It took a near-death experience for David Giles to follow his heart and become an artist. Dragged under by the iron-cold grip of a rip off a remote beach south of Walpole, panic was replaced by a euphoric sense of mysticism – and the proverbial white light.
“I stopped being aware of my body, of being in the ocean, but had an awareness of being that became mystical…almost a science fiction type of experience,” recalled the artist.
Regret mixed with the descending sense of peace as death seemed inevitable – including, oddly, whether his eco-tourist clients on the beach would be traumatised by their guide drowning, or even find their way back to civilisation without him!
“I thought – it isn’t fair…I wasn’t given any notice of this! I haven’t seen my kids grow up or achieved what I wanted to do.”
David’s inner-most psyche asked his drowning self; What do you want to do? The answer? ”Be an artist”.
A life-long interest in art to that point had resulted in buying paints, but never finishing a canvas.
“I was waiting for the right time,” he said wryly.
Giles isn’t sure how he managed to drift closer to shore, where his clients dragged him to the beach and saved his life. But back home in Albany, one of the first things he did was set about closing his tourism business and enrolled in art school.
The rest as they say, is history, with Giles going on to become a multi-award winning artist, with over 50 solo exhibitions to his name.
For a unique gift this festive season, come along to the Christmas Art Sale, at the David Giles Art Gallery, 49B High Street Fremantle.
Open Tues-Sun from 11am-5pm. Sale ends Christmas Eve.