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Art Life: Describe your move from art collector to artist.
Paul: I’ve always loved art. I remember my final art class in eighth grade. I was upset because I realized art would not be mandatory in the next school year. But then I just forgot about it, went on to high school, to college and a career in advertising that eventually allowed me to buy art that I liked. It didn’t occur to me until about six years ago that I should be painting myself. It was like a “calling.” So I took classes, got studio space and just kept painting. This led to juried shows, sales, interest from the press and gallery representation. All it took was a decision to begin painting. Then everything in the universe seemed to line up for me. The doors kept opening.
Art Life: How is it that space came to be such a dominant theme in your paintings? Have you always been drawn to the sky?
Paul: When I was a kid, I’d lie on my back in the grass and watch the clouds go by. So, yes, the sky has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. It is a dominant theme in much of my work, along with the unexpected cropping of natural and man-made landscape features. I do have work with no sky at all, such as in a newer piece titled INTO THE WOODS. But even in this painting, the freeing feeling of space along with some unanswered questions make it pretty clear the composition is mine.
Art Life: Your work has a great ability to connect with people, yet there are no people in your paintings. Why?
Paul: Doesn’t it feel as though people don’t belong in my paintings? It seems that way to me. When one looks at one of my pieces, there is a distinct feeling what was left out is as important as what was included. Clearly, people have been left out and that feels right somehow. However, I wouldn’t rule out including a figure in a future piece. It may or may not happen. I mostly don’t know what will come out when I’m in my studio painting. If I’m prompted to include a person in a composition, it will happen. That may surprise us all.
Art Life: Your paintings are organized and distilled to a simplicity. Where did you glean such an aesthetic?
Paul: This question may be best answered with an anecdotal story. It goes back to 2008, my second year in the juried group show at South End Open Studios, before I had more permanent studio space at 450 Harrison Ave. Three women in their early twenties came by my exhibition area. They liked my work very much. One smiled and said to me, “I bet you have a very neat apartment.” She got that right away just from looking at my work. I laughed and responded, “How did you guess?” I’m drawn to simple, clean lines, a certain degree of starkness and a generally uncluttered life, both on the canvas and in my day-to-day world. I think this resonates with a lot of people and provides a sense of peace. At least this is the feedback I get consistently.
Art Life: Do other art forms influence your artistry?
Sure, I’m influenced by many art forms, including film, photography, sculpture, music, theater and so much more. I’m particularly drawn to conceptual ideas in whatever form they may take. You’ve probably noticed there’s a somewhat mutually dependent relationship between the titles of some of my paintings and the piece itself. This comes in part from years of conceptual thinking as a creative person in the advertising industry.
Art Life: What does the “art life” mean to you?
I think we are all artists in that each morning when we wake up, we have the opportunity to “paint our own canvas” figuratively. In other words, we can and do make up the day we experience. As a painter, I can take this a step further and express my creativity literally on an actual canvas. The image and emotions that result will no doubt resonate with others, too. The painting then becomes more than just my expression. It is an idea that belongs to the world and is open to a variety of individual interpretations.
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For more pictures of Paul visit Boston Art Life Photo Gallery.