PaperMonster at Wheatpaste Art Collective
PaperMonster is a stencil-graffiti artist whose vivid and intricate pieces explore the beauty behind the eyes and subtle facial expressions of women. Each of his paintings contains textures and collages that touch on the motifs of love, anger, and interpersonal challenges. PaperMonster combines pop culture icons, Asian typography, and various textures to present a vibrant final product. His stencil-art pieces can be appreciated at face value or explored more deeply.
Wheatpaste Art Collective: What got you started marking art?
PaperMonster: I actually started drawing and making art by accident. I would draw this cartoon character on all of my notebooks and then one day I wanted to make it faster and quicker and on any surface so I made a stencil. I took a giant knife and cut into a thick piece of cardboard. It took me an entire day to make that first stencil. I loved how it turned out and then went on to make bigger and more detailed stencils. Fast forward to me having the chance to visit London and Paris and that is where everything clicked. From then on I never looked back. The more practice the better and cleaner and more beautiful my pieces became and I am excited to see what happens next.
WP: What draws you to the women in your art? Are they representational of specific women or conceptual?
PM: Each woman in my pieces has her own story. There are themes of fear, love, anger, and power. I leave the concept open for interpretation. There is a lot of art out there that is very simple. For example you see a painting of a horse and that’s it just a horse. In my pieces there is so much more to explore. Dig and dig until you get lost.
WP: Love it or hate it, you’re a Jersey boy. What inspires you about where you live?
Jersey is great! In general, the East Coast is so diverse with such a huge variety of people living in close proximity to each other. All walks of life come together for a single purpose. This concept is inspiring and pushes me to incorporated pieces into my paintings from all cultures whether they are Japanese letters, foreign money, paper from Tibet, comic or symbols they each bring a new dimension to my work.
WP: If you could collaborate with any artist (living or dead), who would it be and why?
PM: I have two. Murakami and Kaws. The reason is that these two artists are doing things unlike anyone else right now. The scale. The production. The execution of pieces whether they are giant sculptures or paintings there is something unique to them and to this time in the art world. I would love to see where I fit in…..Also Os Gemeos because they are the purest form of creativity so that makes it a total of three artists.
WP: We spotted a few of your umbrellas at Comic Con last year and loved them. Do you have any plans to work on more 3-D objects?
PM: Yes! Currently things are getting off the ground into some new projects branching off from the umbrellas. I love taking my pieces and putting them on objects which are functional and can have a real purpose in people’s lives. Most recently someone suggested I should make a baby clothing line. Strange but interesting.
WP: You use a lot of stencils in your work. What do you like about working with them?
PM: There is a fine line with using stencils. You either go photorealistic or simple. Too much seems too much like you spent your time trying to recreate a photo and too little gives the impression that you are lazy. I try to fall in between by using stencils in a way where it is simple yet you create something beautiful. The technique can be picked up by any person, young or old, and this is what makes it so wonderful to use. The potential for using this skill in turning anything you see into a stencil is almost like having a super power.
WP: What’s on your playlist right now?
PM: Right now I constantly have a station from the I Heart Radio APP station: 101.7 Boston. It literally plays some of the best music I have ever heard. It is amazing to listen to and get motivated to paint or create. Totally need to hear it if you download the app.
WP: What do you have planned for 2013?
PM: 2013 is the year of new ideas. I have been spending the past three years putting together about 50+ concepts for new paintings and techniques that I want to try for a new series of works. Once I have finished all of the commission pieces that I have on schedule now it will be time to unleash those ideas into some fresh pieces of canvas. I cant wait!!!