Instagram: @artistformerlyknownasprints Website: www.paul-bush.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I grew up in Gibraltar and have just spent the last year living in south London. Gibraltar's a really unique and beautiful little ecosystem and I'm actually in the middle of organising to move back for a while. I moved over to Kingston at the end of last year to study and it's been nothing short of wonderful. Likewise to Gibraltar, Kingston's like it's own little environment, you feel free from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet it's got its own scene; gig venue, record store, high street, cafes by the river, it's incredibly chill.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.I think of my work as a sort of balancing act between soft and bold. I've got endless admiration for colour and texture; the imagery tends to incorporate a limited, strong palette with soft textures and gradients. These elements are often contrasted with strong lines and shadow. Composition is something really important to me; a lot of the time I look at my work as trying to capture a moment so I feel naturally drawn to imagery with almost cinematic qualities.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?I'm extremely fond of print, I love the textures that come from different techniques. My newest admiration is for risograph, I just finished working on a riso-printed book. I love the luminosity and saturation of colours, the touch of grain and accidents that occur through errors in registration. I work predominantly digitally but there's something so endearing about seeing the work in print, I love the excitement of not knowing exactly what you're going to get. I also love paint. Before making the move to digital I'd spent most of my time painting. It's something I hope to slowly reconnect with.
4. What is your artistic process like?Everything starts with pencil. I'll have an idea for something and put down a really rough sketch either in a sketchbook or whatever's nearby. From here I'll clean it up slightly, go through lots of spot images, testing out composition and scale before reaching a more finalised drawing. I like to scan a lot of my drawings, print them out, then work over them in tracing paper. I just like being able to layer up my drawings, making little edits and what not before I'm happy. I never really edit the drawings digitally. I like to be completely happy with my drawing on paper before I move it in to photoshop and build from there. Colour's actually something that always feels quite organic. I'll sort of picture the palette and play around with values till I'm there; this can actually be the longest part of the process. I do have something of a log where I keep colour combinations that jump out at me; either from artwork, pieces of packaging, covers, anything really. I'm really fond of how colour's used in buildings, magazines like architectural digest are some of my favourite resources for colour combinations.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?I think inspiration is something difficult to pin down, it comes from a load of different places. Music's been a really prominent source over the last few years. There's certain tracks and albums that portray such a clear sense of setting and narrative - and these are often manifested when I'm making. There's always a record I have in mind whenever I'm working on a project. I'm intrigued by the relationship between music and visual arts. In terms of artists I look towards for inspiration it's people like Matisse, Rothko, Picasso, Monet and David Hockney. It's not to say that I see similarities between my work and theirs, more just an affection for their aspirations and use of colour.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?Art’s always been part of my life, it might sound overly romantic but I feel super privileged to have found myself in this position where I’m pursuing it as a career. Nothing else really fills me with the excitement of working on something new and at the same time provides such a place of calm (most of the time). If i think about the way it changes my view in the world, being an artist is about perspectives you know, I think the struggle of getting to a place of creativity really pulls you to look at things from different points of view. Likewise I think the appreciation and at often times pursuit, of beauty (in a well-rounded sense) filters in to your everyday life. I find myself in awe of things everyday; the amazing colours of a charming house or the flowers along a street. Allowing yourself to experience this kind of marvelling I think really helps to slow down and appreciate the splendour of everyday life.
7. Where did you study?I graduated with a BA in Illustration from the University of Hertfordshire last year and just finished an MA at Kingston School of Art last month. Both were amazing experiences for different reasons. During my BA I think I laid a lot of the groundwork which really allowed me to develop during my year at Kingston. There are so many talented Illustrators that have come out of Kingston so I’m extremely proud to have spent my time there.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?In five years I’d like to still be working freelance. I’d be in a studio filled with lots of light, plants and a really good speaker system. There’s so many different projects I want to take on, people I want to connect and collaborate with so I’m really excited. Medium wise there’s a lot I’d like to experiment with. I mentioned earlier about trying to get back to painting in my spare time. One of the last projects I did was actually a collaboration with a musician/producer so I’d love to pursue more projects like that.
9. What about in ten?10 years seems unfathomable but the same applies really, I just want to feel good and content, making things for a living.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?I think I just want to provide people with an experience, a moment to stop and be taken in by something. As my work develops it reminds me more and more of the things I used to draw and make as a kid; I love trying to create work that’s really involved with the imagination. I was just exhibiting some work with Kingston last week and someone said something along the lines of art being able to make you live a story for a moment. I just think that’s such a nice sentiment, that’s what I want to achieve. Everything I like has something in common, that its almost transportive; you can drift away in to it momentarily. I think that’s what I enjoy trying to do the most.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?I feel like this isn't a very interesting answer but I love falafel, baba ghanoush, pineapple and avocado toast (not together).
12. Favourite book?I don't think I have one! I used to try to read a lot of poetry, Charles Bukowski, William Blake. I read Memoirs of a Geisha last year and it was incredible, so beautifully written. I've just started reading 'Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011'; I heard loads about it and love the Strokes, it's really enjoyable.
13. Favourite genre of music?Such an impossible question! I've been a music nerd forever. I'd say maybe a three-way tie between indie, hip-hop and funk/electronic. The last record I bought was Mac Demarco's 'This Old Dog'. I adore that warm, hazy, L.A. sounding palette, Tame impala's got a similar vibe and it's wonderful. I listen to classic hiphop, Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Biggie, Wu Tang but then have equal admiration for people like Syd from The Internet, Vince Staples, and anything Frank Ocean touches. I've most recently been listening to a lot of beat tapes on youtube or soundcloud. I think my taste in music isn't dissimilar from what I like in art. My absolute favourite works are albums that really take me somewhere, that are a full and immersive experience. The most recent album that springs to mind is Tyler the Creator's 'Flower boy' album. I wasn't a big fan of his older work, but there's something indescribably perfect about how the album flows from start to finish, it paints such a clear vision for me, I had it on repeat for weeks. Ocean's 'Blonde' had a similar effect, so does 'Gooey' by Glass Animals and the Mac Demarco record. I also have a severe weakness for 80s pop and Prince is my all time favourite guy.
14. What are your hobbies?I try to run and meditate frequently. I like going for food and drinks with friends, scrolling music blogs, playing tennis with my dad and attempting to skate.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?I would really like to think that even if I wan't an artist I'd still be involved in art. Maybe curation, organising galleries and exhibitions. I really enjoy communicating with people, especially within a context that I'm confident and passionate about. I also really enjoyed writing when I was at school so potentially something in that field, maybe music journalism.