Name: Alexander Paul
Where do you live: Macclesfield, United Kingdom.
Known for: Painting, drawing, creative writing and sculpture.
Currently working with:
I am working on wooden boards in varying size and strength. I have begun sealing my surfaces and drafting out structures with pen. If the method I use to construct a composition gifts a solid enough foundation then I might be able to address it in oil. Drawings contain key information. The more I do now, the more I make, the greater choice I’ll have in the moments applying heavier materials. From my drawing and painting I will try to form prints, sculptures and creative text. I am hoping the work will be strong enough to hold together my first exhibition tour planned for 2016/17.
When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
The one particular moment of realisation that does come to mind was in my interview for Glasgow’s Art School. At some point I was asked what I wanted to do after my degree and I said quite honestly, that I intended to paint and draw and to be a professional artist. It was an immediate response that surprised both myself and the two tutors interviewing me. I have been making movements to that end in the years ever since.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
I would choose Berlin, because in my imagination it exudes mystique and a genuine sense of shared history. The offer of exciting creativity in art, design and culture is a tempting one. The surrounding environment is key, not least in the making of artwork. The wider and more varied boxes ticked the better!
How would you describe your creativity?
With difficulty would be the short answer. The long answer would be to liken it to an aggressive beastie; unruly, hard to talk to and most definitely difficult to manage. Combine that definition with harsh critique, ever harsher self-scrutiny and an end game which is by its very nature, exposing.Especially so given the intrinsic vulnerability of exhibiting. In the beginning I certainly made a meal of it and I am sure I did so on more than one occasion.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
I was serious when I got to Glasgow in 2005 but I hadn’t quite appreciated the size, scale and detail of the task in hand. After three years I sounded the retreat and ran away. I came back from Australia in 2009 and in preparing for my final year I found a studio at the end of our road in Macclesfield. That is, I suppose, when the seriousness took hold. It would certainly signify the beginning of what I would call a serious engagement with the practical business of getting on with it. In those moments I found a clear focus which has remained with me.
What do you do at the moment?
I try to work to a six day-a-week schedule which came into force in September ‘15. I am a studio based artist so outward bound trips keep up my spontaneity and ensure the input of new information.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
The best advice I think would be to try to find someone else with a different set of skills and to work together. Act upon thoughts and ideas at the time and if in doubt, resist the urge to fill a silence.
Tell us how it all started.
My first steps were to build a submission portfolio for Glasgow’s School of Art. I studied the portrait paintings of Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville and in painting reproductions of their work I found I had an aptitude and a passion for painting and drawing. Further education at the Art School, Degree Show 2010 and a year of exhibitions followed. I suppose I would mark that as the end of the beginning.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Apart from brushes and a healthy dose of confidence the thing I find to be most important is choice. Choice/control.
What is your favorite film?
My all-time favourite film is “Shadowlands” starring Anthony Hopkins, although “American Sniper” has got to be close to the top of the list.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
My sister, Laura, because she lives in New Zealand. I never get to see her and because she would definitely want to come.
How do you like to spoil yourself?
What is luxury for you?
Time to think.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
The last time my sister came to the UK she came to my studio and as we looked though my work she used the word prolific to describe me. Her comments have definitely stuck with me as a clear example of someone in whom I believe, believing in me. It had an all-too-unclear tinge of affirmation about it.
What do you fear most?
I fear anything happening to my family and to my kitten #Duffles. I fear being the last one left. I fear the dangers of mental ill-health. My biggest anxiety for the future is that a suitably aggressive episode takes on a rather more permanent role or hold over me. That would, to me, represent a self-destruction.
What is a happy life to you?
A happy life for me means to be balanced, productive and creative. To live with purpose and meaning in the company of good people.
What does a regular day look like for you?
A regular good day is painting and drawing in the studio; a regular bad day is nothingness.
Tell us about your dream project.
To design a large-scale building with a public gallery and gardens.
Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
My sister Laura is a constant source of inspiration to me. Her dedication to the care of animal life is truly awesome. So too is her intelligence, will to learn, self-discipline, intuition and desire to be good and to do good. I have also been inspired by my tutors Lisa Murphy and Stuart MacKenzie and by my friends Jeremy Oversier, Lindsay Douglas and Cathy Randall.
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)?
I operate a system where research, preparation and performance constitute defending principles. My creative interests are born out across painting and drawing. I tend to thrive off the plasticity of my materials and their use as language. I focus on the creative power of the imagination, its relationship with reality and the virility of its influence upon our experiences. I explore the outcomes of the mind’s creations and their progressions into the physical world.
If I am successful then I am able to utilise the obfuscation of imagery, the deliberate hiding and concealing to confuse or to distract from the actual, in order to present the truth as actively illusive. It is a process by which the debunking of falsehoods assaults perceived realities of the mind and its ability to distort information. The task therefore becomes an increasingly difficult one of deciphering what is real and what is not real. I apply this with spontaneity, compulsion and instinct.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
I would selfishly suggest my privacy to be the one thing I couldn’t live without. Though with hindsight I would un-selfishly suggest that it is my family and my work. An asthma inhaler is a more immediate requirement.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the human compulsion to discover, to learn, to create and to do new things. I believe in innovation and invention improving and indeed, saving lives.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
The Artist’s Reality, Philosophies in Art by Mark Rothko. It opened my eyes to great possibility. I have two copies, one for best and one for scribbles. I would urge any artist to go find a copy.