Breon Gilleran received a text message from David London at eight am. The Baltimore-based sculptor was still in bed. “It said I was the Baker Wild Card winner!” She says. “I was so confused.”
Gilleran has participated in the Baker Artist Awards website for several years, but didn’t realize that the group is now working with the GBCA. Or that they were going to give out a $250 ‘Wild Card’ Award in November and again in December to two random Baker nominees.
After a visit to GBCA headquarters to collect her winnings (on which she will owe taxes), and fill out a few official forms, Gilleran had a number of positive observations about the organization. “I really like what they are doing – I had no idea of many of the projects the GBCA and Baker are doing. They should have an open house and tell people what they do!”
Gilleran has uploaded her work to the Baker site since the beginning, but said it took her a few years to “get the hang of it.” The sculptor cited the other Baker artists’ nominations as a great educational resource, in figuring out how to present and organize her work online.
Gilleran mentioned the nomination of a fellow sculptor, Brent Cruthers, a former b-grant winner, as particularly helpful. “His project statements and descriptions of his work are really good,” she explains. “He doesn’t write in fancy artspeak. They sound very genuine. It’s really good to see that, and to see how other people present themselves. The Baker website provides a great learning process for the community, to see what everyone is doing, and, more importantly, how they articulate what they’re doing.”
To look at Gilleran’s accomplishments from a distance, she appears to have a solid handle in managing her professional art career. She has operated out of a studio at Area 405 in Station North since the space opened over ten years ago. She is able to weld and fabricate in a number of different metal there, but does casting elsewhere. She attended MICA in the 1980’s for her undergrad, and attended College Park for her MFA later on, and completed it in 2002. She teaches printmaking part-time at Goucher College and recently participated in an artist mentorship program through Artists U, where she worked with Baltimore artist Jeffrey Kent.
In 2013, Gilleran curated an international exhibit titled “Go West,” funded by the ‘Think Big’ grant offered by the Station North A&E District. She also installed outdoor work at the Adkins Arboretum, the bi-annual Outdoor Sculpture Invitational, and exhibited work in “Sculpture Now” Washington DC, juried by Sarah Newman. She was selected as a semi-finalist for the Sondheim Awards in 2010, and the Trawick Prize in 2006. And, in the past 4 years she has completed four commissions for the staff of the Baltimore Ravens. Her work has been featured in Sculpture Magazine, The Anvils Ring, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine, City Paper and Bmoreart.com.
Despite all the outward signs of success, “my process tends to be diffuse and all over the place,” she admits. “The Baker site helped me organize things differently, think about my work differently… Every year that I do it, the site looks better, and I have a better idea of what I’m trying to say.” Gilleran says the Baker ‘Wild Card Award’ will help her to continue to organize her practice.
“All my notes and ideas are stored in tons of folders of scraps and information. I am going to get an Ipad to get things organized and scanned into folders I can easily access and present … I’m so excited!” she explains.
Of the Baker artist awards, Breon states, “Local artists really have no excuse not to do it. I often give the Baker site out as a link instead of my website because it looks so good!”
To see more of Breon Gilleran’s work, go to her Baker Artist Awards Page!
*Author Cara Ober is the Editor at Bmoreart