Paul Birch – Taking a Shot at Pop
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I don’t stand out in a crowd.
How and when did you start out as an artist?
I’ve been drawing since I was a child, as a form of relaxation. I find the whole process cathartic. To face a gleaming new white page with a pen in your hand – there really is nothing better. It’s only in the last few months that I’ve decided to take it more seriously. Some friends looked at some of my work and convinced me to give it a go.
What training did you have?
What has been your best creative achievement so far?
To see my work hanging in a gallery and to see my cartoons in magazines. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction, but I don’t want to rest there.
What’s your favourite quote?
Paranoia is just a heightened state of perception – John Lennon.
Who is your favourite artist?
Joseph Mallord William Turner.
What are you aiming for?
Hmm, not sure on that one. Maybe just some recognition for what I do and some interest in what I have to say (if I have anything to say at all – that’s for others to decide).
How will you get there?
I’ll know that when I arrive.
Is anything holding you back?
You and art
What sort of reactions do you get to your work? are you ever surprised?
Shock. It’s a nice surprise.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
It all depends on what I’m doing and whether I can get an uninterrupted run at it. Unfortunately I have a day job that gets in the way somewhat. Some of the more detailed ones (Machine Girl Malfunction! for example) take weeks. But I can feel the frustration pour out of me, and I like that.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
The Beatles and other obscure bands.
What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?
Next I hope to have more work exhibited, and to just create more stuff that people will hopefully enjoy. I have no real game plan in terms of timing, because that may lead to me not enjoying drawing. If I ever stopped enjoying it, I’d turn the lights off and go home.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
People who overcome tremendous personal hardship to achieve their goals. Life or circumstance may have dealt them a rough hand but they don’t let it stop them or put them off. Breathtaking.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
Pop culture, the West and its insatiable appetite for self-obsession. The art of consumption.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
Technically, it would be You & Your King, but in terms of the message and the point I was trying to get across, it would have to be This Ain’t War. Machine Girl Malfunction! was the most enjoyable to do, because it was just a small pen on big paper. I found that tremendously therapeutic.
an artist’s advice
Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?
Never stop enjoying.
You can find more of Paul’s artworks and cartoons over at www.thefinsburyparkdeltics.com