Artists work in many forms of media and use varied materials. One of the most unusual–yet fascinating–mediums of artwork is that which is created by use of holograms. Art with holographic effects are not commonplace but they certainly make an impact; this is something Paul Roustan knows well.
Paul Roustan is primarily a body painter and photographer based in Los Angeles. Paul earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master’s from Rhode Island School of Design. For over 10 years Paul has worked as an award-winning body artist who has garnered global acclaim. His work has been featured in countless galleries, magazines, newspapers and books. In fact, his work has even appeared on TV including Playboy, Airbrush Action, DIG Boston, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Providence Journal, Spike TV, Skin Wars, and Univision. Now, Paul has started incorporating his art in holographic forms. Recently, this Examiner had the opportunity to speak with Paul about his experiences as an artist:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How and when did you decide to become an artist?
Paul Roustan (P.R.): I’m not sure I ever decided to become an artist. It chose me. I’ve been drawing my entire life.
M.M.: Growing up, which artists and styles interested you?
P.R.: In my youth, I was drawn to the works of Dr. Seuss, J Scott Campbell, Bill Watterson, and more. I’m still a fan of all of them, of course. In my late teens and 20s, I became obsessed with Stanley Kubrick, Sebastian Kruger, Ralph Steadman, Sorayama, Helmut Newton…far too many to name. All in all, I was most keen on the various renderings of the human form, and the techniques these great masters offered.
M.M.: How would you describe your work and what inspires it?
P.R.: My work is an obsession. I have an insuppressible need to explore. Sometimes a location or idea is my inspiration, other times, it’s just the person I am painting. I often disregard rationality and consequence in order to achieve the idea in my mind. It ain’t right.
M.M.: How did you get interested in working with holography and how did you get involved with the Holocenter?
P.R.: During my time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, it was clear early on, that I had a knack for holography. I worked my way up from staff to Faculty and Manager of the Holography Lab. It wasn’t until 2010 that I realized the idea of combining the two mediums, body painting and holography. When I finally produced the hologram ‘Purity’, Martina Mrongovius, director of the Center for Holographic Arts spotted the work at the Fountain Art Fair in New York City. From there, I simply asked if she’d be interested in displaying a copy for her collection.
M.M.: How did you go about getting your work shown publicly?
P.R.: My first exhibitions were a result of being personally invited. I guess someone had an interest in my work and wanted others to see it. Since then, I’ve shown at over 30 galleries, and have work in over 180 private collections.
M.M.: Do you have a favorite piece? If so, which one and why?
P.R.: First and foremost is my recently published book, unofficially titled, “Heart and Soul,” because that’s exactly what it is, my heart and soul, a collection of all my work over the last ten years. It is probably my greatest achievement. You can see that work here.
M.M.: Are there any mediums and/or styles that you haven’t worked with yet but hope to soon?
P.R.: I imagine there are hundreds to thousands of mediums and styles I haven’t explored. I discover them as I need them, and enjoy tackling the challenges they present.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding experience involving being an artist?
P.R.: The most rewarding thing is accomplishing the feats that many people told me I couldn’t.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an artist?
P.R.: Being an artist is psychological warfare. Be prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride that comes along with it. If you expect success, you’ll need to hustle relentlessly. Your work may consume your mind 24 hours a day. But the reward is priceless. Learn about business and entrepreneurship early on. It’s what’ll separate you from the starvers.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
P.R.: Along with several new series’ of work involving the ocean, I’ve set up many unique outlets for my book to be on display. It’s niche subject has afforded me the ability to promote it in original ways like on the waiting tables of barber shops and salons, or high end trendy and independent clothing shops. I’m excited about doing it different. It has been very well received with a high wow factor.
* * * * *
To learn more about Paul Roustan visit his official website, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.