ARTIST Q&A: PAUL WRIGHT

Published: 24 October 2018


Thompson's Gallery : Do you have any studio rituals or superstitions?

Paul Wright: Studio rituals and habits are a big part of most creative practices. I like to start early and always have breakfast in the studio, ideally beginning to paint by 8am.

I often listen to the same music or interviews/documentaries and also listen to films, this gives a a sense of their being people around without the interference of anyone actually being with me.

T: Who has been your biggest influences in your career?

PW: I have many influences and continue to have new ones. The obvious ones are freud, Auerbach and Bacon, although in recent years I look to Rembrandt, Van Gogh and De Kooning. Most of the painters that directly influence me use paint in an expressive and immediate way. One of my early influences was Peter Howson, He was the first artist that I felt I could relate to. His work has so much strength and impact.

T: Does your process have any established pattern, ie sketching beforehand or resisting pattern in total?

PW: Most paintings begin with a drawing underneath, this will be a very basic but accurate image to hang the painting on, I am very wary about patterns and habits and try to introduce new working methods in the hope that it will trigger something different in the work.

T: Do you ever experience 'painters' block'? How do you overcome it?

PW: Richard Hamilton once said that inspiration is for Amateurs and that is the mindset that I approach each day with. I am a worker and when barriers pop up and things are difficult, I work through it. It can be ugly for a while but It always breaks into a better flow eventually.

T: What has been your favourite painting or subject to paint in the past year?

PW:Heads are always in my mind, however interiors and Animals have interested me over the last year. Placing animals in familiar and imagined spaces, partly visible and partly receding into the background is an itch that I am trying to scratch at the moment, It is all to do with space and have objects, heads, chairs or animals fit into this.

T: What advise would you give to younger artists starting out?

PW:it's very hard to give advice to younger artists as they seem to get on with things very well as it is, and seem well informed about the bigger art world. The one thing that I would say is of course the journey is full of discoveries that are both exciting and challenging and therefore the long game is infinitely more rewarding full of development and change.

I generally believe in the principal that 10,000 hours is what it takes to know your practice and what you are about as an artist. Sadly, often the temptation for younger artists is to try and jump in with a fashionable product that hits the market hard and makes quick money, rather than buying into a life full of discovery and growth.

T: Artificial intelligence can now produce paintings, some of which sell to human buyers - what do you make of this?

PW: The making of a work is what makes me tick, standing and doing battle with a canvas is where I pour my personality into something. I cant see that AI can do this, why would you want an image made by a machine? Devoid of personality. Can a machine replicate Picasso's mind, I think not!