The life of British artist Eric Gill is still a fantastic angle from which to examine creative patronage. So much of his commissioned output defines what we know of “institution” – sculptures for churches, typography for mass transit systems, and illustrations for national post. His tireless efforts considered an inescapable, omnipresent scale. All the more meaningful [and grim, and true], then, that we also inherited a sometimes repulsive biography. The meek, sexless model of the anonymous artisan is promptly set ablaze. Determining the impulses that informed his process is as useless as demanding that all fingerprints from his hired hands be wiped away. Gill’s career forces us again to accept self-reflection in our work as inevitable, and moral neutrality within commerce impossible.
More Eric Gill
August 19, 2011