Inspired by natural surroundings and unabating wanderlust, HavenPaul sees the life of intention he has created as his most meaningful work of art. Continually expanding his creative repertoire, Paul’s artistry spans from makeup & hair, drawing, painting, graphic design, and beyond. Always open to learning new things where an instinctive love resides, Paul’s intricate renderings bloom with color and passion.
Paul’s latest project includes co-founding ANNEW (Art News of NorthEast Wisconsin), a collaboration of dedicated visual artists, gallerists, and collectors, working together to bring more art news, events, and shows to NE Wisconsin. ANNEW recently launched ‘Artists in the Parks,’ featuring nine weekly live visual art demos in nine parks throughout the Fox Cities. Creating ongoing opportunities for engagement and community-building, Paul is dedicated to raising awareness of the visual arts and making all our lives more beautiful.
Our Interview with Paul
What does “being creative” mean to you?
To me, being creative means seeing beauty in everyday things; even the ugly things. We are surrounded by so much beauty every day. A dead flower can be as striking as a rose in bloom. I’ve seen gorgeous art where the subject is a crushed soda can or a dead crow. Being creative means being open and flexible to change or ideas.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely wanted to do?
I cannot. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with drawing. I’ve always had a pencil and paper, or a camera in hand; and those are the things my family always gifted me. Creating has always just been part of who I am. I remember in school, all of my tests and schoolwork were covered in artsy doodles. I was sometimes given a lower grade because of it! While I always made excellent grades, those papers were often returned with a note telling me that artwork was inappropriate for test papers! I seemed to finish earlier than others and had to do something with that extra time, right?
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I enjoy being outside for inspiration, photographing birds, bugs and flowers. I then bring those photos home to the computer and comb through them to see what inspires me to draw or paint. I suppose nature is my “ritual” or pattern. Exploring local trails, preserves, and nature centers in really where inspiration lies for me.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite piece; my newest is always my favorite!! But I think the life I’ve been able to create for myself is truly my favorite thing. Choosing a supportive partner, surrounding myself with other creative individuals, seeking out artist organizations like NEWAA, and being as involved as possible in the art world has given me the freedom to make art whenever I am inspired.
What are you trying to communicate or express with your art?
Honestly, most of my art doesn’t have any deep meaning or political statement; I just want to make pretty and interesting things. I mean, I have a few ‘statement’ pieces, and I envy artists who can get a clear message to come through in their art, but I’m just not that person. I just want to make your life prettier. I think that comes out in my work, it’s just wall-candy.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
It’s not really a ‘medium’ per se, but I would love to try sculpture. Abstraction doesn’t come easy for me, and I know it’s difficult to do successfully; so I know it would be great challenge for me.
What’s the best advice you have ever received in relation to your art?
Always make what I want, and what I love; and to never stop creating. (That, and “Draw what you see, not what you know.”) Don’t copy the style or design of other artists, find my own style and create my own path. Trust myself and do what I want to do. Above all else, create something I love from what inspires me. I have to credit Renee, Eric, Lance, and Patt for this advice as I hear something similar from them whenever I see them!
What advice would you give a young or new artist who is just starting out?
Blaze your own trail. Make what you love without regard to “what sells” or what might appeal to others. You have to create what you love. If you love what you create, others will enjoy it too.
What’s the best thing about being an artist in Northeast Wisconsin?
Things are changing! Northeast Wisconsin is just beginning to truly embrace visual arts. Appleton is having a hard time catching up, but they’ll get there. Stay flexible and open to change.