Paul Bennett

My creative process for figurative paintings begins initially from found images (magazines, Internet), which are used as a base from which I begin to sketch out the composition. It’s important to my work that the initial reference images are from a mass produced source for a couple of reasons. The first is that the paintings I want to create are completely removed from the polished magazine shoots and plastic people portrayed from which I am referencing. The bombardment from advertising and the media of immaculate people has for many years become the normal way that we absorb our visual life. The act of taking the person out of the context of material advertising is a way in which what is left can be open to scrutiny and reinterpreted. The flat and empty backgrounds I use help enhance this. The second reason why I favour the use of the found image is that there is less of a connection with the subject and in some ways it is similar to painting a still life. The subject is removed as a person (to some extent). This then gives me more freedom to reinvent and create the painting in a more expressionist way and break free from a photorealist portrayal of the subject. The very act of painting something which has already been produced many thousands of times already becomes a completely different entity when it is then used to create a one off and unique original piece of work. The intention is that the end result be a million times removed from the person who at some point posed in front of the camera.

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