Gilson Lavis – drummer with Squeeze and Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra – is famous for playing with everyone from Tom Jones to Amy Winehouse, Bryan Ferry to Smokey Robinson, Eric Clapton to Robert Plant. But he also fast becoming recognised as a talented artist and portrait painter.
His art career took off when he started drawing bandmates and guests who appeared with Jools Holland. Although entirely self-taught, Gilson’s art quickly became sought-after. One of the first places he chose to exhibit his striking black and white portraits was Hatch Gallery in Church Street, Christchurch.
That was 18 months ago. Now he’s back, making a return visit to the gallery for a new exhibition – Gilson Lavis in Black & White – which opens on Saturday 2 May. Gilson will be there to meet fans and talk about his paintings between 6pm and 8pm. The show will feature paintings of musicians alongside studies of war, show-business, cult-heroes and even the walking dead.
Gilson says he likes Hatch Gallery because “It’s absolutely perfect, a small independent gallery in a part of the country I love. What could be better?”
Although he lives in rural Lincolnshire, Gilson knows Dorset well, not only from the annual gigs he plays with Jools Holland at the Bournemouth International Centre but also because his wife Nicky was born and brought up in Swanage and went to school at the old Boscombe Convent.
Gallery owner Jo Dyton says she is delighted to have him back: “Since he first exhibited here in September 2013 Gilson’s art career has gone from strength to strength with sell out exhibitions across the country. He has continued with his expressive portraits but has also developed his style and moved onto other subjects including a series of ‘conflict’ and ‘cult heroes’ paintings. In these moving paintings, it’s remarkable how Gilson with his shadows and line, can convey so much feeling.”
‘Gilsons Lavis in Black & White’ is at Hatch Gallery, 7a Church Street, Christchurch, from 2 -30 May.