Samuel J. Gillis, Chicago native and world traveler has spent a lifetime in service to his passion and appreciation for art. Gillis’ early exposure in cartooning developed into an obsession that led to a formal education in fine art. Sam has been fortunate to study in some of the finest art programs including Columbia College Chicago and The Atelier Alternative. He was a proud recipient of a scholarship to attend The School of the Art Institute Chicago. A lifelong student of his craft, Gillis is currently a Hoosier and expects to graduate from Indiana University in May.
Gillis is a prolific artist who’s been featured in museums and exhibitions including the National Museum of Mexican Art and John G. Shedd Aquarium. As well, his works are part of international collections in Spain, Italy, New York, Guatemala, Russia and San Francisco. He’s been featured in television, movies and publications nationwide for his own work and mentorship of other artists and global initiatives at the center of his mission to help build a better world through art.
Gillis is eagerly engaged with both his local and global community and as such, is a frequent donor to organizations including YMCA Michiana, Habitat for Humanity, Y-Me Breast Cancer Awareness, Chicago Food Pantry, Children’s Memorial Hospital and the Make A Wish Foundation. Gillis founded Gallery Swarm in Chicago, Illinois and has since expanded it into a global online community serving artists of every kind and geographical location. Sam currently lives and paints in South Bend, Indiana with his writer wife, three dogs and a bird.
My paintings are the way I create my world. I live something and then I paint about it. Or I paint something and then I live it. I’ve created thousands of pieces. And each one corresponds to a part of my self and my experience that I can only express through a painting. I’m classically trained and appreciate the foundation that gave me to explore my insider roots to teach myself new techniques. The broad range I’ve been able to master lets me create in virtually any style from Renaissance to Verdaccio to modern, landscape, still life, figurative or realism. I create on anything I can find. Cardboard, canvas, doors. If there’s paint and something to paint on I create. Often, I don’t even use a brush. I’ll grab a business card or a popsicle stick and get to painting. My goal as an artist is to create without judgment and let everyone see whatever they see in my work. Because art, like life, is just a matter of perception.