"I was raised in the suburbs and worked in New York City but the farmlands of upstate New York are my home. The paintings I create are a romanticized view of life in rural America, inspired by the vintage farming signs I'll often find on old barns or in antique shops. While the farm animals, vegetables and botanicals I paint are filled with detail and realism, it's the "idea" of the subject I'm after - a stylized version that represents the country living lifestyle. My optimism and subtle sense of humor find their way into my work, either through the quirkiness of the art or a pun in the calligraphy painted over the imagery.
As the wife of a romantic with four beautiful children and a painting studio that looks out over rolling farmlands, I am living my dream of an artist's life in the country. My paintings are grounded in that dream".
While still in high school, Gigi refined her drawing and painting skills through atelier classes at The Art Students League of New York, where students train with a working artist in a studio setting. Gigi later enrolled at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology where she could combine her artistic skills with her knowledge of clothing design and further develop her sense of color and style in the world of fashion.
Shortly after earning a degree in fashion design, Gigi's professional career literally took off. She began traveling the world for iconic designers such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman. Although the lifestyle was glamorous and exciting, Gigi began to realize that the frenetic pace of the fashion world left little time for her artistic expression.
Gigi Begin's artwork is created in collaboration with her husband and business partner, John Begin, a woodworker and designer of fine art furniture who collects and re-purposes the rustic wood boards which become the canvases for her paintings. Old post-and-beams, barn boards, scraps from the lumber milling process or an old door might find their way into her art as John seeks out pieces with just the right amount of checks, cracks, knots, tool marks, stains and heft to bring charm and warmth to the finished piece.
Selected boards are specially prepared by John and then handed over to Gigi to create the imagery. Inspiration for Gigi's paintings often comes from the board itself – its shape or size might spark an idea. But the artist also keeps ideas in a sketchpad, a practice she acquired during her years as a clothing designer in New York's fashion industry. An interesting pencil thumbnail will be enlarged and elaborated into a full-color work of art, showcasing her sensibility for design, color, seasons and trends cultivated from her former career.
Gigi then carefully begins to paint directly on the board, allowing the natural charm of the wood to shine through as her subject and the written word playfully interact. The calligraphy is hand-painted. Hanging hardware is professionally mounted by John, whose background in carpentry guarantees a quality product.
Each piece is original, signed and dated by the artist. Many of Gigi Begin's pieces are also available as fine art prints, with careful attention paid to maintaining the integrity of the unique artistry of her original paintings.