Atualizado: 16 de mai. de 2022
Paul Flack is a Visual Artist based in Norfolk, England. Mainly focussing on collage. Flack has produced an extensive portfolio, working with an array of talented individuals and brands. In this interview, we will explore the past, present and future of the creative.
Let’s begin at the start, what were some fond memories from your childhood that inspired you.
I was born in Enfield, North London but moved to Norfolk when I was eleven. As we had no other family in Norfolk, in the early days we'd usually travel back to London at weekends to visit grandparents, family friends etc but I'd always be excited if we were visiting my uncle Ray. Ray was Senior Creative at LWT Television at the time and we’d get to visit the studios and visit the sets of The Muppet Show, Celebrity Squares and such. But it was my uncle's house that fascinated me. He had a studio on the top floor of his very large gothic Mill Hill townhouse. Ray would not hang around much and he'd flirt between studio and family chat with a whisky in tow. I would loiter outside his studio just so he would invite me in so I could look at all of his drawings, sketches and badly arranged, bizarre selection of wall art. I loved it so much. I always remember a black and white image on his wall which used to fascinate me. I now know it to be 'Glove Palm Tree' a collaborative photolithograph image by Sigmar Polke and Christof Kojhlhöfer. This was probably the first time I thought of art as an inspiration so I would say I have uncle Ray to thank for that.
When working on a project, how do you decide on the colour palette and composition?
I tend to already have the composition of a piece in my head, sometimes lingering for goodness knows how long but I try to sketch ideas down as soon as an idea pops up. I've woken up at night before now and roughly jotted thoughts down on an envelope or sketchbook, I may even re-draw an idea and tuck it away for a later date. A lot of my work is collage based even though you wouldn't think it. I may come up with a single shape, draw it and put it in my craft-box folder. It's basically a folder filled with everything from
odd shapes to colour swatches, drawings, old photos, lyrics. Anything which I think I could use one day. I sometimes think it would even make a great book if collated and displayed well.
The colour aspect of a project personally works in a similar vain. I either know exactly what colours I'm going to use and build work around them or it can become the hardest part of a project and go on for days until I feel comfortable.
What other interests does one have? & how do these spark ideas within your pieces?
I think my sporting days are over especially after a broken leg and asthma attack in recent years but I have always been a hoarder of books especially reference books from the 60s onwards. I immensely enjoy collecting old craft annuals, interior and architectural design books, and anything else that looks remotely odd and interesting. I've recently moved house and unearthed a fair few boxes of books which I thought I had either lost or given to charity. Thank goodness I didn't!! So many old 70s & 80s Photographic guides, Wildlife annuals, old Readers Digests, Early Terence Conran 'The House Book's and a particular favourite, 'The book of Bungalows'.
I probably get more inspiration from these books than I do actual designers/artists themselves for one reason or another. Music is also a huge inspiration, from sifting through my father's record collection,
breaking into warehouses as a young raver, to eventually working in the industry, for now, more than twenty years. If I'm not creating a sleeve then you bet I'll be listening or playing
something to get my creative juices flowing.
Is there a particular art movement that inspires your work? What made you want to become an artist or did you fall into the role?
I definitely think I have fallen into it, which may cause a stir to some but I have always been a designer first and foremost albeit a self-taught designer who came through the print trade rather than art school. I've never considered myself as an artist to be true but I did have a mature taste as a teenager. My uncle lived in a high rise and painted for fun and sold his work in pubs around North London. He kindly gave me an amazing collection of art books which I'd lose myself in and found a love for the rich colours of Italian artist Enzo Cucchi whilst also enjoying the simplicity of the Artist/Designers Enzo Mari and Franco Grignani.
Also the way American Maxfield Parrish brought to life his saturated tones with almost neon highlights. Edvard Munch's surreal landscapes would take me into darker places. I would say if you were to look at my work, the inspiration from Enzo Mari has hit hard, I suppose his work has been instilled in me from around the age of fourteen until this very day.
What's the biggest project that you’ve worked on to date?
I haven't done too many commercial jobs, to be honest, but one that sticks in my mind was being asked to produce window display artworks for 'River Island' head branch. Oxford Street. I think they were looking for a change in direction and it was to fall in with their Autumn/Winter collection way back in 2009. I remember being very nervous up to the moment of the reveal. It felt great to see my work in such a large format for such a large audience.
Would you say that your work is usually on a larger scale, and is there a reason for this?
I can't say it's a decision I take seriously but I do tend to gravitate towards a larger scale square format. I wonder if this is due to the number of years I've spent working in the music industry. I must say I do envisage my work hanging in light open spaces so maybe that's the reason. Saying that a selection of my prints are available in varying sizes.
What's your favourite shade or tone of yellow?
That's tough! is it possible to have a favorable tone of yellow??!! If I were to pick one I'd worry that I’d hurt the feelings of all the other yellow tones. Oh, what the heck, I'll go full-on 100% process Acid House.
Finally, what should we be looking out for in the future of your works?
I have quite a few design projects this Summer. My first Beer can design!! late to the game I know but exciting nonetheless. It's for 'Dutchess Ales' a small independent brewery in New York state. Also, I have just finished the design for the first album on the new record label 'Native Rebel' run by an old friend Matt Smith and Shabaka Hutchings of 'Sons of Kemet' and 'The Comet is Coming' fame. They have a very talented roster of artists already so hopefully I can help them achieve the success they desire.
As for my personal projects, I've set myself a goal to release some new works around the Autumn. I don't think I'm gonna change style too much but maybe mix it up a little. Maybe leaning more towards collage with a more clean, clinical feel. I can't promise that is what will happen but it's exciting nonetheless. Watch this space…
By Adam Peter Hicks
23 Sandringham Road
Norfolk NR2 3RY