An Interview With Andy Paciorek
Mysterious Britain & Ireland is happy to feature work from a number of talented contributors. When we were contacted by Andy Paciorek, a graphic artist who draws much of his inspiration from folklore and myths we were thrilled to hear that he wanted to contribute some of his fantastic pieces of work. In this, the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews with our various contributors , I took the time to find out a little bit more about Andy, his work and his influences.
Andy how would you describe your art?
[img_assist|nid=1985|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=143|height=200]I wouldn’t know how to precisely. I’m wary of pigeonholes and manifestos and basically just do my own thing so I guess I don’t fit in particularly with any contemporary art movement as such. Mentally / spiritually if not specifically visually or methodically, I feel I generally relate more to the work of past artists ~ to the golden age of illustration, the dark romantics such as Blake and Fuseli, to Victorian faerie artists such as Dadd and Fitzgerald, to the Symbolists and Decadents like Gustave Moreau, Jean Delville, Carlos Schwabe etc. and later to Alfred Kubin and Nicholas Kalmakoff. But my art tastes are far wider and there are many many more artists both ancient and modern that I do admire, though whose work has little or no connection to my own.
I suppose therefore that my work could perhaps be described as peripheral. Something I strive for in most of my work is an essence that I think of as ‘beautiful~grotesque’, an exploration of the liminal states and edges of uncertainty where opposites mingle and blend, either in single pieces or across a series of works.
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
I’ve always drawn as long as I can remember. It was probably comics that first inspired me to put pen to paper. First the British funny comics especially the works of Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale, then onto 2000AD and Marvel comics. Universal and Hammer horror films, the Ray Harryhausen special effects movies, the TV series Monkey and Doctor Who were also very influential on my childhood mind, as was a book I received as a birthday present as a kid entitled Mysteries of the Unknown: Monsters, Ghosts and UFOs. I’ve still got it.
[img_assist|nid=1987|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=143|height=200]Do you have a favourite subject or theme?
My work currently splits into two categories – the first is themed by what touches and intrigues me and generally deals with subjects alluding to myth, folklore, paranormal experience, fairy tales, dreamlike-states, and the threshold between nature and super-nature.
The second is manifested in ‘Stegorek’ my collaboration project with Lancastrian artist Adolf Steg. Here I often address things which alarm or irritate me about the ‘everyday’ world – political, social and environmental injustice, shallow celebrity culture etc. As a reaction or perhaps even a cathartic coping mechanism, these things are ingested, totally chewed up and spat out in a mutated form. Visually Stegorek is rawer and more vibrant than my other work (and of course is also shaped by Steg and other occasional guest artists) but for my part is expression of another aspect of my psyche.
(Stegorek work can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stegorek )
What are your favourite mediums to work with?
For my otherworldly, dream-state and quirky themed work I generally seem to revert to ink drawing, sometimes with watercolour or digital tinting.
For Stegorek, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, photo-montage, collage and ink drawing are frequently utilised.
Briefly describe your working process.
Intense, absorbed, frequently rapid.
If you had to save, in an emergency, any one work of art or art related object from your house what would it be?
[img_assist|nid=1943|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=141|height=200]Obviously all other living organisms helped to escape first, but art related material hmm..I don’t know .. I suppose practically speaking, it would probably need to be my own original works or a memory stick with copies on, as they would be the things that I couldn’t replace. But although I try not to be materialistic, I’d be gutted to see my collection of books especially and other eclectic ephemera burn. Hope it never happens! I’d probably go up in smoke too, stood there trying to decide what to rescue.
What are you working on currently?
A personal project entitled Chimaera, but rather than rendering the classic descriptions of mythic beasts, I have sought out animals whose taxonomic names are derived from the mythic beasts and used them as a basis for creating new monsters. The original inspiration for a work of this name came from reading of how after his death, the artist Gustave Moreau left behind a wealth of unfinished pictures collectively entitled Chimaera. Visually though my Chimaera will differ considerably form the amazing visions of Moreau, but hopefully will contain at least some of their strange power.
What are your goals for the future as an artist?
To improve, to remain inspired, motivated and to enjoy.
Also to gain more commissions for appropriate books and projects, with a fair financial return and heightened profile wouldn’t go amiss.
Has your work been published and if so, where?
[img_assist|nid=1946|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=143|height=200]The easiest work to find would be the material I’ve illustrated for HarperCollins – The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews, The Element Encyclopedia of Birthdays by Theresa Cheung and the forthcoming Element Encyclopedia of Vampires also by Theresa Cheung and due for release in October 2009. It is the vampire encyclopedia where I was given most free-rein creatively and produced what I feel to be my best work for these titles. All of these titles are available from Amazon, Waterstones etc.
Some inexpensive titles that I have worked upon (The Batcow Bestiary. Blip. Taciturn. Man. Paragraph) may be purchased from the stanzine section of http://www.pumf.net . These works are fun experiments collaborating with the artist and musician pStan Batcow.
I have produced both visual and literal work for various magazines, smaller publication house books, mail-art fanzines etc. but most of these are not that easily available now. I have also produced many personal small press chap-books containing collections of my work and collaborations with other artists and writers. They are currently out of print due to production costs, but if contacted then special limited editions may be obtained. In future perhaps print runs may again occur and they may be obtained more easily and cheaply, who knows?
Where can we see more of your work and how can you be contacted?
A large series of my work pertaining to the subject of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon folklore and myth can be seen on the website http://www.batcow.co.uk/strangelands
A wider selection of my other works can be seen in the various albums on my Facebook art page (you do not need to have a facebook account to view these) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andy-Paciorek/14386376951
Stegorek collaborative works can be seen at http://flickr.com/photos/stegorek
I may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
but also easily through Facebook and Mysterious Britain & Ireland.
The pieces of Andy’s work currently on Mysterious Britain & Ireland can be seen in our Gallery.