PAUL KAPTEIN

1-1CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

PK: I tend to think of it as the aesthetics of transience as it deals with the relationships of things across time. Currently utilizing hand carving wood.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

PK: Life – anything and everything.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

PK: I usually make rudimentary sketches in journals as I go and select whichever feels right to make at the time from there. I tend to work in series, so iterations and departures emerge when working on a project which develop that project or lead to something quite different.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

PK: I hope to create a pause, however small, in the viewers mind.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

PK: I work 6 -7 days a week in my own sweatshop. Nothing fancy.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

PK: Both are fine. Woodcarving requires a bit of planning but if there are no surprises along the way, that is, you know exactly how something will turn out, its hard to sustain interest. I like the example of jazz – practice until you master the instrument then extemporize at the creative stage. Sadly, I’m no master.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

PK: To create something really good you have to be prepared to lose it. There is something exciting in that -risk it all moment. Also, the value of play. To get out of your head every once in a while and surf, swim, ride, etc. really helps especially when you can’t resolve a particular thing.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

PK: Style can become a trap.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

PK: Application forms and deadlines.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

PK: Imposing your own logic on the world.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

PK: Ricky Swallow is an obvious reference in terms of carving, as I like people that craft things really well and push their medium. He was the only person I knew of, that provided a contemporary context for woodcarving. On the flipside, I like radical simplicity in things. Drawing is generally the thing that inspires me about someone’s work and that can be children’s drawings to old masters and anything in between. I respond as well to Chuck Jones and Chris Ware as Frank Aurbach and William Kentridge to name a few. I have a book of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s drawings that provides constant enjoyment.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

PK: I have pondered the Heideggerian idea that technology removes us from ourselves, and think that to a certain extent it does. My decision to try carving was an investigation into that notion. I was also fed up with software updates and compatibility issues and being tethered to a screen. Woodcarving hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years, the tools and techniques are the same and I found that really attractive as well as the denial of immediacy we have grown
accustomed to. So to a certain extent I’m protesting against the expediency of production and the ubiquity of that manufacturing look, but that protest may be about my own acquired laziness. Technology is great and I wouldn’t be without it, but I don’t buy into the notion that you press a button here and ‘art’ comes out there.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

PK: I hope so.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

PK: Being from a flat part of the world I like to explore mountainous regions. I’m looking forward to hitting New York in a few months though.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

PK: Deleuza and Guattari write a cracking book.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

PK: The immediate plans are preparing for a group show in New York in May then at the Melbourne Art Fair in August. I want to keep exploring carving for the foreseeable future, and developing in that area.

CH.89:  What does being an artist mean to you?

PK: Nothing and everything. Its one of the few things that makes sense to me to be doing.

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

PK: It’s non-linear. I’ve worked a bit in animation and film and have borrowed from those processes. Things such as timeline scrubbing, key framing, onion skinning, corrupt files etc have informed how I think about sculpture and how information is structured.

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