Gist began his formal study of art with Jeff Watts in 1996, three years later he began to teach and has done so for the last seven years. Gist has been a working professional artist since 1998, he began his career designing video games for Gratuitous Games. When the opportunity to teach at the school where he was trained presented itself, he took it. This allowed him the spare time to follow his dream of becoming a storyteller, that the rigors of a video game career did not.
To date he has painted numerous illustrations for book covers and games, including work on Forgotten Realms Dungeons series of novels and the revival of Ravenloft. Gist's clients include TOR, Wizards of the Coast, Upperdeck Entertainment, DC Comics, Boom! Studios, Palladium Books, Blizzard Entertainment, Viking Childrens Books, Monkey Brain Books, Quarto Publishing, Centipede Press and Chiat-Day. His work can be seen in Spectrum: The Best in Fantastic Art #11-17 and Aphrodesia: Art of the Female Form #1.
Gist shares his life with his lovely and talented wife, his dog, two cats, two rats, and two birds. The rest of the time he paints and teaches at Watts Atelier of the Arts in Encinitas.