Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Artist of the Week

Paul Blow
Art can be defined as "the products of human creativity", and in utilizing that definition the results can be limitless. Everyone has their own opinion of what should or should not be classified as "Art", and there are many individuals pushing the limits and testing the critics on a daily basis. However, there is a growing movement of artists who are pushing the limits in a very visually appealing direction, and as a result being shown in and respected by many galleries around the world. Illustrators, you can look the pages of magazine and see their work, smile, and move on, but when it is shown in a gallery it seems to take on a different meaning. Over the last two months, I've interviewed several "illustrators", but today's interview with Paul Blow has really put it all in perspective. "The term "artist" is now so devalued that the word "illustrator" fills the void left behind. As illustrators we are the only people left making pictures in the traditional sense, we are now the true "artist". This is why I am so drawn to the work of these "illustrators" and this is why I decided to contact Paul Blow.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your style of painting?
Paul Blow (PB): I guess my style is constantly changing, but 40's screen-print meets Japanese woodblock print might describe it well with a nod towards Americana.

OA: In your opinion, what is it about modern illustration that has caused such swing in popularity and general acceptance in the art community?
PB: I think the fact that there are so many artists out there be they makeup artists or scenery artists or conceptual artist or video artist or the paint my self blue and run around naked like a chicken on speed artist so the term "artist" is now so devalued that the word "illustrator" fills the void left behind. As illustrators we are the only people left making pictures in the traditional sense, we are now the true "artist".

OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
PB: David Shrigley, Yusaku Hanakuma, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden.

OA: What is your typical starting point for a new piece and how long does it take you to complete that piece?
PB: A blank piece of paper which I stare at until my eyes bleed and that all important idea pops into my head and by some miracle my hand then draws that same idea onto the paper and the creative process is complete. Until I then work up the image to final which usually takes a days work depending on the size.

OA: Do you listen to music while you create? Who are some of your favorite bands while painting and in general?
PB: I'm really getting into beat groups so early stuff by Charlie Feathers and The Johnny Burnette trio seem to be flicking my switches at the moment.

OA: What is next for Paul Blow?
PB: I'm painting a 10ft x 4ft mural in an Arts Cinema called the Electric Palace and working towards a spring exhibition around the theme of Nausea. As well as working for various UK based newspapers.
Bonus Question:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is you favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
PB: Only 2 cups a day, one at 10 and the other at 2, and I feel right at home with a cup of Lavazza right here in my studio.

Paul Blow was born in Falkirk, Scotland 1969 but grew up in Dorset, England. In 1992, he graduated from Maidstone College of Art and immediately began working as a professional illustrator whilst studying MA Narrative Illustration at the University of Brighton. His illustrations have appeared nationally and internationally in addition to numerous projects for design firms, advertising agencies and web sites. Paul exhibits his work extensively throughout Britain and New York. and devotes a portion of his time to lecturing in art schools across the country. Paul now lives with his wife and son in Dorset, England.

Clients: Time Magazine, The Guardian, The FT, Newscientist, Reader's Digest, BBC Worldwide, LA Magazine, New York Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Management Today, Popular Science, Carter Wong and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Awards: Gold and Bronze Awards from the Association of Illustrators, Transport for London Silver Award and Glenfiddich Food and Drink Award Nominee.

For more information visit his website.