Paul West — ARTIST

Paul West

Paul West

Interview with artist Paul West —

Paul is taking part in London’s forthcoming New Artist Fair from 8 to 10 September.




1. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Paul West and I’m a landscape painter and charcoal artist

2. Why art?
My college education in London had a heavy emphasis on art (life drawing, print techniques and art history) which has always been a driving force in what I do. Although I originally chose the path of design, I have always been drawing or painting. As I’ve got older, I am now finding inspiration in a more ‘analogue’ form of mark making.




3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Sketching and drawing from the earliest time. As a child I was fascinated by Comics characters (Silver Surfer and Spider Man in particular) and would draw superheroes endlessly! This led on to music and in particular band logos. Punk graphics (UK Subs, The Cure, Killing Joke and X-Ray Spex especially) with their DIY aesthetic (collage, hand drawn, stencilled) were what hooked me into the world of art and design.




4. What are your favourite subject(s) and media(s)?
My main inspiration lies in the landscape, especially Northumberland. Over the years I’ve been alternating between charcoal drawing and painting. When I work in charcoal, I tend to create more detailed works, a result of my graphic design background perhaps. My paintings on the other hand have a totally different style. I paint using a loose ‘impasto’ style, I like to break down the subject of what I’m painting. Highly detailed landscape is not what comes naturally to me, and therefore I tend to veer towards a form of naïve abstraction rather than realism. Perhaps I should marry the charcoal and paint techniques up a little more – but I enjoy the dualism in the styles.




6. Do you have favourite art works/artists?
David Hockney will always be high up there for me. I don’t really think there’s any stage of his creative life that hasn’t been fascinating. His painting “Winter Timber” from 2009 is a particular favourite of mine. I also like Richard Diebenkorn, Kathe Kollwitz, John Hoyland, Franz Kline, Paul Gauguin… there are quite a few!

7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
At a recent art fair, someone came up to me and pointed at one of my charcoal landscapes saying “I can see your soul in this work”.

8. What do you like about your work?
I love the meditation that is part of the creative process, and the highs and lows that come with it. At the moment, I can’t wait to get on with a charcoal landscape I’ve been burning to start for a while. What satisfies me the most is when I think I’ve successfully captured how I feel about being in a particular landscape. Growing up in Dorset I’ve always viewed the landscape as an entity: the seasons, the wildlife, the solitary tree to an ancient wood, they are all aspects of our own personality. It’s mysterious, beautiful and unforgiving. We’ve made our mark on the land in each generation; the landscape reminds me of our fleeting moment here, and it’s a pleasure to try to record that.





9. What advice would you give other artists?
I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice, apart from to stay with it and enjoy any gift you have. Always look and learn.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Living (or at least spending more time) in the countryside and finding the right gallery to represent me! I also want to paint and draw large format canvasses and works on paper, which will involve learning new skills and a shift in technique in order to adapt to that scale. Sounds like a great challenge.




Paul West

Paul West


Article Feature photo by Claire Nathan