Gregory Todd Wilkins
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Greg Wilkins moved when he was nine years old from the urban center to a small town--Eustis, Florida. Raised in a multi-ethnic, multi-national family, Wilkins was faced with adversity that shaped his development, social activism, and education. Attending Warren Wilson College as an undergraduate, he minored in art and was introduced to outsider artists—Mose Tolliver, Howard Finster, Minnie Evans, et al. Upon graduation, Wilkins accepted a position at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art furthering his art interest with the Herbert Waide Hemphill Collection. His experience at American Art advanced his love of twentieth century painting and photography--namely Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, Joseph Stella, Robert Rauschenburg, William de Kooning, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Aaron Siskind, Edward Muybridge, Irving Penn, et al.
Wilkins lives by a personal vision statement he wrote in 1985, “Creating a life of change impacting the lives of the one of the many”. This inspired him to work with others different from himself, traveling and living with indigenous people on over one-third of Earth’s landmasses, while growing and being actively engaged with communities that intersect at a crossroad of change. These experiences have influenced his art and way of seeing the world through a cultural, spiritual, and environmental lens.
Wilkins finds meaning in a hurried, nonsensical world where few find the time to contemplate, reflect, and renew. He embraces chaos and brings resolution to the way he interprets truth, allowing the viewer an opportunity to explore existence, while providing an understanding of, and questioning about, where we fit in the larger realm of being.
Through reconstruction, imagination, and collage, Wilkins reinterprets his creative process by building layers of paint, embroidery thread, graphite, ink, and beads. Enhanced, these elements transform into a new idea, a revelation of the original. The viewer confronts the work from their own lived experience with the artist’s desire they will reflect through a different lens.
Wilkins received a 2019 and 2016 Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Grant as well as a 2018 Small Arts Grant.
Summer 2018, he recevied an Artists on Main Street grant via the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in partnership with Springboard for the Arts and with support from the Bush Foundation.
Summer 2018, Wilkins received a Ringholz Foundation Art Prize.
Autumn 2018, Wilkins was elected to serve a two year term, 2019-2021, on the Minnesota Exhibition Artist Program panel, a curatorial program of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Gregory T. Wilkins' work is held in private collections in Minnesota, California, Florida, Idaho, and Washington, D.C.
To create comes from within; it is primal. From early scratches and scribbles, something greater emerges, and as an artist, I try to find meaning in a hurried, nonsensical world where few find the time to contemplate, reflect, and renew. Art for me embraces chaos and brings resolution to the way I interpret truth, allowing the viewer an opportunity to explore existence, and provide an understanding of where we fit in the larger realm of being. Art is not a choice; it is life itself that breathes through me.
When I was nine years old I began to x-stitch and crochet, and my peers relentlessly teased me because “Boys don’t sew”. Well, this boy did. Despite the onslaught of harassment and bullying, my love of creating grew—painting, beading, drawing, photography, theatre, and storytelling.
Growing up in a multi-national and multi-lingual home, I was different from most and faced with adversity. My local community did not understand my global perspective, what it meant to be a queer kid, and my love of all things different. This empowered me to be an advocate for change. Rather than allowing others to stunt my passion, my wings were unfurled. I found myself through my art, my authentic self—peculiar and unique.
These experiences shaped my work as a self-taught artist. I continue to work toward social justice by getting to know others that are different from myself; I take calculated risks and explore the unknown. This has lead me to volunteer with global communities on one-third of Earth’s land masses, and it has informed me of what it means to be an engaged community member transcending nation states while exploring “otherness” through my art.
My current work incorporates mixed media -- photography, painting, emboidery thread, sewing thread, ink, et al. I work directly on my photographs, paper, or canvas and see how an image may grow by adding or subtracting elements. Through reconstruction and collage, I interpret my creative process by building layers of paint, beads, and embroidery thread and discover new techniques while images re-emerge. The enhanced elements are transformed into something new, a revelation of the original. Taking risks allows me the freedom to explore, make “mistakes”, and grow as an artist.