Colin Gauntlett, aka Gaunty is an overall good guy and a talented designer. You don’t believe me? Well, you can read on, I hope I can convince you. Living in Bilbao, Spain, this European freelancer has made a reputation for his professional, honest and positive attitude. His latest achievement is winning the Tee-Off battle from emptees.com, a friendly competition between the world’s best apparel designers. And I mean the best. Even if not all of the elite entered the “battle”, winning against a fierce competition of 64 is still an event worth mentioning.
So, yeah, I proved he is talented and capable as a designer…but the best part is that he decided to support the cause of a fellow artist, Ryan, who tries to raise some money for his cancer sick friend, by donating part of his prizes. Sure, we are not talking thousands of bucks or anything, but such a gesture really tells a story about this man.
Enough introduction, let this surfer speak for himself!
How did you got into apparel design? What determined you to pursue this direction as an artist?
In a word, Emptees! I studied art and design in College then went onto University to study glass design, yes that’s right glass design. You can spend 3 years blowing glass! It was great but I went travelling straight after university and when I returned I didn’t have the money to get into glass design and didn’t want to spend 10 years climbing the ladder polishing works for other artists. I then travelled for about 5 years, selling a few paintings. While teaching here in the north of Spain I met my fiancée and settled down and came across a design course by accident. I really fancied getting back into the art world so decided to go for it. 3 months later I came across www.emptees.com and the rest is history. The reason I like it is that a wider audience sees my work. I´m not in it for the money but getting paid for my art does make me smile.
As a European, how do you feel about the specific of design on other continents (if you feel there is such a thing)?
I feel the Internet helps in a way because I don´t need to rely on finding local work. Here in Spain no one has a fashion sense and a Horsebite´s design wouldn´t sell. Being European does have its advantages at the moment too with the exchange rates when working with clients abroad as everyone seems to work in dollars. Not sure if that answers the question or not.
You gained a lot of respect and admiration because of your decision to donate a big part of your prize from the emptees tee-off to a man that needs all the help he can get. Have you always been such a humanitarian?
Not at all, I kill insects and don’t open doors for old women (They have such bad attitudes here, ha-ha). No, I felt in that situation I could really help a person in need. Cancer pulls on my heart string and I don’t donate as much as I would like to so I thought this was a great way to help out. The people on Emptees really look out for each other. It´s very sad to know that I will never meet a lot of them in person.
How do you feel about notoriety and “fame” in the world of artists/designers? Good, bad, needed, pain in the ass?
Well I think it´s needed if you want to make your line of art your career. Obviously the more famous you are the more in demand you are and the more you can charge for a piece of work. Personally as I said, 1 positive comment on my work outweighs 100 negative comments and that’s what drives me to make more work over fame or money.
What can we expect from you next?
I hope to get a website/blog up in the near future. I think this is essential to get more clients. I am working on half a dozen projects with companies and bands. I´m also toying with the idea of making some designs that can be printed on rice paper to be glazed into surfboards during the making process. Oh, that and world domination.
I can only hope you enjoyed reading about this awesome guy! I know I did. I also regret that I won’t be able to meet a lot of people I made friends with over the Internet, but you never know!
Thanks a bunch Colin for answering with such patience and keep up the good work!
Make sure to visit his portfolio here and his emptees profile page, in order to see more of his work!