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'EVERY ARTIST WAS FIRST AN AMATEUR'
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It wasn’t the usual career trajectory for a kid growing up during The Troubles in a housing estate on the outskirts of Derry, in the west of Northern Ireland, but I always wanted to be an artist.
Aged eleven, I was desperate to show my family and friends that this was much more than a daydream, so I reached for the breakfast cereal. (Back then there was always a free gift buried in your breakfast flakes or a competition on the pack). On one particularly fortuitous morning I found a national art challenge inviting young people to paint their home town. I entered a colourful poster paint interpretation of my neighbourhood and carried off first prize.
Fuelled by the win, not to mention energised by the Corn Flakes, I entered the Kelloggs Young Artist Competition the next year too and my design for the car of the future also won the national contest.
The publicity which surrounded the awards meant that my school and the grownups in my life now took my ambition seriously. I took it seriously too and I was seldom to be found without pencils, paint or charcoal.
After A levels, I launched into my university years, trying my hand in various art disciplines such as sculpture, painting, life drawing, ceramics, product design, illustration and graphic design and revelling in being in a creative environment. Graduating with a BA Honours degree in Graphic Design from what is now Ulster University, I started my career as a graphic designer. Today I own and run my own graphic design business, balancing its demands with my passion for fine art.
I paint mainly in oils, although I do play around with other media such as charcoal, conte, pencil and watercolour. Looking over my gallery today I seem to have been preoccupied recently with portraiture, but I am currently exploring the many possibilities that still life creates and I enjoy painting the Irish landscapes which are so important to me.
Every blank canvas or page is filled with possibilities, but that rectangle of white can also feel scary. As the great artist Henri Matisse said, 'Creativity takes courage'."
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© 2019. PAUL PORTER, All Rights Reserved.