Interview with Paul Chisholm

Paul was a student at Metàfora during the Academic Year 2010-2011. It has been a pleasure see his work develop since. Soon, he will be opening a solo show at The Art Fund Prize Gallery, The Lightbox Museum, Woking, Surrey, England.

We asked about his experience on the Metàfora Studio Arts Program, his professionalising process, and of course, about the exhibition taking place between the 7th to 19th November.

What do you remember about your stay at Metàfora, and in Barcelona?

I remember it being the most magical of years. A chance to dedicate oneself fully to their practice, exploring new avenues, directions all under the umbrella of a critical discourse with like-minded artists from across the Globe many of whom are still best friends. Barcelona has a certain vibe and a buzz which reflected deeply in the work I created during that time.

In what ways has your experience at Metàfora helped you become the artist you are today?

At the time of applying to Metàfora I was considering a Masters in London. However I desperately wanted to get out of the rat race which is London and explore Europe. Metàfora really consolidated my practice to which it is today combining painting and conceptual sculpture. The course allowed time for experimentation, trying ideas out and ultimately I made several of my most iconic pieces whilst on the course. The course offered something which I don’t think many U.K colleges can offer…a truly international perspective, a highly conceptual approach and with a lot of 121 tuition and the chance to learn about Art therapy too!

How has your art developed since?

Since leaving Metàfora I lived a few years in Palma de Mallorca where I had an exhibition at Waka. Unfortunately in 2013 I moved back to London but eventually enrolled on an MA at Chelsea College of Arts in 2018. This really supercharged my practice in so many ways, connections, opportunities and a deep re-think of my practice. I now regularly dontate my work to the Terrence Higgins Trust annual Auction at Christies, London where my work has sold for double digits in aid of the charity. I have given talks on my practice in relation to Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool and all sorts of great great platforms which as a young artist at Metàfora I could only dream of. Never give up on your dreams keep creating, exhibiting and applying for things and even when no one else will give you an opportunity make one for your Art! I now live just outside of London in the countryside where I have a large studio subsided by the local council. This enables me to push boundaries in my practice, experiment and dream of sunny days in Barcelona! Art is a journey enjoy it!

(above) Mc Whimsical (below) Screw You, Virus Face

What is your upcoming exhibition about?

My exhibition is entitled The Lost Boys and mostly reflects upon the Aids & HIV epidemic both personal and political. The exhibition will include works made at Metàfora to the present day. This is my first solo Museum show. Which is so exciting! This body of work has been in my mind’s eye for many many years and will survey my practice surrounding these issues. In fact, as an alumni of Metàfora I was lucky enough to be invited back to do a talk on Arts Activism and the Aids Crisis in 2012. This gave me the chance to consolidate and present my research to a new cohort of Metàfora students… What a great opportunity Jette gave me! This area of research has fuelled my practice ever since…. These professional opportunities Metàfora gave me are the foundation for wanting to go on to do a PHD!

How did it happen? Can you expand on your professionalisation process?

My upcoming show is funded via a Developing your artistic practice grant by The Arts Council England plus grants from The Oppenhiem Johns Downes Trust and Visual Aids In New York. Applying for Arts grants is so important in being able to make the work you envision and see it exhibited and get things off the ground. Wherever you are based in the World there are Artist grants you can apply too which will with perseverance make your ideas a reality. Just remember rejection is a part of the process and never give up! It took me eight long years to get ‘Mc Whimsical’ a work I made and created at Metàfora off the ground in Barcelona and at the time it was a small scale installation eventually in 2019 I exhibited 101 creatures from the work in a Gallery in Hoxton U.K. Think big never give up… Dreams can, and do come true…