Artist Interview: Max Gibbons

Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
My name is Max Gibbons and I have been practicing lettering in various forms for about 10 years. Recently I have been focused on calligraphy and sign lettering but I have a background in graffiti lettering and typography.

What medium(s) do you work in & why?
While I usually stick to inks, acrylics, and spray paint I try not to limit myself when creating a piece. I paint on canvas, reclaimed wood, found objects, and have done large-scale projects using gardening rakes on wet beach sand. Since my artwork is based around lettering I will really use anything that I can create letters with, whether that is a ballpoint pen or a janitors mop soaked in ink.

What is your creative process like?
Since I am creating artwork composed of words and phrases I often choose poems or song lyrics that speak to me on some level. I also include the names of friends and loved ones in my works as tributes and shout outs.

What is the best art-related advice you’ve received?
Just keep practicing and repeat your processes. With calligraphy practice is needed in order for your hand to understand how brush strokes can form letters. After lots of practice your hand almost instinctually knows where to go. It’s all about repetition.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
Evolving is something that all artists must face head-on and it is hard to break away from tried and true methods of creation. Once you get good at a particular skill it is tough to try to learn something new, to be bad at something and to embrace failure. My biggest challenge is inviting that failure and using it to grow, rather than hamper, my own growth as an artist.

Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece:
Instead of talking about one of the pieces that I have for sale I would like to talk about the wall itself on which those paintings are hanging. The mural that I painted on the wall took about 10 hours and has up to 7 layers of paint in some areas. The layers include song lyrics, verses from poems, and the names of loved ones who I hold dear. I love working on a larger scale and having the ability to paint this mural at Artomatic was a real treat. I love how the metallic colors pop off of the blue and black backgrounds and I enjoy how it is one of the first pieces of artwork that you notice when you walk into Area 4. Here is a picture of the completed piece:

Max Gibbon's Wall

Max Gibbon’s Wall

And here is a time-lapse video of the mural being painted: https://instagram.com/p/9tnMawyLTF/

What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
This is my first time attending, let alone exhibiting, at an Artomatic event and my favorite part so far has been meeting the other artists. Having such a positive space like AOM where artists can showcase their work and meet one another is fantastic and I look forward to being involved in future events and exhibitions.

What is your website (or other method of contact):
The best way to view my work is through Instagram at https://instagram.com/maxgibbonslettering/. I post most of my work on there and I have plenty of pictures and videos from Artomatic. Also, you can reach me by email at mx.gibbons@gmail.com

Here is a picture of one of my most recent murals located on U St between 14th and 13th St:

Mural on U Street

You can see more of Max’s work on display at Artomatic 2015 on the third floor, space 4-095.