Street art’s more chaotic language has morphed into elements of graphic quality, clean design, and playful motifs. The studio is still much the same, layered with colour, curious objects and spray cans.
The roots in street art and culture were firmly set, and they were surely not without success. As a stencil and graffiti artist Paul Insect set trends and milestones working with like-minded artists like Banksy on projects like the Cans Festival, Santas Ghetto, and the separation wall in Palestine.
Primary colours and clean shapes stretch over Paul Insect’s large canvases.
Though the imagery might have changed and matured over the years, Paul Insects politics have much stayed the same. There is still criticality and an awareness of what happens in the world.
His hand-painted faces are not simple portraits, they point to an interplay between the visible and the invisible. Some parts of our private and public selves are shared happily while others are supposed to remain unseen. The media adopts a strategy that is not un-similar: beauty and advertising are crisp, always in high resolution, while violence is often underexposed behind the veil of pixelation and low resolution.
“The polished and fake view of the world we are given, the hi-res beauty and the low-res violence. And the way we mask ourselves from the world.”
But the faces and the graphic style which has conatinued to evolve and expose itself more clearly since a gallery show in Los Angeles in 2009 also speaks of the British artist’s own reservations. He works six days a week in his studio, most of the time alone. He collaborates with other artists but does prefer a (studio) life hidden away.
Baldessari, Rauschenberg, Harring, Basquiat, and Condo have long been sources of inspiration because of their passion for and obsession with their work. Van Gogh’s chair paintings and Czechoslovakian animator Jan Svankmajer have been recent sources of fascination.