Rising UK artist and our very own Talenthouse Artist, Paul Robinson aka LUAP has continued to find artistic success with his signature pink bear. Since our last interview with him over a year ago, Robinson's career has risen leaps and bounds, from small exhibits to collaborating with TV stars and showcasing his work in the Andipa Gallery in London. A huge milestone for any artist. Robinson took some time out of his busy schedule to let us know more about his new exhibit “The Hero’s Journey” at Andipa (open until August 6th, go check it out), his future plans and advice for artists trying to get their work into galleries.
TH: How does it feel to have your latest work, “The Hero’s Journey,” displayed in The Andipa Gallery? A gallery that has showcased the works of artists like Banksy, Andy Warhol and Picasso.
PR: It feels pretty amazing to have my work hung on the same white walls as these famous iconic names, everyone has heard of Banksy and Picasso. It’s like walking in a valley of giants. What makes the opening even more special is that a year ago to the day, I was sat in the restaurant opposite (feeling tipsy and high on life having just left a champagne reception at the V&A and had a first kiss on a first date). I was talking about how I'd love to have my work in a gallery like Andipa one day as we sat watching people through the restaurant window attending the private view in the sun. 365 days later my work is in the gallery and I've achieved a major stepping stone in my art career.
TH: What lasting impression do you aim to have on your audience?
PR: I want people to walk away from the exhibition with a huge smile on their face. The Pink Bear series is inspired by a happy and positive childhood memory, I use that energy as a vehicle to explore my more complex and darker times as an adult. By shining light on these thoughts it helps me move forward and look for better times. Not all the paintings in the series are about finding happiness, the painting "With You, I Am No Longer Alone" which is off a beach scene in the Hamptons is the one of a few paintings in the series which is inspired by a very positive period of my life, when I was in a loving relationship (the one that started outside Andipa in July 2015). This feeling was reflected in the bear no longer being a solo figure, he was now immersed in a group of happy people enjoying a day out and some drinks. It was positive to hear people talk about this painting at the opening and how they could relate to this image very closely.
TH: Do you plan on having more exhibitions in other locations anytime soon?
PR: I'd like to work on some large scale public walls around the world. I feel this would make my work and ideas much more accessible to everyone. So less traditional ways of showing and creating my artwork. I'm not quite sure how to go about getting this commissioned at the moment, so it's something I'd like to get some tips on myself. If anyone knows of any large walls needing some Pink Bear love, please get in touch.
TH: What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring artists who also want to showcase their work in a gallery?
PR: The one piece of advice I’d give is to make sure you show your work in as many places as possible. Never be snobbish about where you show your work as you never know who will see it. Andipa spotted my work hanging in the Thompson Belgraves Hotel. But I've also made connections showing my work in a pop up exhibitions, one was in a closed down Chinese restaurant basement... I’ve also made connections and sales having my work in night clubs and showing it in art fairs. The list goes on. Just keep going and never give up if being an artist is really what you want to do with your life. Always promote yourself, if you don't, no one else will want to.
TH: Since the last time we spoke to you, have you gotten the chance to create any new murals or collaborate with any notable artists?
PR: I haven't collaborated with any artists this year, but I have collaborated with reality TV star Louise Thompson at the Michelin star restaurant Sketch in Mayfair for a photoshoot. I had a team of 50 people including, fashion models, life models, glamour models, DJ’s, artists, special effect make up artists, costumed characters and the Pink Bear. I created a large painting based on one of the photos I took of Louise which is on display at Andipa as part of "The Hero's Journey" exhibition. I'm yet to show the photos from the shoot as I haven't found the right magazine. But they are pretty risqué! and quite weird. Louise was totally professional, even when posing next to fully naked male life models. It was my most stressful shoot to date as we only had a few hours and the staff started freaking out about all the nudity. But there are some amazing shots I'm dying to show! The Pink Bear was also in Cara Delevingne best mates music video "Down and Dirty." That was pretty cool as it was quite a surreal video.
TH: What is the most important thing you have learned throughout your growth as an artist over the years?
PR: Make sure you balance life with making your art. I know so many artists that have forsaken living a full life at the cost of making their art. It's such a difficult career choice as it usually means working a full time job to financially support your passion. This doesn't leave much spare time for anything else outside of work and art. Art materials also cost a vast amount of money which again can also mean missing out on valuable life experiences which is where other people spend their money. When I was in my 20's I was so focused on doing my art it cost me a lot of close relationships as I never made time for people. Now I try to achieve balance as I don't want to get to my death bed and feel I've missed out on life and put all my eggs into one basket.