Interview: The Vibrantly Colorful Paintings & Prints of Australia’s Paris Tremayne
An artist on every level, Paris Tremayne is a man dedicated to making his life an inherently creative experience. His colorful paintings and art prints are the product of an unencumbered mind, and a creative process that values his own intuition above any technique, and he delves deeply into his own philosophic meanderings in a way that give the viewer great insight into his fantastically kaleidoscopic creations.
Ahead, you’ll amass a better understanding of the mindset behind these amazingly liberated pieces. These new media productions embrace a future in which computers are merely another tool in one’s belt, and where the possibilities expand exponentially.
Enjoy as Australia’s Paris Tremayne jumps down the IPMM rabbit hole.
Evan: I have plenty of thoughts about how I would describe your work, but I’m always interested in how artists describe what they do. So tell us, how would you characterize your own work?
Paris: I choose to avoid describing my work so that the viewer can embark on their own journey. What you see will be different from what I see or what your friend sees. And it’s not my place or even my right to interfere with that.
Although, I would say my work is an expression of the profound joy, utter wonder and intense gratitude I feel for life itself. I once heard David Hockney say that ‘love’ was probably as close words could get to describing what his work was about. I relate to that.
Tell us a little more about your process. From start to finish would be great!
To quote Kandinsky ‘everything starts with a dot’. Sometimes I have a vague notion of the direction of the picture, but it never turns out that way. The initial idea is just the commencement of the journey. It’s like finding a seed and planting it, not knowing what it will grow into.
The pictures just sort of unfold of their own accord. And so it feels as though they are creating themselves. Sometimes this happens very quickly, but other times I’ll sit around and stare for a long time, waiting for the next wave inspiration to come.
I’m endlessly excited by form and the fact that the possibilities for variation are quite literally infinite. On completing anything (be it a tiny fragment of a piece or an entire piece) this then in turn opens up a whole new world of inspiration and possibility. And in this way the work just evolves of it’s own accord and one day I just look back and think “wow my work has changed so much! How did that happen?”
The process is the same whether I’m painting or using new media (digital drawing). In fact despite some obvious differences, drawing with new media is more similar than I realized to painting. I am still very much ‘drawing’, only with digital work I’m using a type of pen and opaque tablet in front on a computer whereas in painting I’m using a brush on a canvas.
The most important thing for me is that I allow myself to be guided by my intuition; to follow my gut rather than my head. I find the latter tends to lead to boring and predictable work. Whereas the former makes me feel alive and profoundly excited, having no idea what will come next.
Having said all this, there is also the more practical side of my work such as tidying a piece up where needs be, etc. This as well as many aspects of ‘finalizing’ a piece can be very time consuming.
But even this I find meditative. The whole process is just so wonderful.
You’ve had the pleasure of having art shows at some pretty prestigious galleries. Which one was your favorite, and why?
I get a massive rush from watching people look at my work in a physical space. One of my favourite parts of exhibiting is returning throughout the show (other than opening night) and observing people interact with my work without knowing I’m the artist.
It also feels amazing when people explain to me the impact my work has had on them. Sometimes they’ll point out things I hadn’t noticed and this reminds me the pictures have lives of their own and that they don’t belong to me.
I enjoy this whole process no matter where it is. And so no particular gallery I’ve exhibited at stands out.
You say on your about page that visual art is essentially your most fluent language, and that’s why you didn’t become a writer. I love that sentiment. As a writer, I totally understand having one art form in which one feels most conversant. How did you develop that? Or has it always felt that way for you?
This is an interesting topic for me, as I adore words and sounds as well as the visual mediums; in the past I’ve written a lot of poetry. I do however, feel like I can express the subtleties of life’s infinite intricacies through a visual medium with more potency.
Awesome. I love that.
What I meant about not becoming a writer was that I don’t feel the need to explain my work with words. Once it’s done, it’s done, if the work is effective, no words are required, as it should speak for itself.
Asking a visual artist to explain their work in words is the same as asking a writer to draw a picture about their book or poem.
Seems like a super interesting exercise! Lol… You also convey something really cool, which is that sometimes you don’t even feel that it’s your painting. I’ve heard musicians say similar things. Would it be fair to say that you feel like a creative conduit?
I’d say the most important thing I can do as an artist is get out of the way on a personal level. When I am able to do this, an intense aliveness flows through me and I feel the universe moving through me. In this way, creating for me can become a very beautiful kind of addiction. For the same reason I find it very hard to take time off from creating. It’s an indescribably satisfying feeling, it really is!
That’s what it can feel like when I’m in the zone. It really is as if it’s just happening, like there is no me and the painting as separate things, it’s like one dance. It’s such an incredible blessing to be part of.
Certainly, I’m sure many musicians as well as writers or rock climbers, surfers etc. can relate to this. In a sense, I view my work as visual music. Take a look a Coltrane on his sax or Hendrix on the guitar, they aren’t acting in a deliberate or considered manner, instead, something is coming through them. For me it’s the same with visual art.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Do you love them because of their skill or the leaning of their aesthetic? Often times I find myself being attracted to art based on the energy or mood it conveys much more than an analysis of how it was made. That said, it can happen that way too!
I adore Hunertwasser, Kandinski, Picasso, Miro, Hockney, Van Gogh, Kahlo, Matisse (especially his later work) and many more. But then even with these artists there is some of their stuff I loath. Sometimes I think artists are too prolific and would be better off only showing their captivating work. I love some tribal art from all around the world, perhaps African Masks especially so. Certain rock art and cave art from indigenous people around the world I have found incredibly moving. I’m also a massive fan of some of the American abstract expressionist movement. De Kooning, Gorky, Frankenthaler etc.
However, as much as there are artists I adore, I don’t spend much time at all looking at other artists work these days. I used to when I was younger.
For me art is all about the energy and mood it evokes. I don’t really have any interest in how something was made as I have generally just evolved my own way of doing things. Having said that, I would say the work of my Dad and David Hockney inspired me to embark upon the journey of digital drawing.
I’d loved my Dad’s digital work for years and seeing the David Hockney show where he featured many digital drawings late last year tipped me over the edge to try the medium myself. I thought Hockney’s digital drawings were actually significantly more inspiring than his paintings. So fresh, effervescent and original; they really spoke to my heart.
In years gone by, much of the digital work I’d seen I found to be quite predictable and cliche. The problem wasn’t the medium but the fact that the artists weren’t doing it for me.
I was skeptical of digital art. This is quite ironic given that a large proportion of the music I love has been created with the aid of computers for many years.
I now view new media as just another medium as valid as more traditional mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, lithographs, etc.
How do you feel about colour? You use a ton of it, clearly!
Yes, indeed. I adore every colour. I have at times started a piece with the intention of trying to use fewer colours or to stick to one hue, but then I feel like a kid in a lolly shop and can’t resist the temptation of all these exquisite colours just begging to be used.
To me colour evokes a profound spiritual response. The more one plays with colour and pays close attention to colour the more it becomes very obvious how each colour vibrates at a totally different frequency. The same can be said for sound of course. Colours like sounds are vibrations of energy that we use our consciousness to interpret into the experience of various colours and sounds. I’m not sure it’s possible to not find that endlessly fascinating!
What other artists making work currently are among your favourites?
I love some of what Frank Stella is doing. Particularly some of his sculptural work of late. As I said I like some of Hockney’s stuff. My favourite work by him are probably his paintings from the ‘Mulholland Drive” era and that of his current digital drawings. He’s an inspiring innovator.
I love a lot of what my Dad (Marc Tremayne) does, he creates highly original and refreshing work.
There is a Spanish artist who’s listed on Instagram as ‘Boldtron’ who’s currently making some really impressive sculptural work.
I also get a lot from certain Indigenous Australian work, especially from the Western Desert region. I love how art for these artists is a purely spiritual expression. The same can absolutely be said for me.
Do you ever wonder what you’d be doing if you hadn’t become an artist?
I do. Traditionally I’ve always just said I’d be a film maker but I’m not big on collaboration so I’m not sure how that would work!
Maybe working with plants in some capacity. I feel there are many enlightened masters in the plant kingdom and they make up for some of my greatest inspiration.
The deeper I go into my art the more I realize that this journey is without bounds. At times this can be infuriating because I feel I just want to “get there,” but in truth, it’s what makes it so incredibly beautiful. There is no getting anywhere, in art or in life.
Absolutely. If you could go to one place on earth, where would it be and why?
The Australian outback, I’ve been there and the energy is so powerful I’m quite certain the universe is playing some kind of joke on us. I’m very eager to return. That and northern India.
Thanks for your time, Paris. It’s been awesome chatting.