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Paul Ryan Wild Colonial Boys

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Works on Paper, Small paintings & Sculpture 40 Queen St

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The Pace. Tales from Influential Men

Men's Style
Winter 2013. Issue #55

Michael Pickering

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How much of your style is a process of accidental discovery and how much is deliberate design?

About 50/50. I have a rough plan when working, however, many accidents occur on the way, which is the interesting part of the process. An example is the paper stencils I use to create the paintings, which derive from photos taken at various locations. These are cut by hand- it's a slow method but I prefer this over laser cutting, as the process forces you to physically correct and/or work with the mistakes you've made along the way.

Was it a difficult journey to find a signature look? Do you think you have one?

I'm not sure about that. I'm still experimenting and trying to develop mediums like sculpture, which came about through the stencils I use in the paintings. These elements feed into each other and I hope this continues.

Do you take in lots of outside influences or remain faithful to your own ideas?

Much of my work depicts the built and natural environment, which came about by studying various influences and making mistakes. I majored in sculpture at uni, which wasn't by choice but it encouraged me to look outside painting. 

You've experienced an artist-in-residence trip to Paris…

The residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts was an amazing experience. Many Australian artists have participated in it and the amazing process has helped develop their work. Travel is an important part of my practice as the scenes in my paintings derive from photos taken at various locations, then collaged onto the picture to create fictitious utopias. Paris was a perfect location for this inspiration.

Does on project flow continuously to the next?

Usually. I often link previous work to the current practice. An example was my last series, Pentimento, in which I applied layers of retired stencils to create multicoloured collaged backgrounds, then painted over them with new imagery. Sections of the backgrounds remain exposed, inviting the viewer to consider the process.