RVCA ANP artists Paul Senyol and Wesley van Eeden have a new exhibition up at A Word of Art gallery in the Woodstock Industrial Centre in Cape Town. The show will be running until the 25th May which features 9 new works from both artists as well as a limited edition Shirt, Print and zine supported by RVCA. Inside the zine is a one on one interview between the artists who chat about the exhibition, skateboarding and their creative process. Today we share Paul’s interview in the zine and we’ll feature Wesley’s next week.


1. Who is Paul Senyol and why are you an artist?

Paul Senyol was born on 25 October 1980; I have been drawing since I was first given a pencil. Never really gave it much thought to become an artist full-time, until my mid-twenties. There was a definite day that I decided to become a painter, but even before that I was intrigued by process, building things, experimenting, making fires, beauty and adventure. In a way I explore those primarily through the medium of painting, or whatever else is at hand to execute an idea. I really enjoy making beautiful things.


2. Looking at your work that you did from a young age, I can see how you have evolved, yet I can still see your style in it. Is there any direct influence to your aesthetic and style that you have created for yourself?

Within my work, a lot of the time aesthetic drives me, how something looks and feels, shapes, colour, form, lines, and emotion are all very important to me. When I first started to recognise that I do actually like to draw and paint, my works were very much only line based, simple one-colour drawings. Then I discovered paint (without brushes), I could do more things now that I had color. Then came brushes, then I started to combine the pens, pencils and paints, and that is where I really started to enjoy myself, because each medium has a specific feel and texture, and so as I combine mediums and layers, I go on a bit of an adventure with colour and shape and form and line weight, etc. So in a way, as I am working on new paintings, I like to consider what I have learnt as a painter, but to still explore and push myself to create an artwork that was better than the previous one. I am constantly refining, and redefining my pre-process, process and final outcome of an artwork. I do also like to break out of my traditional process and do something a little different, usually from something small that I found attractive within a previous work. From spending time with you in Finland, you will remember that for the first month I didn’t even paint, I wanted to go into the studio and discover something fresh, so I spent a lot of time in the library, researching artists and Designers and people from the area, immersing myself in the culture, taking long bike rides and immersing myself in the landscape, discovering. Sometimes I would just trace and trace and trace, draw, draw, draw, and through that I started to discover new processes, approaches and avenues within my work. For that first month I worked almost exclusively with black acrylic paint, pencils, trace paper and white folio. Experimentation and exploration are key to my work.


3. What drives you to continue working at such a prolific rate? Do you have a manifesto or a message that you trying to get out?

I wouldn’t say that I have some manifesto or message that I am pushing, but I do know that I feel stale and stagnant if I am not pursuing something creative. Even if it means taking a break from painting for a week and exploring being creative on a surfboard, skateboard, bicycle, or going to see other art shows, or browsing the local Woodstock gang Graffiti scrawls. I am starting to realise that God put something in me that causes me to create and to be drawn to creativity and beautiful things, and I just can’t escape that. It is who I am in a way. Although it doesn’t define me, it is very much a natural part of who I am as a person. So it finds its way out of me in daily life in some way. Sometimes it’s just preparing a nice meal.. the flavours, colors, and presentation.


4. What does Transformative bring to your attention, and how have you interpreted the title for this 2 person show?

Our society and life is in a constant state of transformation, life itself is naturally transformative. In my approach to the exhibition, and the works, I took a closer look at the fabric of my everyday life, and more so to those around me. I looked at walls, people, streets, trash, trees, and birds and I looked around for interesting ways to convey this feeling of transformation in and around Woodstock. I tried to become an observer, but that can only take place for a short time until you start to become involved and a part of the transformation process. One day I picked up a small notebook, full of children’s drawings, notes and scrawls, most of the work references this small book at some point. Having a studio in Woodstock, and spending a lot of time there, I started to realise that a lot of what I am seeing and experiencing won’t really exist in the next 5 years. People will move out and onward, new people will come and stay. Lives will change. Kids will grow up. Also that there were many, many people who came before me, and will still come after me. It fascinates me to think that a few blocks from our studio is beach road, and that once upon a time you could walk a few minutes and dip your feet in the ocean. In a way I wish that was still true.
My favourite works for the show are ‘the butcher’, ‘the baker’ and ‘the candlestick maker’. In these works I try to convey the transience of local producers and craftsmen. All around Woodstock you see so much decay and poverty and people in really bad situations, but there are glimpses of hope and promise. I was inspired by the following text:

Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.


5. Tell us something about Wesley van Eeden?

Wesley van Eeden is a thoughtful and kind-hearted man, gentle and patient. A very creative individual. Taller than me. Married. A dad. A thinker. One of my favourite collaborators. A true friend who knows that love and sacrifice are the same thing.


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