My interest in creating art began recently. I've always had a small interest in photography but that interest increased a few years back. But then, after tens of thousands of photographs taken, I began to feel like photography will always be a frozen and lifeless art. I began to want to make something that had energy in it. I began painting by reproducing some of the subjects of my photographs, but I quickly tired of that idea. Those paintings also lacked a basic energy I wanted to capture. They, like photographs, were lifeless renderings of something from the real world. I then found myself deeply fascinated by the world of abstract art. Art from a concept or emotion or a feeling. Art that captures nothing but feeling. I began experimenting with just about every medium of painting that is available, from acrylics to oils to chemicals that liquefy polymers, to plaster and concrete. I finally found oil pastels as one of my favorite mediums. Oil pastels allow me to be in direct contact with my surface. There are no brushes or tools in use for most of it. It's just me and my fingers and my hands working closely with the surface. The tools I do use are often not what most people would use for painting. I use sandpaper and knives to alter, reduce and mutilate my work. I choose roofing felt more and more in my work because of it's texture and color. The tar in the paper and the texture allow for a more random response with the paints and oil pastels that I'm applying. Since starting with roofing felt my work has moved closer to the randomness of entropy with each piece. I am deeply fascinated by the decay of our societies and how nature wants to return all things to a basic form. Man is constantly striving to enhance things and make them better... while nature is always trying to simply wipe out our efforts. My inspiration comes from organized systems gone bad. From contained shapes being destroyed. Deterioration and decay of human effort. I have a mix of approaches with my art. Some flows naturally as the piece is created and others begin with an idea. But I have to admit that those that I like the best tend to have created themselves. I began painting abstracts for the simple reason that the world is full of too many advertisements. Everyday, all day long, we are bombarded with people trying to sell us something. It's advertising overload and it comes at us from every corner and from every angle. From our televisions, our magazines, newspapers, billboards, website pop-ups, pop-unders, click throughs, spam mail, banner ads, covering buses, covering cars, plastered on t-shirts, hanging from planes, before the start of our movies at the movie theatre, people are now selling body space on eBay for advertising tattoos. Where does it end? I don't know how to stop it, but I can choose to not be a part of it. I could focus my art to have a message about how to stop it, or make people stop to think about the overload. But I won't. I won't send a message about how much it bothers me. That in itself would be yet another advertisement. This is the reason I will not title any of my art. I do not want to send a message. What I prefer is for the viewer to feel and see something totally on their own and draw their own conclusion by determining what my art means to them. My inspiration comes from decaying society and the destruction of man made systems. But that is my inspiration and not my message. I do not wish for society to crumble and for nature to wipe out our legacy. I simply find it ironic that no matter how hard we try, nature will always reduce our efforts to dust and bury all of our achievements. The artists that have opened my eyes include Mark Rothko for his intense and deeply personal abstracts that he refused to title. Andy Warhol for showing us that advertising is fodder for art. For style and inspiration I look to Harry Gruenert for his aged surfaces and textures and Rebecca Kinkead for her colors and compositions. Most importantly though, I have to recall something that drove Ellsworth Kelly in his work. His work was driven by the concept of removing the artist from the work. My work, however, is striving to immerse myself completely into my painting. His was to remove all traces of the painter from the work. Mine is to leave a bit of myself in each work. Which is why I work with my hands and fingers in the paint and materials more than brushes and tools.
Biography: Professional web designer by day, photographer, painter and image manipulator by night. My art can be found in a departmental collection at the University of Notre Dame and personal collections in California, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Canada and Ireland.
Country: United States
Site: Paul Stiles - Art
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