Gay Outlaw, an artist of any medium
Local artist speaks of her creative journey
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 00:02
In Danforth Hall at Mills College on February 6th the multimedia artist and photographer Gay Outlaw gave insight into her creative process and life as an artist in the Bay Area. Lacking formal training in the arts, Gay Outlaw provides unique insight into her process and chosen mediums.
Beginning her life in Alabama, Outlaw studied French at University of Virginia and went on to study pastry at the La Varenne cooking school in France. Outlaw then found a niche in photography, studying under William Eggleston in New York.
In the early 1990’s Outlaw found herself in San Francisco and began her life as an out of the ordinary sculptor. Heavily influenced by her history in the art of pastry baking,
Outlaw began with puff pastry sculptures. She would make puff pastry books and hide them in her school’s library, or create large posts, like wooden beams, out of puff pastry.
Her most known pastry sculpture was located as a temporary public sculpture at the Yerba Buena Center, and consisted of fruitcake and aluminum. She created a serpentine wall of fruitcake and secured it with an aluminum exterior.
She chose this pastry because, if stored properly, it can be enjoyed for up to 40 years, and this was a 2-year piece.
Outlaw also experimented heavily with caramelized sugar. Creating a burnt orange glass effect, she used this medium to create larger scale sculptures of her interpretation of waves, boxes, and solid objects.
Wanting to veer away from her pastry works, Outlaw began to use pencils to create little sculptures of organic and geometric shapes.
Referring to her process as nothing but gluing pencils together, Outlaw displayed true craftsmanship; she first carved down the pencils, and then using glue and other random materials stuck them together to make fantastic shapes, even spheres.
Stating, “The whole process of making the pencil sculptures, I was trying to come up with an idea on how to make them large scale.” This brought her to creating a mountain piece out of rubber tubes filled with plaster and a support of silicone and wood.
This work inspired her to create cubes and various shapes out of tube like materials that one could see through; using, but not limited too, vinyl, cardboard, and santoprene. Through these, Outlaw really began to flourish as a conceptual artist in San Francisco.
Building connections and exhibit space, her collaborations and exhibitions became well known and discussed.
When asked what she thought of her title as a conceptual artist Outlaw replied, “I wouldn’t really consider myself conceptual. I wouldn’t consider myself a minimalist either, although my work shows a lot of minimalism and is often regarded as that.”
Outlaw is a woman of many mediums and a true craftsman and artist. Collaborating closely with her husband, Outlaw has gone on to begin painting, glasswork, and pate de verre. Outlaw states,
“I am the happiest when I am doing something…working with my hands.” Her artwork is fueled by her passion of creativity and handiwork and demonstrates her unique way of seeing the world and it’s beautiful shapes.
Outlaw’s most recent work on display is titled “New Work” and can be seen at the Gallery Paul Anglim on Geary Street in San Francisco.