Gilly studied art at the University of Rhode Island 1971-1976. His mentor at that time was photographer/professor Bart Parker. Bart had studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at Rhode Island School of Design.

In 1979 Gilly opened his own Photography Studio in Providence and embarked on a career in the arts, (Commercial & Fine), that continues today as a painter, photographer, sculptor and fine art gallery owner. As Director of Photography at Blazing Graphics (1985-1996), a graphics production company, he helped create numerous images for commercial publications for many major companies. He also worked with some renowned art directors and artists, implementing concepts and images for calendars, fine art prints, posters, catalogs and books.

Also during a 15 year span, (1990-2005), he traveled with teams of photographers around the world on corporate sponsored assignments. He has owned and operated Charlestown Gallery, along with his wife, artist Renee O’Gara, since 2005. They have met with success by exhibiting some of the highest caliber artists in the region. They also continue to have a commercial photography business at their Gilstein Photography Studio in Charlestown. (1997-present) As Gilly’s commercial photography became more and more precise, sharp in detail and technical, his personal work, especially painting, usually enjoys a freedom in the expressive nature of abstraction.

“I have been fortunate to receive some awards and recognition for my photography and painting, but mostly I have been lucky to have met and worked with many talented people throughout my career. Along the way I have admired good and great art, made friends and love what I do.”