Paper Bou is an online paper and lifestyle boutique; where original and unique designs, products and collections by emerging designer Chantel Schott are showcased. Stories are shared and like-minded creatives featured to inspire and excite through art, illustration and design. On the 31th of May I was featured. There are a lot more interesting articles on Chantel’s website.
Pop Art Sparks Positivity
Ed Schimmel is an award-winning Pop Artist based in Brighton; he has a love of nature and making the everyday into something vibrant and extraordinary. He exhibits regularly, sells prints from his website and is a part of his local arts community.
You’re a “Pop Artist”, what does that mean and how long have you been working on your craft?
I like being a Pop Artist, because it gives me the opportunity to make quirky things. It is much more fun to make Pop Art than it is to make traditional paintings. I do this for three years now. In the past I have made cartoons for a short period of time. That is still visible in some of my current work.
The idea behind Pop Art was that everyday objects can be beautiful too and can be used as inspiration for an artwork. An artwork didn’t need to have a deeper meaning to be considered art.
Nowadays cartoony, colorful art is also classified as Pop Art. Using cartoon characters in art gives me extra pleasure. When I am working on a cartoon character and at certain point it comes alive and greets me, that is magical. I still feel a strong connection with my cartoon characters.
How did you discover your niche in this style?
It was a bit of a journey, which started three years ago. In the beginning I made prints with landscapes and nature. The beauty of nature gave me a lot of inspiration. At a certain point I wanted to develop my drawing skills further and I challenged myself to make prints with people in it.
At the end of 2016 I had a few prints with people in it, two prints with cubic animals and another one with text in it. Reading some books about Pop Art sparked me to re-do some of my earlier prints. All the elements came together: people, texts and Pop Art.
I added some texts and without really realizing I created a series. It is inspired by Lichtenstein’s work, but the difference is that my texts change the meaning of the work a lot more. The texts make the viewer experience something that is actually not in the work itself.
Other works that I nowadays classify as Pop Art is my Cubes series. They are colorful, cartoony prints, which most of the people would classify as Pop Art. For me that is the main reason to do that as well, I don’t want to complicate things. This series grew over time. It started with an idea to do cubic birds and it expanded to cubic animals and cats.
I have high expectations of this series. It can be used in so many ways. As an example, I have printed some of them on shirts.
Where are you based and how do you immerse yourself in the community/culture?
In 2013 we moved from The Netherlands to Australia. After a month in Scarborough we moved to Brighton, where we still live. Here I joined an art society to meet new friends. It is a friendly group of people who enjoy making art. As there are a lot of competitions and exhibitions throughout the year we meet regularly
What are your artistic goals this year?
One of my goals is to do more commissions. I expect that it will also give me the opportunity to work on a larger format and with different materials.
Last year I have spent a lot of time on marketing, but my focus has to be on making art. So, another goal is to make more artworks than I did last year.
How do you stay motivated and what gives your work strength?
My most important motivation is the joy that I have in doing it. I also have a strong believe that some of my work can appeal to a large public. That also stimulates me to continue.
Every now and then I get somewhat discouraged, but as soon as I sell a print, get selected for an award I get new energy to continue.
What does success mean to you?
I would feel successful as soon as I am able to make a living by selling my art or graphic designs. But even without that I experience success when people buy my art or tell me that they like it. Not so long ago I was waiting in a queue to order my dinner and two little girls came to me to tell me that they really liked my art. I was a bit overwhelmed, but it is an experience that I will remember, probably the rest of my life.
3 things you cannot live without?
Firstly, I would be really unhappy if I would have to live without my wife. I met Anita 17 years ago and she completes my live in every aspect. I really do love her.
Secondly, I need an escape to nature nearby. I could not live happily in a big city without any possibility to escape it easily.
And thirdly, freedom. It would be really difficult for me to live in a country where people are locked away or worse for having a different opinion or values.
You’ve been an award-winner and finalist since 2016, how has this changed how your audience views/interacts with your work and has it created positive change?
I think that people don’t treat me differently because I won an award or became a finalist. Being selected or winning an award is mainly a positive change for me. It gives me renewed energy to keep on making art. It proves me that I am not the only one who believes in my work.
Is there a routine you follow when creating your work?
In general I don’t need much time to find a subject. At the moment I have about four ideas for new prints, but I don’t have the time to work them out immediately. That is not really a problem, because it works as a filter. It gives me the time to overthink the work and decide whether or not I want to continue with it. I always take into account that the chosen subject also needs to be interesting for other people. I scrap initial ideas that contain a negative feeling or message. It is not because I don’t want to picture that, but I believe that not many people like to have a drawing on the wall that has a negative vibe.
Once I start working on it I make some sketches and play around with the composition and colors. This is the most important phase. Once I am happy with the composition I make an inked version. I scan the inked version and use my computer to add the colors and make corrections. Even at this phase I reject work which is still not interesting enough for others or myself. Depending on the drawing it takes me more or less time to make it a nice print.
Some of the prints end up as painting. For most artists the prints are a copy of the painting. My paintings are often a product of a design that was meant to become a print.