MEET THE ARTISTS: GILLIE AND MARC
Posted on May 13 2016
Fall in Love with the Weird and Wonderful Dogman and Rabbitgirl
...and get to know their inspirational creators Gillie and Marc
Gillie and Marc are award-winning contemporary artists who believe everything is made better through togetherness. Their journey begun 25 years ago when they got married and started making Art together.
The artists’ iconic alter-egos, Dogman and Rabbitgirl, reflect their incredible love story while celebrating the powerful bond between humans and animals.
Gillie and Marc paint, sculpt, and photograph with the goal of creating joyful, thought-provoking and interactive works that challenge the status quo.
The pair are one of Australia's most celebrated artists. In their home country, their sculptures can be found in Perth, in Federation Square in Melbourne, at Woolloomooloo Wharf, outside a hotel in Singapore, in Taronga Zoo, in the Sydney Children’s Hospital – they’re everywhere.
Why We Love Gillie and Marc
1. An amazing 25-year-long love story
“We first met in Hong Kong. Gillie was a nurse from England and I was a boy from the ‘burbs’ of Melbourne,” Marc says. “Even though we were both engaged to other people, we instantly realized we were soul mates, someone to start a journey with encompassing our mutual love for art and adventure.”
“Seven days later we were married in the foothills of Mount Everest,” says Gillie. “We recently celebrated a beautiful 25-year anniversary in the stunning backdrop of the Blue Mountains.”
Gillie and Marc believe the secret to their long, happy marriage is to always make sure to schedule in quality time with one another. Even though they work together every day, they still schedule in time to properly talk. Going out to share a meal is one of the easiest (and best ways) to do this.
The artists not only share an unsurpassed dedication to their art but also love for their two children, whom Gillie describes as their ‘best friends’ - along with their fur baby, Indie the Weimaraner, of course.
2. Dogman and Rabbitgirl were inspired by Ancient Egyptian Art
“The concept of Dogman and Rabbitgirl originated on a family trip to Egypt,” says Marc. “Theriocephaly (meaning beast head) is the ancient Egyptian art practice of putting an animal head on the body of a human or deity. It was believed the human would evoke the qualities of the animal. Whenever we were down we would look to our dog whose unconditional love and happiness is so infectious.
So we made a few sculptures and paintings of Dogman but after a while we felt like he deserved a partner so Dogman and Rabbitgirl became our alter egos.
In the wild, dogs hunt and kill rabbits, but in this world the rules are discarded and new possibilities open up. The dog and the rabbit become best friends and soul-mates.”
3. They draw inspiration from Andy Warhol
“We draw a huge amount of inspiration from Andy Warhol,” Marc explains. “He started off working in advertising which was our background too. Then when he did start making art he wasn’t defined by any medium – he threw himself into film, painting, performance art … anything really. We also love that he worked outside of the traditional art societies and expectations. He was constantly being criticized by how prolific he was with his work. And like us, his goal was to make his art accessible, relevant and popular which started the pop art movement.”
“We’re also passionate about animal conservation and that’s a recurring theme in our work,” Gillie says. “When we stop to consider the staggering amounts of magnificent creatures on the brink of extinction, that thought becomes a strong driver for us to create art that raises awareness to save these animals. And of course, love inspires us constantly.”
4. They are dog-lovers
Gillie and Marc are also dog-lovers who have been heralded as Australia’s most celebrated dog artists. They own a beautiful Weimaraner called Indie and have also built a huge fan base from their Weimaraner-inspired Dogman artworks across the world.
“Our love of dogs sparked the idea of Pup Art, a collection of photographs that celebrates all the strange, varied, beautiful dogs in the world and brings them together in the most colourful and uplifting way,” Gillie says. “Pup Art is also a tribute to Pop Art, the much-loved Art-form that has made Art fun, popular and accessible since the 1950s.”
The artists have found the perfect mix of 40 different breeds of dogs. Gillie and Marc know that every dog has its own unique personality so with each eye-catching photo, buyers are treated to the backstory of their star. Meet Leopold, the Chinese Crested, hairless pup who can’t get enough of coconut oil massages or the 1980s cult-flick, Labyrinth. Flynn is the Frisbee-loving Border Collie who can make a wheel of cheese disappear in two minutes. And Charlie, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a sweet self-proclaimed “Mummy’s girl” who would like to be a cat for a day.
5. Gillie and Marc want to change the world with their new project:
‘Proud to be Different’
“Every day we are bombarded by negative news,” Marc explains. “The public is becoming uneasy at a time when we need to be more accepting. Instead of throwing up our arms out of fear and frustration, we need to reach them out in love and acceptance. Art can bring the world together. It can spur on action. All you need is an idea.
‘Proud to be different’ is a celebration of what makes each one of us unique. We want to fight the daily bigotry, hatred, homophobia and misogyny in the world.
Dogman and Rabbitgirl are freaks. That’s the truth. They have animal heads and human bodies and they’re always naked. But, in spite of that they’ve been accepted all over Australia. They started out in Paddington on a Vespa and now they’re in Perth, in Federation Square in Melbourne, at Woolloomooloo Wharf, outside a hotel in Singapore, in Taronga Zoo, in the Sydney Children’s Hospital – they’re everywhere.
This new project will champion the crucial message of acceptance and diversity. Because, as we see it the great battles for this generation are battles for the freedom to be yourself and be accepted. Dogman and Rabbitgirl symbolise the fight for marriage equality, the fight for every kid who’s different, the fight to dress how you want, and the fight against bigots. If Australia can accept Dogman and Rabbitgirl, they can accept everyone. So stay tuned for #proudtobedifferent”
Get To Know Their Art
'They Loved Riding Together in Paris'
Gillie and Marc believe that good things come in small packages. This 26cm-tall artwork is part of their miniature series. The artists wanted to create beautiful smaller sculptures, perfect for enlivening spaces such as bookcases or windowsills. Even a bathroom is a great place to put a mini sculpture.
This sculpture is also part of Gillie and Marc’s travel collection. The artists believe that like life, travel is not about the destination, it's always about the journey. Dogman and Rabbitgirl riding a tandem bike reflects companionship and alliance because the best journey to go on is with a loved one by your side.
'They Were the Authentic Vespa Riders of Rome'
This piece is modelled off Gillie and Marc’s much-loved public artwork, It Takes Two, in Sydney’s trendy inner-city suburb, Paddington. Because the artists met while travelling, adventure and exploring has always been a huge part of their work. They have a soft spot for Vespas because it’s an excuse to hold on tightly to one another. The bronze can bring a classic, stylish feel to any home and conveys romance and unconditional love for the world’s most iconic soul-mates.
'Her Ears were Much Longer than His but He Loved How He Could hear the Sound of the Sea in them’
Photography isn’t just about snapping smiles. It can capture a unique, one-off moment or explore someone’s soul. Gillie and Marc believe that nudity is a natural, normal state that should be celebrated. They wanted to create a series of stunning, black and white shots to explore our relationship with the nude.
“It’s a very relaxed and loving pose they’re in,” Gillie explains. “Animals are naked all the time. Our art simply endeavors to elicit the animal within.” Bring out the free spirit of your own inner Dogman and Rabbitgirl with this exclusive limited edition photograph.