Brooklyn based artist, Paul Wackers, has worked as a painter in a handful of American cities. Hailing from Connecticut, he initially chose to go to the nation’s capital in pursuit of fine arts. Although a great city, Washington DC is not normally a place that many artists flock too. Admitting it as an odd choice, he still claims to have found
amusement in the experience. But that’s Wackers, he can find amusement in almost everything. Along with his artistic capabilities, that is his unique skill. He can find diversion within predictabilities. That skill becomes even more apparent when discussing the subjects of his work- messy book shelves, plants in his studio, and even, cat furniture. Paul Wackers can take daily regularities and turn them into beautiful works of art. Using acrylic and spray paint, his
pieces are one of a kind. Colorful, interesting, unique, but interestingly enough based off of the most common of things. With recent exhibition, “Almost Somewhere”, Wackers discusses his art centric upbringing, city hopping and wide-ranging inspirations.
How did your interest in art begin to develop? How has your family assisted or influenced you in becoming an artist?
How do you create one of your pieces? Take me through the process.
I can’t really say what specifically influenced me, but I used to watch an insane amount of films (I worked at a video store for almost 10 years, shout out to Lost Weekend Video). I was in love with the way images would get placed into this rectangle, the different ways to frame things and the bizarre perspective that some filmmakers would play with. I watched a lot of 70’s and 80’s horror movies, like Friday the 13th,thhthat had a real barebones and DIY kind of approach, where what ever worked was the answer, but not always the right one. I think of my paintings as composed with a more cinematographic quality, or at least I did. Things have changed a little bit.
What other types of things motivate your paintings? How did you come up with the series "Almost Somewhere"?
The other things that creep into my work are just my surroundings. I have a lot of plants in my studio and they always find a way into my paintings. Lately, I have been working in more of a still life sort of format, finding bigger themes in a narrower focus than before, often repainting like objects to see the big differences in small variations. That’s where a lot of the work from the show I did at Narwhal Art projects for “Almost Somewhere” evolved. It was looking at the things around me and seeing where they could take me, but also finding new things to investigate by focusing on what was right in front of me. Even though I think they reflect more than just personal spaces.
Are you inspired by any other artists?
That list is almost too big and I keep adding to it every day.
So here is a quick one off the top of my head: Lesley Vance, Tomma Abts, Peter Doig, Luc Tuymans, Peter Shire, Jonas Wood, Shio Kusaka, Chris Johanson, Paul Outerbridge, Matisse (of course), Anthony Caro, Aaron Curry. So many more I really can’t name and all for different reasons. But these are some of the ones I often return too to get excited.
You utilize spray paint, but your work seems so structured. Do you use stencils? How do you create a full piece using acrylic and spray paint?
I do use stencils and other masking methods. I try really hard to build that structure. It is something that sometimes fails spectacularly or just works effortlessly. I can never really tell which is which. The spray paint is mostly something used to accent things the bulk of the work is all paint on a brush.
What can we look forward too in your next series?
I’ve been doing some research into cat trees (cat furniture).We will see where that takes me….
Read the original interview in spanish on Pull the Metal
Photos courtesy of Paul Wackers & Heather Culp