Scratching the Surface: GILF!

April 21, 2015 | Aymann Ismail

ANIMAL showcases a different street artist regularly in our feature, Scratching the Surface. This week, we profile GILF!.


Decade you were born in:

City you currently live:
Trashwick, Brooklyn.

Drugs or natural highs?
Adrenaline is a far greater high than anything else I’ve tried.

How did you get your name?
Gilf was actually created by a small crew of friends while I was in elementary school. It ACTUALLY represents unbridled feminine creativity and freedom, not a sophomoric acronym about f*cking an old woman.


Why do what you do?
Being an artist is the ultimate pursuit of freedom. No bosses, no masters, no cushion. I feel creating politically & socially charged work is important in a world dominated by the idiocy of celebrity and the vacuous nature of mindless consumption. I also feel compelled to live this way by an overwhelming need to lead by example. You really don’t have to be someone else’s slave, I promise. Just quit your shitty job already and become the person you actually want to be.

How does your mother feel about your art?
She’s damn proud of me.

Are you making a living off your art? How’s that working out so far?
Not gonna lie- being an artist living off my work is incredibly challenging in New York- especially focusing on political issues. It’s only endearing to have holes in my soles for so long before it becomes creatively stunting.

Fuck the art world or embrace the art world?
Like life, the art world is what you make it. I’ve been lucky enough to work with incredible people. The family over at Joseph Gross has given me carte blanche for my upcoming exhibit SHATTERING. It’s a very exciting opportunity. You should all come break shit with me on May 7th.

Do you bring your smart phone into the bathroom with you? Why?
Um, no. The NSA doesn’t need to document that aspect of my life as well.


Do you ever feel like giving up?
Rarely. I am happiest when I am being challenged. There’s always an opportunity for growth when I don’t have the answers.

Suggest an artist to follow.
Miguel Ovalle (@dizmology ). This man is up to some fresh work. He’s always challenging himself, and for that he has my respect.