Francesco Gillia was born in Monte Porzio Catone, a province of Rome, Italy. He studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. After graduation, he moved to Hermosa Beach, California working as product designer for Powerline 6, a strategy, branding and design company.
Three years later, he and his brother Marco started Bottega Montana. They designed and manufactured pieces for: Paul Smith, Obey Giant, DWR, Tretorn, the Showtime House 2010 to decorate the Dexter room.
Bottega Montana’s furniture line features a unique joint system and has been featured along with their high-end longboard designs in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, GQ Italy, Dwell, Wallpaper, Outside, Condé Nast Traveller, El Mundo, Food & Wine and many others. Some of its clients include Don Cheadle, Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian, Paul Smith.
Despite all the early successes of his design career, Francesco decided to return to his first love: painting.
Francesco’s MFA thesis, Pronaos, was an installation of sixteen oil paintings of large-scale, frontal female nudes. While confrontational, the installation locates the viewer in a transitional place defined by a state of tension between the sacred perception of our being and the sexuality of the subject. Such positioning allows for a contemporary version of the classical dichotomy between the sacred and the profane. In Florida since 2014, Francesco’s sacred view of the body transitioned to the abstracted representation of wings, in acrylics and gilded backgrounds.