About Paul Cummings
A willingness to push my work to destruction and to experiment with materials. Finding the point where a piece of work is finished, where it has fulfilled or surpassed expectation sometimes means destroying work. This is inseparable from experimentation. Whilst printmaking at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle I developed a unique etching process which I entitled ‘corrosion printing’. Not being interested in repetition, I allowed steel to stain the paper or canvas producing a mono-print everytime.
Being a former street artist I am self taught using pastel, but as a graduate and post- graduate I seldom used them. In 2007 I rediscovered my passion for pastel, and my previously unaware talent for portraiture. My previous experience in abstraction helped me produce convincing representations through my mark making and use of colour.
Through the concept of portraiture, I subvert it’s traditions to capture the enigma of my subjects, depicting a reality, a chequered past and exposing the contradictions between public persona and private life. Working from people around me I try to capture their personality. With celebrities I have to capture their public image. I remove elements, reducing down to an essence as part of my search for the raw element or signifier; the gesture that captures the recognizable persona, like a motif or packaging of a product. For example, John Lydon’s scowl and Ron Wood’s arrogance at being rock and roll royalty.
I continue working further with the concept of atrophy and the corrosion of traditional perceptions of beauty.