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Six of the Best, Part 2

Part 2 of an interview series in which I invite artists to respond to six questions about art, process, and creativity. Today's artist is Paul Baines, whose spectacular work caught my eye on Google Plus.

"Garbage Man", 2012
Philip Hartigan: What medium/media do you chiefly use, and why?

Paul Baines: I usually sketch in ink and then colorise digitally. I do paint but at a snail's pace. Print gives me the speed and scale I need. I am currently and very slowly working on a large scale painting, and even a novel, all long term plans.

PH: What piece are you currently working on?

PB: "White Castle" - I don't want to give it away, but it's definitely British art.

PH: What creative surprises are happening in the current work?

PB: I've realised I live in a "police kingdom" as a opposed to a "police state". I've always resented the idea of being a subject of anyone, dear old bleedin' monarchy or otherwise, but with the increasing surveillance culture, ACTA, and more CCTV than anywhere else in the world (including dictatorships), I'm starting to wonder is Britain the least democratic democracy in the world?

"Day of the Dud," 2009

PH: What other artistic medium (or non-artistic activity) feeds your creative process?

PB: A combination of fear and dreams. I've a wild imagination, ideas run around my head all day, some creative, some political, some metaphysical. Sleep seems to be where I make most sense of what I've learned each day. Art is the proof that it happened.

PH: What's the first ever piece of art you remember making?

PB: A paper mâché lighthouse complete with flashing light. In fact my mum made most of it.

I didn't discover art until much later. I've always been creative, but pinning it down as a particular skill has taken a couple of decades. I spent a year on a music production course, I've been a graphic designer in the past too, but that was depressing. Right now I'm writing a novel (which will probably take years). I've even had interest for a screenplay I worked on over a decade ago. Unfortunately the execs didn't like the title, "Milkman". And no, it's not about milk. I think I chucked it on a fire a couple of years later and threw all my energy into building up some decent art skills so I could communicate with a wider circle of like-minded people. If I had the dosh, I'd make films --  I spent a couple of years studying film at Brighton. All I know is that art has purpose again. For a while, it was just for the rich, but street art changed all that. Now every medium is open to the general public. Corporate media is dying a slow and painful death.

"Born Again," 2010

PH: Finally, and you can answer this in any way that's meaningful to you: why are you an artist?

PB: I don't know, just lucky I guess.

If you liked this interview, and you'd like to keep up to date with the series, why not Subscribe, or sign-up via Google Connect, using one of the options over on the right? Thanks, and keep creating.


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