INTERVIEW // Gab Bois
April 11th // Interviewer // Photo Series
Gab Bois Only rocks fake Gucci
Could you introduce yourself?
I do, I do photography, but amongst other things I do photography because right now it's the most efficient medium to like to do what I do, which is just trying to, bring life to some ideas of mine.
So I've, I've thought about painting and drawing and of these ideas I found photography to just be very instant. I'm pretty impatient in general so that, that works in my advantage.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Montreal, I enjoyed it a lot I think, I grew up as an only child. And my parents definitely played with me but also like made a lot of space for me to just like be alone. And it, it was kind of like if I bored, it's like figure it out. It left a lot of space to just like develop creativity. I think that plays a huge, a huge role still in what I do.
As a kid, what were the kind of things like activities and whatever, hobbies and stuff where you like did you find yourself getting into and gravitating?
I loved, any kind of like craft. I remember my parents and some of their friends just like hired a babysitter to babysit all of us at the same time during the summer. And everyone wanted to always like go to the park and stuff and I just didn't want it to like stay in and like work on the little craft and like do some scrapbooking or like draw. And everyone was just like, no, we're not doing that (laughing). So I remember just like bringing my own little stuff to the park and like just doing on the ground and yeah, I like, uh, I liked, I've always liked crafts and I also really liked playing outside, I was like always into like picking up some leaves, pickups and flowers and like making something with them and like making soup and stuff like that.
Working with what you had in front of you.
Yeah, and like my dad, I w I grew up watching my dad paint. He had a studio in the house and yeah, he's very private about his practice and always has been. But he always let me in and in his face to like, and asked for my opinion on stuff from a very young age.
So that, um, just helped foster a little bit creativity there.
Yeah, for sure. My dad is definitely like a big inspiration for me. He like the way he talks, he like talks with images and like one of my, my first memories, of like doing something something pretty with what I had was like, I remember once a bird flew into the window at her house and he died. And then I was really sad, but then my dad was like, it's okay, we'll make him like a nice little sanctuary. I picked up like all of these leaevs and all these flowers and like made this really beautiful arrangement. Yeah, it was, it was that kind of thing that I really like to do.
So when you started kind of getting more into art, do you remember something that kind of sticks out as like, like one of the first things you made that you were just like really proud of?
Mmmm...no. I think that's something that I still struggle with cause I don't ever feel like the work is good enough. I feel like it's all right. But I don't know. I think it took me a very, very long time and I don't think I'm still a hundred percent sure that like this is something that I could,
Yeah, I guess it goes to show everyone has, has a self doubts. Everyone kind of has a hyper critical eye for their own work.
I think it's, yeah, that's definitely something that I got to work on. But, um, the imposter syndrome is real. (Laughs) No, but there are no now and again, the occasional work that I'm like, oh, this is, this is really good, I like this a lot, But no, I don't think so. I was always very like critical of myself and still am. But I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.
You predominantly shoot self portraits. Is there something be said about that. I know you've mentioned being kind of patient, so Is that just a form of convenience?
There's definitely a part of it is because its convenient. But I guess my process is very lonely and not like in a bad way, I don't really feel lonely ever. I like being the only person responsible, whether it be a nice or a terrible outcome. I like only having to blame myself. But sometimes I work with models.
Yeah. I've seen that you've worked with models recently. Is that's something you you'd want to do more, or do you feel like you working on your own kind of gives you like, complete creative control.
And more freedom, but at the same time. I want to be aware that still just showing myself is maybe not as relatable, it's not diverse, It's very limiting in some ways, But sometimes it's just easier to work with models as well, but I like to work with female models when I do for the most part because that's an important part of the work.
When looking into your portfolio, it's kind of this clever, witty take on consumerism, you know, branding, uh, even branding oneself and almost like a surrealist kind of kind of twist on it.
Well thats was something that I had a lot of trouble with before, I think I'm like starting to figure it out a little bit. I was having this conversation with someone who was pitching this project to me and was said, "Oh you get it, cause you're like, you hate the system just like me and your work really like translates that." And I was like, no, (Laughs) I don't hate the system. I benefit from the system big time. So I don't hate it. I'm like playing with it. So it's like teasing the system almost. It's not really making fun of it.
Poking fun a little bit.
Yeah, yeah. But in a way that always remains playful. I'm not, I'm not bitter at all about anything. So its was surprising to me that it could be perceived like that, but I mean, I get it in a way,
Always going to be a spectrum
Yeah, yeah for sure. Like some of my parents' friends, like, um...Sometimes when I have dinner my mom and some of her friends, she'll say "Oh, show her your work!" And a lot of the time they'll go "Ewww" (Laughs) And they hate it. And it's just like its so ordinary. So I think like weird has definitely evolved in meaning for me because when I was starting out, I was doing more piercing and stuff that are like really physically uncomfortable. But I think the more I go, the more I like to make it more subtle and like nuance. I think I still incorporate that, but maybe not as consciously as I did before. But I think it's still part of the work
Absolutely. So moving forward, what goals have you sort of set for yourself or are there things your want to accomplish going forward?
Well, being here in New York for one thing, was something that I wanted to do for like at least two years. Just working with other people, other people whose work I admire or there's a similarity in her work, it's also different enough that it's like really interesting as a result. I think that's very, very stimulating for me.
And the thing that has been on my mind also for a bit is trying to get a more physical form of work. So whether it be by keeping the objects that I photograph or like showing in galleries, it can take like many different shapes.
Are there other mediums that you kind of want to work with or have have dabbled with?
When I was in art school, I was really, really into sculpting. I thought like if I was going to pursue an art career, it was going to be something related to sculpture. It's something that I've been wanting to get back into. But the thing is like once you get a taste of how quick you can get a result, it's hard to like get back into a slower process. And at least for me,
Yeah you almost get that instant gratification
Yeah. I admire artists who are able to make the thing, cook kid glaze it, paint it and then it takes like a whole two weeks to get the final product. I like do my shoots in like an hour usually. So it's something that I would like to, to experiment more and maybe also work on my patience. But I'm sure it's a different kind of satisfaction.
Who do you looks up to?
Well, I can say for sure all the women that I'm working with here (New York City). To name a few like, uh, Diana (Rojas) who does the ceramics, Nicole (McLaughlin) who does the slippers and (John) Yuyi, who does the temporary tattoos. These are all incredible artists that I look up to and I respect and am so grateful to be able to work with.
Yuyi in particular because I've known her for so long. She's one of the people who inspired me to get started. It's almost kind of like meeting your hero type thing, you know? So it's coming full circle.
Is there anything you would wanna say to your followers?
I have a lot of questions for them more than answers (Laughs) I find hard to balance is like how...cause I'd consider myself a pretty private person and sometimes I wonder like should I make my Instagram more personal? Cause I cause some, some people just think it's a curation account. But it's actually like all my work.
A lot of people have thought that I was a man before. And that's also something that I hate because like a lot of talks about the, the male gaze regarding the female body. And that's something that I find extremely insulting when that happens. I'm just wondering like what's the right balance between like leaving a space for the work only and also like what's the, what's the right balance between like what people want to know about me too?
Cause a lot of the time people don't care about that stuff, but then when I talk with friends, they're like, "No, you should! It would make people feel more connected to you." And I have people asking me all kinds of questions. So,I had a dis, if I had to have a discussion with my followers, it would probably be around that topic. Yeah.
And still trying to navigate that.
Check out more of Gab's Work //
Instagram // @gabbois
Website // http://gabbois.com/