By Al Giovetti


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A small minority of artists attain success in their lifetimes. Counted among the select few is Gil Bruvel who, at thirty seven, has amassed a great body of work that is stylistically unique and visually stimulating. From his young mind came a style of art that defies categorization.

Born in Sydney, Australia in September of 1959 to French parents. Gil was four when his parents decided to move the family back to France. He and his older brother spent the next five years in the small southern French town of Istres. Their father maintained the family with a furniture manufacturing business, and their mother supplemented the household income teaching piano. His parents remain today accomplished piano players.

Continuing the family tradition, Gil's brother developed a talent for the piano, while the three year-old Gil had an insatiable desire to use his hands in a different way. Gil's parents recognized he possessed an innate, instinctual artistic ability. At the age of nine he was enrolled in a boarding school in the nearby town of Avignon. Gil's first art teacher Monsieur Sabatier also recognized his gift. Gil responded to his encouragement and to the environment of historical Avignon.

By the time Gil was twelve, he had completed his first full-scale oil painting. Two years later his father presented him with a newspaper clipping about the restoration workshop taught by Laurent de Montcassin. He asked Gil, "Do you want to do this?" Gil answered with, "Yes!" He was fourteen.

Two weeks thereafter, and while not yet officially accepted into Monsieur de Montcassin's workshop, Gil began a probationary period. He was given assignments to take home and return completed by the following Sunday, at which time he would pick up the next week's assignments. Montcassin agreed if Gil survived the six-month probationary period he would achieve full student status in the workshop.

At first Montcassin was very skeptical and humored Gil. He was sure the fourteen year old Bruvel would eventually become disenchanted with the assignments and would move on to more normal activities for someone his age. Montcassin gave him many assignments with deadlines so unrealistic even an advanced student would have had a difficult time meeting them. Being young and naive, Gil wasn't aware that Montcassin was trying to discourage him. Without questioning the volume of work, Gil just did the assignments he was assigned to do. After six months and many attempts at overloading Gil with work, he had no choice but to honor his agreement with Gil and accept him into the workshop.

While a typical fourteen-year-old would have been intimidated by the workshop's environment, Gil's elation provided him with enough oblivion, at least in his mind, that he was no different from any other student in the workshop. He quickly bonded with many of the students, mind-boggling as it was.

Montcassin took unusual personal interest in the young Bruvel using his work in public exhibitions and to promote the workshop. Spending the next couple of years under Montcassin's intense supervision and guidance, Gil came to master a broad spectrum of techniques dating as far back as the 1400s. Gil was also required to spend time in college level history classes. As a result, he acquired a vivid understanding of the various cultures and their historical value.

While it appeared Gil was on his way to becoming a master restorer, he had other things in mind. While performing at peak levels in the workshop, Gil was working on body of work of his own. Should Gil's art be categorized, he prefers "Visionary."

In 1976, a collection of Gil's work was introduced at the museum Musee des Baux-de-Provence in the quaint and charming town of Baux-de-Provence, France. Gil's desire was to paint, and was surprised by the results of the exhibition, not realizing people would buy his work. He became inspired by this positive reaction, which encouraged him to delve deeper into the previously undiscovered realm of the style he continues to paint today. After leaving the restoration workshop in 1977, Gil eventually set up his studio in St. Remy de Provence in the south of France. The eighteen-year-old Bruvel continued producing paintings that would bring him recognition and accolades.

Having exhibited in Europe and Japan, Gil became interested in what America might have in store for him. He arrived in Florida in 1986. Apparently the United States wasn't quite ready for Gil's unusual style of painting. Over several months and after suffering much rejection, Gil finally found an art publisher in California to represent his work. Eventually, his art appeared on several magazine covers and in an impressive article in Omni magazine.

Continuing to travel between France and the United States over the following four years, Gil was beginning to see America did in deed hold great promise for his work, but he found himself dissatisfied with his American publisher. In 1989 when he became acquainted with his publisher's assistant, Marianne Martens, things began to change. Sharing mutual admiration and developing great trust in one another, and Marainne promising her dedication and help, encouraged Gil to represent himself. Together they began a journey, sharing the responsibilities of further building Gil's following. In search of an ideal place for Gil to create his work, they decided on Maui, the beautiful and most diverse of the Hawaiian Islands. Their relationship grew, as did Gil's success, and in December 1991 they were married.

There is no doubt that Gil Bruvel's timeless work has already made a great presence, but what is most exciting is the anticipation of Bruvel's work yet to come.












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