Charles Gill was a part of the culture of artist/teachers working in the Bay Area during the mid-20th century and is associated with both Photorealist painters and Bay Area Figurative School painters. He studied under Richard Diebenkorn at the California College of the Arts in 1955 and spent his formative years at school with colleagues Manuel Neri, Nathan Oliveira, Robert Bechtle, and Richard McLean. He received his MFA from Mills College in 1961. He went on to teach at universities in San Francisco and in New York before returning to the California College of the Arts where he spent 35 years teaching. He shared a studio with Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean and showed with them and Gerald Gooch in an exhibition in 1966 titled East Bay Realists at the San Francisco Art Institute Art Bank.