"An Artist's Journey"
Gordon Carlisle (born 1951)
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As a boy growing up in suburban New Jersey, Gordon began by studying pastel portraiture at Montclair's Yard School of Art.
Later in high school, he created large psychedelic wall murals on paper for a couple of the annual dances, designed to pulse with the flashing of gelled spotlights.
He went on to study at Carnegie-Mellon, the Art Student's League of New York and the Boston Museum School of Fine Art before graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973. He took his degree in printmaking and, with a partner in Oakland, California started a silkscreen printing company, Silver Brothers.
They sold the business in 1975, and Gordon hit the road, eventually winding up in Montreal, where he began teaching himself oil painting. There, he spent four years as a quick portrait artist in Old Montreal, reactivating the skills he learned twenty years earlier as a boy in New Jersey.
In 1982, Gordon discovered Portsmouth, New Hampshire and moved there, beginning his continuing affiliation with the area. At Portsmouth's historic Button Factory building he set up his new art studio, and started showing his drawings, etchings, paintings and collages in the area. He became fascinated with theatre, designing sets and silk-screened publicity for a local troupe, Generic Theater.
In 1984, Gordon was asked by a small group of budding muralists in Portsmouth to join them for the complete redecoration of Christ the King Church in Ludlow, Massachusetts. This proved to be a wonderful learning experience, introducing the group to the aesthetics of religious Art, and a host of new painting techniques, like trompe l'oeil, faux marble and faux bois.
The group evolved into three, calling themselves "Mural Works," and continued to seek out mural and decorative painting opportunities across New England. These included more church and building redecorations, commercial commissions, Percent for Art awards and New Hampshire's largest mural, "Lest We Forget," in downtown Manchester.
In 1994, Gordon left Mural Works to go out on his own. He's consistently been producing murals and decorative commissions ever since, be they for the home or more public situations. Included among these are commissions for Fidelity Investments, NH Hospital, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, the NH Veteran's Home and the NH Dept. of Fish and Game, to name a few.
In 1999, Gordon was awarded a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship for his activity as a muralist. Additionally, he offers portraiture, graphics and illustration. His mural commissions extend across New England, while his collages and paintings have been exhibited nationwide.