Paul Alexander Thornton

I came across English artist Paul Alexander Thornton's artwork a while ago and was instantly drawn into the beautiful colours and photo-realist approach to his pieces. Intrigued to find out more, I read that most of his pieces were created using ball-point pens and was amazed at the depth achieved using a medium that we use so casually every day. Intrigued to find out more about how Paul achieved such effects, what his fascination with skulls was and where his other creative talents lay, I emailed him with questions and was happy to receive a responding email...

1. How and when did you become interested in drawing?
'I have been drawing all my life, as far back as I can remember. I think this is due to the fact my Mum was an art teacher so she always encouraged me to draw, paint and things like that.'

2. What is it about ballpoint pens and felt-tips that make you like to use them?
'What I love about ballpoint pens is the way the end product looks, I really love the way the lines show up. When used properly I really think ballpoint pens are one of the greatest tools for drawing. They are very versatile, and they also force you to draw in a particular way building up layers which gives the shading a lot of depth in the end. Felt-tips are OK, I'm not as crazy about them as I am ballpoint pens but there are some amazing uses of felt-tips. They are best when they are running out of ink, the faded appearance on the paper is very interesting. I really love to use coffee stain and watercolours when adding colour, marker pens are good too for drawing on the back of the page and letting it bleed through.'

3. What has been your most favourite piece of yours so far?
'This is very hard for me to answer. I really don't know. I have made so much work already in my life, I can't even remember all of them. If a piece of work is successful then I feel it has its place in my body of work and ultimately they all compliment each other.'

4. What is it about skulls?
'Skulls are very interesting to me, not just for their symbolism but also because they are complex. Drawing them is a lot of fun.'

5. Have you studied art at any point in your life?
'Yes. I studied art GCSE at school, I took art AS level at college and then moved onto studying Art Foundation, again at college. Later I went to University in London where I studied Surface Pattern Design.'

6. Who and what has influenced you?
'Aphex Twin, David Hockney, Tupac Shakur, Leonard Da Vinci, Picasso, Modigliani, Thom Hooper, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Ludovico Einaudi... all sorts of people ranging from musicians to painters, fashion designers and tattoo artists. I suppose everything you see/hear just goes into a big melting pot of inspiration and later on ideas come out. I like to just go with the flow and see how my work evolves and changes, and it makes sense that different outside influences will always be steering me in one direction or another, but it's not always easy to pinpoint the exact causes for ideas.'

7. Apart from art, what are some of your other interests?
'I write and play guitar, most the videos of my work are soundtracked by my own guitar pieces (click here). I also like designing clothes, furniture, wallpaper.'

From Paul's life-like skulls, flowers and birds it's no wonder that his plans for the future include more sculpture work! I really look forward to seeing more of his wonderful creations. If you have not already liked his facebook page click here and check out many more of his pieces!

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