A quick chat with Judi Hill of G.S. Hill Gallery.
N MAGAZINE: How long has your gallery been on Nantucket?
HILL: My husband, artist Greg Hill, and I opened our gallery in 1979. We were originally on Old South Wharf for 18 years, but in 1981 we moved over to Straight Wharf and have been here at 40 Straight Wharf ever since. Greg and I are both southern California natives, spent many years living and working in Maui, and now split our time between Nantucket and Savannah, GA.
N MAGAZINE: When did Greg start his career as an artist?
HILL: I actually have the first painting he did when he was twelve! It’s oil on canvas paper and it’s of sailboats, of all things, and is now hanging in our home in Georgia. Greg is self-taught but his mother was very artistic so I think he inherited a lot from her.
N MAGAZINE: Is Greg working on anything new these days?
HILL: Greg likes to stay fresh with his ideas, and right now he’s in what we’re calling a “contemporary realism” phase with a focus on clouds. Nantucket has the most beautiful clouds in the world! He is painting skies from different locations around the island — there’s “Clouds over Cisco,” “Clouds over Coatue,” “Clouds over Quidnet,” and he’s donating “Clouds over Great Point” to the Artists Association Gala & Auction event.
N MAGAZINE: Will Greg continue to work on his more traditional pieces as well?
HILL: Definitely. He has a whole series called “The Townies” that he’s been working on for a couple of years now. One is a view from the Dreamland and there’s also a huge painting from the Old South Church looking down onto town. We’re hoping to have this series up in the gallery by July 4th.
N MAGAZINE: Do you expect the contemporary realism to be more successful than the more traditional pieces?
HILL: You’re dealing with two different markets. I would say his new pieces lend themselves to a more contemporary person who is more interested in natural realism than something historic.
N MAGAZINE: What makes this gallery and Greg’s work unique in comparison to other galleries on the island?
HILL: It’s a one-man gallery, which is very rare. His longevity here as an artists proves, I think, that he is accomplished and well-regarded in his field. He is very comfortable as a painter, but he detests having to speak in public. He will not teach classes anymore. He’s a very soft-spoken, shy person when it comes to talking about himself. He says, “I just like to paint pretty pictures.”
N MAGAZINE: What makes the Nantucket art community different from the others you have lived and worked in?
HILL: Nantucket has been very good to us. We have a very strong art community here. It used to be just a few galleries in town and there were many more one-man shops on Old South Wharf, but it’s certainly grown in the 38 years we have been here. Giving back to the community is important, and we donate paintings to non-profit organizations we are involved in. You have to give back to Nantucket, you can’t just continually take from it…that’s our philosophy.