Paul Jackson is an incredibly talented British illustrator and painter working between Brighton, UK & Toronto, Ca. Having worked on some awe inspiring projects with clients including Alexisonfire, Young Guns, City & Colour and Dan Le Sac vs Scroopius Pip to name just a few, we were incredibly honoured to get to work with Paul for our new artist screen-print series Paradise in which he created one of the most detailed pieces we have had yet, with Swamp of Despair.
We took some time out to have a quick chat with Paul about his life, work, and the piece he crated for us here at Skull & Heart:
Q: Hi Paul, How are you doing today?
A: Im very well thank you, sunburned, but well.
Q: Firstly, we’d just like to thank you for creating such a super piece for us; What a great way to kick of the new artist screen print series!
A: Yea Im really grateful to be asked to be a part of this series with you! I work a lot in Black and White so it suits me down to a tee. Plus I get to be showcased amongst excellent artists who I admire greatly.
Q: Tell us a bit about how you started out in this industry? Like a few of our artists, you have worked quite extensively within the music industry (both in a band and as an artist) – do you think this was an important factor to the work you produce today?
A: Well art has always been my main source of creative output. I was drawing when I was 5 years old so I knew it was going to be my thing as I was growing up. Then I discovered music… I decided to get into drumming and ended up joining a band and going on tour for 8 years. This inevitably led me to designing for my band and other bands that we encountered. This went from strength to strength, but I was never able to fully commit to it and get it to a place where I thought it was worthy of full-time focus as the band took up a huge amount of my time. When my group disbanded in 2008 I began to take my artwork more seriously and pulled in all the contacts I had made whilst networking around the world, that’s pretty much where my art career started….
Q: Take us through a typical day for Paul Jackson?
A: Coffee always starts my day. I love it. I write a lot of lists that I try to work through but I have the attentions span of a 3-year-old so I get distracted by many things. But once I get into a drawing at about 1pm I am pretty much going till midnight – give or take a few Jaffa cake pit stops. I tend to work on a few things at once and sometimes a project will come in with a deadline for last week so ill have to sweat on that for a few days then back to trying to get other things done.
Q: We know you recently spent some time in Canada, how is the art scene out there? Did being there bring any changes to the way you work?
A: I really enjoyed living there. I found that my art made a decent impact on the city. I did a solo show there last august and the turn out blew my mind. It really validated what I was doing and helped me focus myself into my work a lot more. I ended up doing 4 shows there in the space of a year – one solo show and 3 group shows. The art scene is good, although I feel I have a lot to discover still.
Q: Your pieces are incredibly detailed and we know take a painstakingly long time to create – Can you talk us through your creative process?
A: My process starts with a very rough idea which turns into a rough sketch which will get refined through redrawing several times. If I have reference images to draw from I will sometimes create a rough in Photoshop and use that as a direct reference, that enables me to focus on the render rather than sweating about composition. My process needs some refining, but it has worked for me so far – always room for improvement tho.
Q: You have a very distinct style and are one of the most incredible photo realist illustrators around – What are your creative influences, or artist that you look to for inspiration?
A: Why thank you!!! I am actually inspired by so many things its hard to pin point them all. But as far as artists go, I have a few in each discipline that I tend to go back to over and over again. MC Esher is one of my all time favourites as his craftsmanship is second to none, and his ideas are so wonderfully surreal and strange – a great combination in my eyes. I love artists like Chuck Close and James Rosenquist, realism which still has that human touch to it. I am constantly inspired by movies. They are the most amazingly refined moving visuals, great lighting, great compositions, great music, they really inspire me, and I love that they all came together from months of storyboard planning and many, many, other artists at the top of their game putting together this masterpiece.
Q: Tell us about the piece you did for Skull & Heart.
A: Its based on my girlfriend. She is always asking me to draw her, so I decided to use her as my model for this – I’m pretty sure this isn’t what she had in mind… I am a lover of the dark and macabre, I like being taken away to fantasy lands that are uneasy and odd, this was a little section from a larger piece I have been planning in my head for sometime. I wanted to create a bunch of these scenes from this barren land that only homes predators. The land itself is a predator, the water is actually a dissolving acid that will eat away anything it touches, and the plantation will hook into and never let you go. Pretty doomy.
Q: Can you tell us about any future projects in the works?
A: I have so much going on – not all of it commissioned work either, mainly ideas i have for shows and drawings, I don’t think that will ever change. As an artist I am always trying to move forward while also looking for a theme and something to expose as my own, like a certain style. It’s a sort of catch 22. I am always looking forward without going too far ahead as I don’t want to miss any of the steps in-between. Basically, yes, I have tons coming up – mainly shows around the world that I really excited to get working on, plus a bunch of new limited edition prints for my store!!!
Q: And of course, Skulls or Hearts?
A: The heart is the skull of the soul. I made that up but it sounds good if you don’t think about it too much.
All available artwork from Paul Jackson is available to purchase in our online store. Please click the images below to be directed to the item you are interested in.