  Gigi Mills has exhibited throughout the US, Italy, France and in China, where she was a visiting artist in Zhangjiajie in 2009.

Jill Ricci wows the crowds in New Orleans

Jill Ricci, a New Jersey based artist I discovered through a fabulous Art Blogger girlfriend and contact her immediately. Jill Ricci’s works are SOOO New Orleans. Classy yet random. Classical, yet totally graffiti. I love the balance and the contrast which reminds me of our crazy city. Layers of time, decay and beauty.

To me her art speaks of a bohemian, gypsy dreamland displayed in a way that keeps you looking for more. I love how the patterns bring continuity and order to the randomness and layers. As she puts it “I want the pieces to evoke an old wall in Morocco, a Renaissance Church, a NYC subway wall and Malibu Barbie all simultaneously existing on one canvas.” I think she accomplishes just that.

Jill has a training that explains her eye for beauty and her skill at her craft. She studied Interior Design and Decorative Painting Finishes in Chicago. She hand beads all her wrks with archival materials and puts her Ricci magic into every unique piece she makes.

We are pleased to be Jill Ricci’s Southern representatives at Gallery Orange. Enjoy !!

Check out her page for all current pieces available

The “Less is More” simplicity of Gigi Mills

When the original fine works of Gigi Mills first arrived at Gallery Orange I was amazed at they drew the crowds in off the streets immediately. From people unknown to Gigi’s works to existing collectors from all around the US that were thrilled her works were now represented in New Orleans.

Gigi Mills’ works are all about “less is more” approach to design. It is more about what is not being said rather than what is. Composed of earthier neutral tones inspired from Milton Avery, Picasso and Matisse, Gigi leaves out details that keep the observer’s imagination sharp. The artist  has her own fresh style and signature that is uniquely “Gigi Mills” .  “What is the girl doing?” “Who else is in the room?”; all questions that Gigi cleverly leaves us with.

Gigi’s works are perfectly balanced and the forms oftentime simple and childlike. Her human forms are by no means anatomically correct, yet are so perfect compositionally and very pleasing to the eye.  Like Picasso once said “It took me a lifetime to paint like a child”. This approach takes much skill and practice to be able to accomplish perfectly. Gigi Mills is always very critical of her own works, and will destroy or paint over works she feels are not 100% completely perfect.

Gigi Mills was raised in the Mills Brothers Circus to a Russian father and an English mother. Creativity, dedication and hard work were taught at home as part of the daily routine. Qualities necessary and to make it as a fulltime artist in this fiercely competitive world. Gigi would sketch while travelling in hotels and 15 years ago decided she wanted to pursue her dream as of becoming a fulltime artist. Gigi was literally the starving artist to start with, and would sell her works anywhere she could at fairs and flea markets. One day a New York lady with a keen eye walked up and literally bought out her entire stall.

Gigi Mills’ art career has gone from strength to strength since these early days, to become an extremely respected, collected and loved Contemporary artist who shows both Nationally and Internationally.

We are proud to present the fine all original works on paper, book board and panel of Santa Fe based Gigi Mills.

Tracy Gielbert, Gallery Director

Gallery Orange, March 2012










What IS “original” art????

So you all get to hear the terms “original art” “giclees” “contemporary art” (pronounced zeeklees), etchings, serigraphs and other words surrounding the art world. What do they really MEAN?? I am about to explain hopefully and put light onto the matter.

“Contemporary” to me in my gallery means of TODAY (living artists)  although some say that contemporary is everything from World War II (late 1940s) onwards.

“Original” quite simply means a unique one-off piece or small edition hand-pulled print from the artists own hand i.e an oil, acrylic, watercolor painting, etching or a drawing  (i.e. not a machine driven process like a giclee).

This term “original” however gets a little complicated when we get to the world of  prints. An “Original Fine” print means pulled from the copper plate, lithographic stone or woodcut that the artist carved, etched or drew or carved into him/herself”.

Certain artisinal printmaking techniques are extremely respected and still taught at Art Colleges worldwide.  Under the “printmaking” umbrella falls works on zinc/copper “etchings”,  stone lithographs, lino cuts, woodcuts and even hand pulled silk prints (or serigraphs which Andy Warhol made famous).  I guess the basic potato print is the most basic form of original printmaking I can explain. The  art print business, however,  can use the words to his own advantage ie. “original lithograph” means that yes it IS a lithograph from a lithographic stone, but not necessarily from the artists own hand. In many cases, the lithographic stone was used to produce large amounts of works too where master lithographers took the original images and “translated” them onto the stones. These are techically not ‘fine prints” but are called “afters” (ie. a print “after” a design from the artist).   Alot of the modern masters did do the work on the stones themselves using this artisinal process and these pieces are always worth more money.

Original works from the artists own hand are always more valuable and desirable.

Giclees (derived from French “to spray”) are NEVER from the artists own hand, because its a mechanical process whereby the original image is “scanned” in and then the printer can recreat the image either on paper or on canvas. A kind of massive ink jet printer.  This has become a cheap way for painters to mass produce their works. Sometimes they can even go in and hand embellish parts of it, but its is NOT a respected nor artisinal art form.

Photographers use the giclee process alot to translate their works onto large scale canvases because the actual image/photography is the art form in this case.

There is a new law in the French Quarter that allows “original art” to be sold sales tax free. Anything original or under 100 prints. The hand pulled prints (etchings, woodcuts etc) fall into this catagory, but machine driven giclees do not. This is a cool bonus for locals to buy original art in these “cultural product districts” and save themselves almost 10%.

Oil paint is a great medium. Basically pigment in linseed oil. One of the most respected and the oldest used. Its advantages are great use of the mediums and a whole range of glazes and techniques. Its disadvantages are that it has a longer drying time and some artists can be allergic to the chemicals used.

Acrylic is great it is basically pigment in a “glue” thats fast drying and holds its color forever. Water based, non-smelly and easy to dilute to make glazes or use with fillers to make body.

Original art collecting can be fun and a great hobby to get the whole family involved in over the years. A great investment to bring warmth and color to your home, and if you buy the right hard working, desirable and prolific artists,  you can watch your investment grow while enjoying the art with friends and family on a daily basis.

I am always happy to answer you art questions should you have them.

BE original BUY original is our motto at Gallery Orange !!

Tracy Gielbert, Gallery Owner and Director








Sarah Ashley Longshore and her creative hiatus at the lake

Sarah Ashley Longshore. New Orleans artist.  We all hear her name daily, read about her in blogs and magazines and and see her wonderfully large and colorful works full of creativity and humor. Wow she even has a billboard up in New Orleans right now as part of an International billboard exhibit around the city.

Sarah Ashley Longshore is an extremely fast emerging talent indeed and probably one of the most popular and loved young artists in the South, with clients worldwide from Brazil to Austrailia. This client base grows daily when people see her works on other people’s walls, recognise the young talent and the vivacity in her canvases and want to be part of the magic.

Sarah Ashley paints originals only, and every piece is hand painted and resined by herself. Part of her sucess is that her paintings are larger than life, but the artist is too. Sarah Ashley has an incredibly sharp sense of humor and a personality that is extremely outgoing, fun loving and warm. Her friends and collectors worldwide all love and support her and spread the joy and word about this fabulous young artist they have discovered.

Outside we see the glitter and glam of her works with subjects as Trophy Wives, Birkin Bags, Hollywood Stars and Champagne, she really is a down to earth and intelligent Southern girl.

Originally from Montgomery, Alabama,  Sarah Ashley Longshore actually studied English Literature at the University in Montana, and became involved with nature very much during this period in her life. Sarah Ashley likes to fish, go for nature walks and enjoy natural surroundings of birds and other wildlife.

She is not BEIGE nor does she paint beige. She believes you should model your house around bold colors and the art and does not believe in monochromatic color schemes and paintings that “fit with the sofa”.

What does Sarah Ashley do on her “down” time”?  Well I have been knowing Sarah Ashley for a few years now and I can tell you that you will not meet a more harder working  artist. Down time hardly exists in her life anymore, because she is so wanted as a person, and extremely determined as an artist and entrepreneur. She loves to enjoy great food and wine and travel is one of her biggest passions. A wee bit of a gypsy at heart, she loves to experience new cultures and actually immerse herself in them. She takes a month or two to Maui per year to paint in nature, and last year she took a month in my country of  The Netherlands too (hence her darker Dutch pieces a la “Girl with the Pearl Earring”). Sarah Ashley Longshore was spotted in the Vermeer museums, on the fruit and vegetable markets buying fresh flowers for her temporary studio, riding huge bikes with baskets of Dutch shopping fearlessly through the streets and jumping on trains to Antwerp to meet clients. As a Dutch person myself, it was a joy to see her adopt the culture 110% and become part of its daily routines.

In order to get new inspirations she travels (traveling creative hiatus) and to get many new works done for shows and exhibit deadlines, she actually ESCAPES from her studio in New Orleans and goes to her family’s lake house in Alabama. Sarah Ashley loads her truck up with canvases and paint and steals away for a week or two and keeps outside contact to a minimum.

We wait with abated breathe, as always to see her new collections and wish her creativity as always  !!