Norwich based artist Paul Garrard is currently revelling in all the wonders that modern technology has to offer. Describing himself as a digital artist, using a graphics tablet and illustration software to create most of his designs, Paul has joined the ranks of artists abandoning the traditional means of producing ‘art’ and has taken up his digital paintbrush.

Although some art traditionalists may turn their noses up at the use of modern technology, Paul is more than happy to exploit new mediums. He explains that it’s ‘more efficient, easier’ and there’s ‘so much you can do with it’. Paul isn’t nostalgic about conventional ways of making art and disagrees with purists who disapprove of experimenting with 21st century technology, in fact he’s pretty sure ‘da Vinci would have used digital’ had he been given the opportunity.

Influenced by artists such as political cartoonist Ken Sprague, and latterly conceptual installation artist Jeremy Deller, Paul’s work delivers statements on modern politics and society with a cutting satirical edge. With pieces concentrating on a range of issues from the war in Syria to worldwide gender inequality, Paul’s work aims to deliver a message to the audience, ‘if one person’s attitude has been changed that’s all to the good’.

Rebellion against the elitist art world is one of the main reasons why at the age of 60, Paul has decided to exhibit his work for the first time. By sharing his work, or ‘experiments’ as he likes to call them, with the public he hopes to demonstrate that anyone can be an artist. He declares there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ art. Art, in his eyes, is something we should experience on our own terms. No artistic elite should be dictating to us what art we should and should not enjoy, and what we should be paying to enjoy it. Paul is a fan of street art and free art movements (such as Free Art Friday and art abandonment projects) that allow everyone to be exposed to the variety of creativity the world has to offer. ‘Art needs to be democratised’ he says with the exasperation of a man who has been feeling this way for decades. Art ‘should be all around us’ not just hidden away in the homes of the wealthy few.

It’s this idea, that art should surround us, which fuels Paul’s creative process. His work is designed to be mass produced, echoing the large scale creation of fanzines and posters throughout the Punk era. In particular he has decided to produce his own ‘cash’ in protest against attributing monetary value to art. Paul has been leaving his million pound paper notes in places across the country ‘as an experiment in found art’, and has invited others to partake by requesting their own free wad of cash from him. In this act he hopes to demonstrate that money and art are both just concepts. Both only have value ‘if you believe’ they do, ‘the minute you stop believing it’s all worthless’.

Annie Harrison - April 2016

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© Paul Garrard 2013 - 2017