The Innovative Works of Gigi Desine
Born: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Most of her life she moved from place to place, like a gypsy. Both her parents were artists. Highly gifted, yet highly dysfunctional people - their talent mostly undeveloped, their full creativity untapped or unrealized as the need to provide gave little time for their artistic endeavors. Poverty their best friend.
Gigi was exposed to many cultures, since her stepfather was an immigration lawyer, this exposure influenced, encouraged, and inspired the artist she is today. Gigi’s artistic works range from still-life acrylics with a dark, brooding, grisly hatred… to light, airy mixed media projects using vintage and antique objects.
Her clientele is equally as diverse.
She is a survivor by nature and a deviant by nurture. Her early years were training ground for the bullying and hazing she would encounter in all career fields she entered. The world, time and again, has proven to be an unsafe Eden.
For Gigi, art began in Grade Three. You will find the paper mache fish she created that day in a frame over her work table.
Creativity was highly encouraged, actually demanded, to survive childhood. The idea of portraying very private experiences, in a symbolic manner, became an outlet for the true ‘Gigi’ to communicate with people.
"As a child, every time I tried to open myself up to express what was going on inside me, I met with judgment, bullying and misunderstanding. Working 49 years, in oppressive environments, developes the habit of suppression. Creating is a way to vent feelings, examine demons and make dreams a reality."
In 1981 she became a consultant for Creative Circle then Gigi’s first acrylic “QUAILS” sold in 1989. 1990 she began a career as a professional facilitator with T.E.N. Training and Development and CareerTrack Seminars.
In 1997 she became a consultant for Creative Memories and, for two years, taught hundreds of women how to reclaim their memories and preserve them in a work of art. As her young daughter was home schooled, Gigi began teaching “fine art” to school-age children from 1995-2001.
In 1999, she was a formal educator with Conestoga College in Cambridge, Ontario. Her curriculum centered around art and humour therapy (gelatology). Teaching doctors, nurses and caregivers the biochemical value of art in the healing process. At the same time, Gigi also made numerous television and radio appearances and hosted a weekly talk show on CBC Radio.
In 2001 Gigi went into partnership to design and create an independent stamp line which, went well, until her business partner’s family emergency necessitated putting it on hold – never to be rekindled.
Due to a number of severe incidences in her career, Gigi took a leave of absence and began using art to heal her brain injury and work through
Tormented by vivid nightmares she often sketches to translate the terrifying images in her mind. In the process, her nightmares became the subject matter of her acrylic/alcohol ink pieces. Art has always been her nirvana.
In the summer of 2013 Gigi began working, one on one, with a number of trauma survivors who suffer the ill effects of PTSD. These weekly art sessions, both in groups and one on one, use various substrates, textures, colours, text and rusted/vintage embellishments. Various mediums, “Altered” books, art and objects have become effective tools for creating balance and energy in her life and the life of her students. Art journaling is a conduit that encourages a person’s brain to process its thoughts, feelings and emotions from traumatic events in a safe, healthy, nurturing way. Some projects are frightening because of the memories they trigger, some not…… but all of these projects, in one way or another, provide hope and a new perspective on the past for us -
the walking wounded.
In the final months of 2013 Gigi chose to pursue a professional career as a full time mixed media artist and educator. It is her hope to introduce, those suffering from PTSD, to the healing and peace that can be found when looking at the world through the eyes of an
Gigi has taught a number of mixed media classes at local art stores, travelled internationally to facilitate workshops on healing and art, appeared as a feature artist at an art retreat, and maintains a permanent revolving exhibit at a local gallery. In May 2014 Gigi joined Charity Wings Art Center as a Designer/Project Coordinator. She manages the Banners of Hope Project and a teaches a monthly online educator. Gigi designs, manages and promotes the Mo’art class (Monthly Online Art Class) which may be viewed at www.charitywings.org.
I have been married 28 years (to the same man), and I am a proud grandmother of a beautiful boy.
The 12 step program for Putting FUN Back Into Work (Illustrated) – First published 1993; Second Publishing 2014
Ivy and the Tummy Potatoes - 1991
Women Winning at Life - 1992
Pen and ink, watercolour, acrylic, sculpting, paper mache, art journal, altered books, fiber arts, airbrushing, woodworking, story boards, cake sculpting, metalwork.
Costume design, writing, polymer clay.
I enjoy making any type of art! To know it, is to do it!