Gill Lesperance can often be found covered in sawdust — not only here at work but also at his own business, G&G Carpentry. Gill started his company approximately 3 years ago as an outlet for his custom projects such as built-in bookshelves, cutting boards, salad bowls, a skate board, an electric guitar and anything else that can be made of wood. More recently Gill has been commissioned to create a custom bunk bed, and a custom pantry.
He had been honing his carpentry skills for the past two and half decades in a variety of milieus. He started by working with his father, who was a general contractor, renovating houses. Immediately after graduating from Fanshawe College's Theatre Production program he began building sets for different companies such as Drayton Entertainment and Stage West Mississauga. He also spent two seasons as a shop carpenter at the Stratford festival.
All this experience building has taught Gill how to look at a problem from many different angles. He uses this skill daily within the program. Many students can tell you stories about approaching Gill with the question, "How do I..." and leaving that conversation with multiple ideas, plans and lots of math.
For the third summer in a row Gill will be taking his talents to Nuit Blanche North in Huntsville, as Technical Director of the festival. Nuit Blanche North is a free late-night art event where cutting-edge artists light up downtown Huntsville with radical art exhibits and eccentric performances. From street theatre, music and sculpture, to film and interactive exhibits, the event has it all. In his role, Gill specs requirements for the stages and presentations. He also coordinates rentals and purchases of equipment. Whenever he cannot find any of his desired equipment in stores, he builds them.
Gill has many stories from his time at Nuit Blanche North. Once, an artist required a large frame (160 square feet) mounted to a series of A frames. At the very last minute, the artist was not able to attend the festival. To fill the spot the Festival director decided to create a "Leave your Mark wall" with the materials so Gill and his crew built it. When the artist unexpectedly showed up, Gill recognized him from past festivals. He put on his best smile and told the artist how happy he was that he was able to contribute and asked him if he was missing anything, knowing they had used all the equipment they had. Gill and his team were able to shuffle some gear around, found a generator and got the artist up and running by festival start. Gill's behaviour signifies his belief that surprises don't need to become emergencies, and to approach every situation with a level head.
Gill's mantra is:
The energy you spend on freaking out is the same energy you could use to make art.
All of Gill’s out-of-classroom activities aid his in-classroom teaching. He believes that his other businesses help keep him abreast of innovative technology in the marketplace. He enjoys teaching students a modern way of building, and equips them with transferable skills which can be applied in real world situations.