Made up most of it…watercolours.
here is an INTERVIEW WITH ME!
1. Can you please introduce yourself?
HI I AM PAUL THE ART GUY!
I write stories and songs, sometimes poetry (eventually started doing this again after having given it up at 14 to leave more time for masturbation!) I paid for an aptitude for bits of the arts with a general and wide ranging ineptitude when it comes to normal human tasks. “Oh well, what the hell!” sang Mcwatt (this is from catch 22; which remains the best book in the universe. If you feel the same way email me and I will MARRY YOU. Or. Err. Buy you a muffin.)
I read a lot. Weird big historical books through to comics. The best reason to live forever is to read everything that has ever been written. And then start again at the bottom of the pile.
Apart from painting I have a side-line in cat straightening – an uncommon skill that I learned in a dzong in Bhutan. One day I hope to have a young apprentice and the balance of straight cats in the universe will be in perfect harmony…
(I am still grieving over the loss of SPG – Special Patrol Group, my Burmese cat full time compatriot and best friend. she would follow me round the house and sit on my shoulder when I went to the shops and… oh man. getting sad again. my friends are s’posed to be getting me a li’l kitten for my birthday, but I don’t think I can ever hope to replace her. the cat is dead! long live the cat!)
2. What makes you create? What influences your work greatly? Which approach do you take towards your artwork? What pushes you?
I remember when I was fifteen, I told my girlfriend…
“I have this terrible craving. It is there all the time. It never goes away.”
And she said:
“Is it for SEX!!?” (she tackles me into the bushes.)
“No, babe. No. I don’t know what it is for. It hurts. I want it to stop… wish for it. It hurts me.”
Then we had sex. Again. (She and I are still very close by the way. I have painted her many times. It is twenty years since that day.)
I wrote this in my journal that night.
The painting and the writing. The songs. They help. And they are endless. I feel compelled to paint and write. I feel sick with guilt if I do not. Yeh – compelled. It is a COMPULSION.
I can’t work in a conventional context. I have never been able to work. I am too mad and madness – well… it really, really SUCKS. I have been fired from about 20 different jobs.
Most people make monumental sacrifices to paint as much as they can. I had no choice, I guess. Nope. A blessing somewhere there after all that humiliation and failure. Almost all of the jobs were labouring. It is hard to… be fired for ineptitude from the most basic of human endeavours. After the fifteenth time it is kinda depressing.
I still don’t know what the craving is for. It is still there. But if it is not destroyed, the old wounds that it finds wear the aegis of my work… and keen as the ache remains, will always remain, I DO have that. And I AM blessed that I was born with the means to access this amelioration. More than that, yes… more… I am PROUD that I have forced these honest and often strange things into the world with my will.
3. I read on your pages about bi-polar disorder you have… Can you please explain how this impacts your life and work? It is often said that artists in order to create need to have severe mood swings how does this impact your ability to create?
That is… a huge question. The two things are ultimately inseparable. The madness is extreme and impossible to convey. It is horrible. It is ugly and not something to be aspired to or romanticised. At the same time the connection between the arts and madness is unconditionally real. There is a defining quote from Proust:
(Forgive me if I misplace a word or two this is from my head)
“All the greatest things we have have come to us from neurotics. It is they and they only who have founded religions and created great works of art. Never will the world be conscious of what it owes them. Nor, most of all, what it has cost them to bestow their gifts upon us.”
I spent a lot of time earlier in my life trying to work out how much was me – ME and how much was madness and distortion; what motivated every movement I took?
We are determined by our environment as much as by our personality, simply by being human. With bipolar, does our environment have less impact or perhaps, as in all passionate artists; MORE? Either way we react in extremis, or of course just ACT in extremis.
One thing that I do believe, and with conviction (“convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies.” Voltaire. I think I am taking it out of context huh?")
We live out our lives with such pain and such elation. We live each moment with INTENSITY. I believe that this is a power and a form of advantage in itself.
And this is common to True artists; all of us. It is that we feel so much so HARD that we are able to put on paper/in text/ in music something that moves other hearts.
I am kind. I am creative and I cannot help myself, I cannot ever stop. These are constant and absolute. No matter how manic or depressed I become, even if I am unable to act on my impulses to help otters because of my illness, or to make beautiful things; I will have this as a tenet that can brace me and hold me through my moments of despair and even through true madness.
The awful truth, or alternately, the wondrous truth, is that it does not matter. We live our lives and act as we do. We try and ameliorate the tragedy that is part of any human’s life as we are able. It is these truths that make us valuable. Because we are artists we have more tools, and powerful ones. But we are also so very much more likely to hurt deeply.
I am bipolar. This is not an evil thing – it is not good nor is it bad, but, here, HERE we go again – it just IS.
I am human and I am kind. I am an ARTIST. They are all me. They are inseparable; utterly and irrevocably entwined.
How else to live?
4. Which artists do you look up to and why?
- I like late Goya. He was so brave. Honest. Rembrandt was – and his works remain – magnificent. Da Vinci for drawing, Michelangelo and Rhodin for sculpture. Whilst I have a deep respect for these artists, I do not hold them in awe. I don’t think I could honestly say that I look up to them. The phraseology is… not quite what I feel. However, their work moves me and it is an essential piece of the endless puzzle of our world. It will remain so as long as the threads of human history wind through our minds – most of humanity can feel echoes at least of meaning in these works in their bones. Michelangelo’s The Pieta – it is a work that blazes with life; it defines passion. Here is power; it is held in so very few hands buried within ages and for ages yet. It is this that I crave. And cigarettes. Muffins. Sometimes.
- Although the truth is that the heroes for whom I hold the most reverence have nothing to do with painting. They are humanists and showed us a different kind of brilliance, and even love. Perhaps that also. Noam Chomsky, Einstein, Jesus. (Though I am not religious and believe he was simply a mortal, moral genius.) Ghandi. Most of all this little Indian man. He is, to me, the most beautiful of any of the magnificent humans listed here. John Wheeler (another physicist). Stephen Hawking and my father.
5. Which are your favourite paintings of yours and why? Can you please tell us a bit more about them…?
- Hm wellllllll the works that I truly love are some of the darkest, and least saleable that I have done. “Entropy” would have to be up there. I am about to add “The atrocities of school I can’t forget.” Having trouble uploading stuff today. Of those I have uploaded “Monsters of hope.” (In my web-page – the url is www.pauldrobertson.com if you feel comfortable posting it – there are more than 300 pieces. Some songs… a couple of thousand pages of text maybe.) “Kissing Miss Poli,” is recent and important to me. It is the first time I have ever painted myself not tortured or ugly. Though Poli herself was actually a right bitch.
Well. She was. Really.
- 6. You share a lot of wonderful personal experiences through your work as well through the amazing artist comments under each one of them…. How do you feel about other people being able to find out so much about you?
- We ALL wear our hearts bloody on our sleeves. It is what artists DO. I have found that exposing my deepest thoughts and even my most humiliating experiences (LOTS of those!) is…
- Well liberating I suppose. And rather than explain it… rather than RETREAT.
- Here…. For you for us whole in our pieces
Our hesitance, we HESITATE how CAN we?
A deep and cold weight swaying and shuddering. Alive with staccato violence, punching through any wholeness any aggregate any omneity any cohesion any assembled assimilation of the WHOLE ENCHILADA. We are in the world like a killer’s swollen soul like a war, like a star dying! Collapse an event horizon we are too distended with mass to escape the weight in our hearts the cold mass the cold the stone curse the albatross of loss! The cold the COLD!
VIOLENCE against my ribs like a Titan’s maul, a god-hammer of ending!
Uncountable a breath a hundred bruising spasms another is there not yet blood is there not yet an end is there yet more breath after this after THIS.
Give up. Give IN.
Let it fall… swift enough to stir the air between our outstretched aching arms. De-integration – less than dust something neverthere.
Fail to clench fingers around what slides precious, precious and gone across our palms.
Acquiescence like slipping into cool water; soothing radiation burns and gravel rash and paper cuts and humiliation and thrush. Like slipping into the best shoes that you ever ran in just before they fell apart; like slitting a throat.
Close an empty hand in a slow, a soft folding.
Fingers trembling; a half grin peeled over teeth aching and worn; worn uncertain and fading in the half light.
Rictus of acceptance.
Smile of the damned.
Absolution in MEDIOCRITY.
7. You have received a number of awards for your artwork, and had your paintings hung near paintings of some amazing artists… can you please tell us a bit more about that and how does it make you feel?
- It was flattering to be hung next to some artists who had achieved such fame, and important because it happened at the beginning of my career. Though I think that there are far better artists on deviantart than the Australian publicly favoured.
- Almost all of the awards are small and local. Not THAT small but small. So far the prizes are normally a thousand, though sometimes they want to keep the piece… I won an international award for the first time a few months ago. I am REALLY BAD at keeping track of such things. I can FIND thirteen award certificates, though I know there are 16 and according to my ex-girlfriend there are 19 now. There are probably more in my house somewhere. I dunno. If I have cycled down and I have despair, when I find out I have won something I cry. I think I do that when I am up too. Yes. The validation, the vindication of it takes my breath away. That others can see what seethes in my heart…
- 8. What advice would you like to give to other emerging artists? Can you please share some of your insights, and experiences?
- In a practical sense – try different media! If you can draw you can paint. And…
- BE BRAVE. TRUST YOUR PASSIONS. SPEAK TRUTHS WITH YOUR WORK AND SHOW WHENEVER AND WHEREVER YOU CAN. BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO AND ARE. HOPE AND HOPE AND HOPE AND HOPE AGAIN.