The explosive artist. Paul Oz is a British portrait artist and sculptor celebrating icons of popular culture and sport.
In the last few years I’ve created commissioned work for Instituto Ayrton Senna, The RPA, Team Sky, Jenson Button, Max Chilton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Theo Paphitis, James Hunts family, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Red Bull, Pirelli, Jake Humphrey, Wretch32 and JLS’s Aston among others…. and partnered with galleries, charitable organisations, leading rights holders and motorsport teams worldwide.
Around 12 years ago when browsing galleries for something bright to adorn the walls of a plain white new build flat and saying ‘I could do that….’ has turned out to be a seminal Oz moment. The ensuing experiments with a 4 pack of acrylics, and quickly rediscovered skill of making a subjectively attractive looking mess, has for sure been a turning point. Painting at weekends as a break from software brand development, my first solo show was in 2008, and I thought I was balancing things pretty well. However…. since focusing on painting full time early 2009, its all gone a little nuts….
I was alright at school if I remember correctly, being able to replicate Monet’s style reasonably, draw pretty realistically in pencil, and won a prize for something as a wee sprog. But – thankfully to be honest – I was persuaded to follow a more academic route. As it panned out, that meant that 15 years later when I started throwing paint around the initially spotless kitchen, that I could practice, learn and develop my style un-pressured – to gradually build up to the sole focus it’s become now, of being my passion and livelihood all in one.
I’m perhaps not a textbook artist – my entire aim is for visual impact, to capture characters in a unique way that blows your socks off and to illicit a response something along the lines of ‘woooohhhhaaa!’. The beauty of creating portraits is that each one could mean absolutely everything or nothing at all to you….. but everyone has an idol, mentor, someone they’re a massive fan of or indeed love… its an absolute honour to be asked to immortalise them all in paint.
I strive for the impression of explosive energy, movement, expression and the maximum in 3D effect when I paint – several techniques combining for the end result. Every one is around 2cm thick oils in places (yes, I get through a fair amount of the stuff) and pretty large scale, usually on board for a completely flat background so that the texture of the subject really comes out at you. I’m fascinated with how perceptions change with distance – the biggest unintentional compliment I’ve had was that my work looks like porridge close up. Awesome!
I love the challenge of painting, especially tricky commissions when I’m asked to paint an image perhaps I wouldn’t have chosen myself. I’m naturally competitive, I guess from my background in sport – and for sure a big part of the enjoyment for me is constantly having to re-think, battling to bring a piece alive. I love the PR and networking side of things just as much – and why to date, I manage that side of things myself.
A lifelong sportsman… many of my ‘eureka moments’ come on hours deep in thought out on the bike. Others from the oft completely random brainstorming over dinner with the Mrs, Ashley. There’s no such thing as a crazy idea any more…..
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