Paul is a Scottish artist who draws what at first seem like photo-realistic re-imaginings of vintage photographs, but on further inspection reveal themselves to be slightly skewed versions of reality, with faces smudged or whited out, backdrops dropped to leave cavernous black holes or luminescent white space, and detail added to provide an eerie feel that demands a double take. We had a chat with Paul about his life, work and influences.
What’s your history? Life-wise and art-wise.
I was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and brought up in Glenrothes. My interest in art began at my secondary school, Auchmuty High, where I had encouraging and supportive art teachers. I pursued this interest at Edinburgh College of Art, where I completed a BA(Hons) in Drawing & Painting in 2005 and then an MFA in 2007.
Do you ever work with different mediums?
My drawings are not always solely produced using graphite; quite a few are produced using airbrushed paint as well. I am constantly experimenting with other mediums and surfaces. I have drawn with pencil since primary school. I feel comfortable using this medium and enjoy the control pencil affords me. I also like the fact that complex images can be produced using such a rudimentary medium.
What do you respect in the art world at the moment? Whether it’s within your own field, or photography/film/ anything?
I enjoy other artists’ work and particularly artists who work in completely different ways to me. A few artists who’ve inspired me at one point or another over the years include David Horvitz, Moyna Flannigan, Chuck Close, Paul Noble, Ellie Harrison, Darren Farquhar, Gerhard Richter, Stuart Murray, Candice Breitz and David Shrigley.
Have you completed any projects other than the pencil drawings?
At the moment, my work revolves around experimenting with drawing, which consumes most of my time.
The drawings are incredible, are they from found images and where did the idea to start the project come from?
Image sources include books, postcards and photographs bought from antique shops and Ebay, and particularly Google image searches. I play around with the sources, making alterations and often combining different elements from several photographs. I completed my first tiny drawing – Untitled 2, a miniature drawing created from a school class photograph from my local newspaper, The Glenrothes Gazette – in my 3rd year of undergrad. The small drawings stemmed from an interest in miniatures and an interest in photographs of local people.
What’s in the works at the moment? Anything exciting coming up in the near future?
I’m currently working towards my second solo show, with madder 139, London, which should be taking place late 2011. The drawings for this show are based around children in fancy dress/costume. I currently have work on display at the Fleming Collection, London, and will have work in Young, Gifted and Black, a group show with Madder 139, sometime after the summer.I’m also excited about the possibility of showing work in NY and Chicago in 2011.