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Paul Beel

Paul Beel


Preferred Medium: 
oil on fine linen
charcoal and white conte on rad paper
Preferred Style: 
My style is a unique mix of marks and processes which straddle the boreder between realism and the surreal.
Describe the extent of your talent as an artist: 
At times I feel I have unlimitted artistic powers, and at others I feel absolutely worthless. That balance keeps me from falling into a picasso-like hubris, and that internal pessimistic critic drives me to tear apart work I've done until I reach that point where a painting does absolutely everything I want it to do. As for formal recognition of my talent, I point to the recent award from the National Portrait Gallery, the resulting project and one hour documentary, and the four color catalogs that have been published on my work.
When did you first describe yourself as an artist?: 
I was first described as an artist when I was about 7. I had drawn a self portrait and a little girl saw it in class and exclaimed " you're an Artist!" I demurely responded "no", but in my mind added, "not yet." But her reaction made me feel special, and that fueled my fire.
Describe your early memories of your emerging talent as an artist?: 
In nursery school I painted a self portrait as a park ranger, (my intended profession as a four year old), and went on to draw two portraits of Daniel Boone, after which my father, perhaps with some apprehension, recognised my talent as an artist. After that I was always involved in some sort of artistic after school activity, a ceramics class, drawing classes, and I began studying oil paintng at the age of 10. Also as a ten year old, I sold my first works (a drawing of the Millenium Falcon at Cloud City and a snow speeder), for 10 cents a piece. As puberty neared, my best friend and I made a special bike journey to an abandoned school yard where my first nude was furtively drawn while hiding inside a tire-tube tunnel. Always the one to be called when a Halloween party needed decoration, or a homecoming float needed a designer, I had an unchallenged status as class artist until I encountered my first real competition in Middle school. My rival,Tuan Pham, was a talented cartoonist who drew a rather inulting picture of our mutually despised math teacher (poor woman). Not to be outdone, I made my own, equally abusive picture, and both he and I were found out. I suppose he must have won the contest, as he was suspended where I was merely put in detention for a week. During the parental meeting with the school's vice principal, the man did admit that artistically, it was pretty good. I sometimes wonder if he still has that sketch.
Formal Training: 
MFA, painting, Bowling Green State University, OH, 1996.
Baccalaureate study, SACI, Florence, Italy 1993-4.
BFA, 2D studies, BGSU, OH, 1993
Informal Training: 
study of Portraiture with Bill Kufahl, Westlake OH, 1988-90
Other influences: 
Over the years I've gathered influence from many sources. Early in formal training I was enamored with the the Italian Rennaissance masters,also Rembrandt, Carravaggio, J.S. Copley, Bierstadt, and Bellows. As a Junior and senior I was following cues from contemporary american painters such Alfred Leslie and Jack Beal, James Valerio. And then I turned back to Rembrandt, and also utilized compositions similar to Pearlstein and Bacon, while a new awareness of Freud convinced me to return to working from live sitters as I had done whilst study portraiture ten years before. And since...I've isolated myself, purposely not looking at others work to give myself the time to find how I want to do it. I believe I've found that now, and so am enjoying my time in London looking at everything I possibly can.
Admired Artists: 
Role of figurative art: 
That's for a critic to write about. I paint.
Other Interests: 
I like to ski and dance until 4 am, and am an obsesseive reader, mostly novels.
A one line summation of your relationship to art: 
Its hard to see myself being fully me if I'm not making art.