Gigi Gaulin considers nature to be her greatest mentor. A sculptor and veterinarian, she is returning to art after packing up her studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and relocating to Attapulgus, Georgia’s elephant refuge.
Gaulin resides next to the refuge on 50 acres of land with her horse and miniature donkey. Her most recent work in progress is part equine, part pachyderm. She’s also started to incorporate animal bones into her typically steel and wood sculptures.
“Part of my coming here was inspired by my view and experience of how the horse and elephant have been used and abused by humanity over the centuries,” says Gaulin. “Both have been used for war, work and entertainment, and something is coming out of me that shows people that they deserve to have a place to be who they are.”
Gaulin has three works included in this year’s “Creative Tallahassee” online exhibition. The Council on Culture and Arts had a unique opportunity to feature all 94 applicants and their 257 paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, sculptures, and more this year, given the virtual format. Curated by COCA for the Art in Public Places program on behalf of the city of Tallahassee, the digital exhibit can be viewed through Sept. 14.
Gaulin is intrigued with how people will perceive her three-dimensional works after viewing their two-dimensional photographs. Often she will invite potential buyers to see a piece in person before purchasing it. She is still amazed when someone stands in the presence of something she created and wants to take it home.
“It’s surreal,” says Gaulin. “My artwork really didn’t start until I did some deep personal healing, and so much was unleashed from the healing. I really had no idea that I had any art in me.”
Once she allowed herself to open up, the creativity continued to flow. Gaulin began working part time as an artist and veterinarian and took a class at her local community college to learn the ins and outs of welding. She recalls hesitantly walking up to her professor and handing him a sketch of an imagined sculpture.
Instead of questioning its artistic merits, she was pleasantly surprised when he began to rattle off the list of the materials she would need to make it happen instead. For her first assignment, titled “Outside the Box,” she crafted a round, Asian-inspired vessel. Gaulin entered it into the student showcase and won.
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