Monday, 7 January 2013

Interview with Paris, the artist behind the Mylo Xyloto artwork

A few weeks ago I headed to Proud Galleries to chat to Paris, who alongside Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion, created the striking artwork for Mylo Xyloto. The original artwork was displayed in an exhibition headed up by Album Artists who were aiming to raise a considerable amount of money for a fantastic charity called Kids Company. The wall above, which was featured in 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall' ended up raising a hugely impressive £500,000.
What was the first piece of art you remember creating?
Scribbling on my bedroom wall with a wax crayon. ( age 3)
What was the first piece of art you remember grabbing your attention?
A big piece of Op art in the Ferens Art Gallery, it was made of fluorescent tube lights and changed colours when you dropped money in it.
You have said that you aren’t really immersed in current music too much, but you do take note of music artwork and album covers. What attributes make a successful cover?
You cant beat being in a good record shop and browsing through the gatefold covers...Itunes isn't quite the same...The best Album artwork comes from designers who are passionate about what they do, and understand design aesthetics.What counts for me is Originality & Impact and interpreting the bands message & music in a new way. Tappin Gofton understand this and thats why they're such good designers / Art directors to work with.
What needs to be considered? 
What are your favourite (most iconic) album covers of all time? 
Anything by Peter Saville (Joy Division -New Order) and the work of The Designers Republic.... also the Stone Roses album covers..and the Art of Rick Griffin, also the Dangermouse / Doom Covers are incredible.
Graffiti is known by some for the fact often being created on buildings, outside, and often without permmission. Is it harder to create graffiti work in a controlled manner? (When commissioned by someone.)
Yes, its a lot harder than it looks to create something with all the spontaneity and ravages of a city wall in a controlled environment, but I've mastered it.
Is it odd seeing your work in gallery type environments? 
No its not strange, with all my artwork its about context, where its placed and being site specific...
You can highlight a lot of issues by bringing something you might pass by in the street into a gallery.
Did you enjoy the element or risk when doing it on the buildings of Hull in the early days?
Yes, the risk, the adrenaline, the sense of accomplishing something that my peer group would respect and the chance to show I existed in this world!
You have said that when you were growing up Hull had a lot of derelict buildings that you could use to display your art. Do you think if you had grown up somewhere else you may have explored another style of art?
I feel that you do'nt choose graffiti, it chooses you.Know what I mean? So no matter where I grew up I think I would have gravitated to it, and to the environments where graffiti exists.
You have said that you love the freedom of the medium of graffiti. Is that hindered when you are having to stick to a brief or if it is tightly planned out?
A brief can give you perimeters that are good, like timescale & size, and if your able to work within that then you can often get really free with what your an artist you have to take control, always.
Too much "public art" is ruined by committees and briefs though.
How much scope were you given t explore your own ideas with this work?
The best briefs are always the ones when you're just told " do what you do best, we love it!" which is exactly what happened with Coldplay.
Not only were you commissioned to do work for Coldplay, you helped to teach them the art and educate them about it. Have any of the guys really taken to creating artwork or shown particular flair or personal style with what they’ve created? 
Yes they all have in different ways. I guess in the same way as they are musicians,  and they all have thier own personal styles, so its the same with art. They're a very talented bunch!.
Do you believe you can teach people to be artistic?
I believe you can nurture the creativity in everyone, and encourage self expression through having fun and being free of formal artistic constraints
You had to get a lot of artists in to help you create the vast amount of work. Do you like working in a team?
I love working in a team for the fact that through collaboration often comes unexpected results, and you can get a lot more done in a short space of time!
From spending time with Coldplay was there anything that surprised you about them and the life of a hugely successful rock band?
I guess I was surprised at just how hard working they all are, and highly professional in everything they do.
Has the experience of working on the various projects for Coldplay seen you develop your art in any way?

Yes, my own work has gone from strength to strength. It's given me a new confidence working for Coldplay and I've traveled to some incredible places with them, all this has given me a lot of inspiration that I hope to channel into my studio work this year.

It would be my dream to find a high end gallery to represent my work around the world...
Apart from being a great experience has it progressed your skills or style? 

Yeah, from working fast on a huge scale (but to a brief), I feel it's really freed me up and my new painting style is now a lot more intuitive .
Coldplay are known for having specific concepts and outfits for each of their albums. Will this mean they will seek out a different style/medium or artist for their next output, or are their plans for more collaborations? 

I'd love to work for Coldplay again, and it would be even better to have a new, completely different style & direction.We'll have to see what the future holds. 
The artwork for Every Teardrop is a Waterfall was quickly cleaned off and painted over. Is that hard to deal with (is there a sort of grief process)?

Haha. From years of painting in the public domain I've learned not to be precious with what I do, as long as the work has been documented I'm happy.
Have you discovered what some of the codes and numbers are that the band scrawled on the wall?

Yeah, I made up a few of my own as well x. 
You also created  artwork for Robbie Williams (Rudebox). What type of people/industries make for the ideal clients for you?

Ideal clients = Architects, Fashion houses, Design journals ( World of Interiors) , collectors of items of beauty.
Who would you most like to create work for?

Issey Miyaki or Paul Smith, Stussy, Studio Gibli, Lego, Apple, Stone Roses, Wes Anderson. 
If you had an infinite budget, what piece of art would you want to bid and win? 

I'd love a painting by Philip Guston, or an original drawing by Herb Lubalin or Syd Mead, or I guess to own a painting by Matisse, that would be the ultimate....


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