Canadian multidisciplinary artist Gab Bois aims to disrupt the meaning of everyday objects by taking them out of context to create new significance. She has created a dress made out of scrabble pieces, sandals made of banana peels, and jewelry made out of fruit loops. In the last year, Gab’s art has taken off on social media, which has, in part, allowed her to work with companies in a range of industries, including fashion, auto, and food and beverage. In our conversation with Gab, we dig into the beginnings of her career, the inspiration for her art, and what she wants for the future.
YOU CHANGED YOUR CAREER PATH FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER TO ARTIST FOUR YEARS AGO. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR INSIGHTS YOU CAN SHARE ABOUT PIVOTING AND CHOOSING A CAREER THAT IS GROUNDED IN YOUR PASSION?
Yes! So, I was in the process of getting my bachelor’s in elementary school education back in 2016 when my photography started to pick up online a little bit. In 2017, I decided to pause my studies to give photography a shot, while working more hours at the retail job I had at the time. Later on, I got a job in photo editing, and now it’s been a year and a half since and I’m doing this full time. While I really think I would’ve also been happy being an elementary school teacher, I’m glad I decided to give photography a chance. While it felt terrifying at the time, I couldn’t have ever imagined all the amazing things that would come from that decision.
YOU HAVE PHOTOGRAPHED FOR A RANGE OF INDUSTRIES FROM FASHION AND MAKEUP TO CARS AND EDITORIAL. WHICH CATEGORY OR INDUSTRY HAVE YOU FOUND HAS STRETCHED YOUR CREATIVITY THE MOST?
The kind of work I do is similar to a recipe you can apply to different situations and industries. Someone had once made this analogy between my work and LEGOs: they have LEGO versions of everything from architecture to flowers to Harry Potter. I hope to create a language that translates to different areas, and that takes the form of visual style. Working with everyday objects makes everything more relatable. I work in fashion and beauty the most which I absolutely love, it’s also where I feel the most comfortable but that’s not always what brings the most creative challenge and growth. So far, I think my work in spirits and travel has been the biggest challenge.
YOU USE DIFFERENT MEDIUMS TO CREATE YOUR IMAGES. IS THERE ONE MEDIUM THAT HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE? IS THERE A MEDIUM YOU HAVEN’T USED THAT YOU’D LIKE TO?
Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables are some of my favorite subjects but also some of the most challenging to work with, as I can’t leave them open overnight and pick the project back up. I am currently in the process of making real objects out of some of the subjects from my photos and it’s been extremely fulfilling. I usually would put something together for a photo only to take it apart later, or eat it if it was food-based, but I wanted to make 3D pieces that people can’t only look at but also touch and interact with.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FROM?
Movies, ads, home decor, food, my personal interests, trends, nature, human interactions, tech products, I find that most things can [inspire me]…
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
It all starts with an idea. That idea can come on its own, but sometimes it requires a good old brainstorming session. Once I settle on an idea, I then make a list of everything that needs to be done in order to bring it to life, for example, a list of props and tools. Afterward, I go into production. This part can vary in time and complexity depending on the idea. I’ll make the sets and photograph them in my studio or on location. The last part is post-production, and that can also vary in time. I try my best to limit that part as much as possible and make the props as perfect as possible in real life, as it’s more of a challenge.
DO YOU THINK THAT BEING A PART OF GEN Z AND GROWING UP IN A SOCIETY OF HYPER-CONSUMPTION, EVER-PRESENT TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAS INFLUENCED YOUR WORK AND CREATIVE PROCESS?
Definitely. I love to play at the intersection of different themes and technology is definitely one of them. Also, with Instagram being my main tool of diffusion, the platform itself has influenced my work a lot. While all being on the same wavelength, I make different work for Instagram than for clients, and for more personal or editorial projects. I know that Instagram content is being consumed at a very fast pace and looked at, most of the time, only for a second or two, so I keep that in mind.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU HOPE TO HAVE IN THE FUTURE?
I really want to keep working on 3D pieces and make some wearable items. I want to focus on design a lot more, not to replace photography, but to compliment it. Some of my ultimate life goals are to direct a movie and design a themed hotel.
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