Great article in the Phoenix New Times today about my friend, artist Paul Wilson!
Paul’s presence in college classes in the 80s, and scenic art jobs thru the 80s and 90s, made a lot of those things so much more fun. In some cases there were jobs from hell and then, he made them bearable! There were days my face hurt from laughing.
There are few times in life I’ve met anyone who shared my weird sense of humor or just ‘clicked’ with. In those years of college and art industry day jobs it was often Paul I was giggling with over some absurd thing. He was one of the rare people with whom I could really open the door and let the creatures out.
The above photo is of Paul and I, (and a guy named Tim, whom we’ve long lost touch with so I pixelated his face because of permissions and all that), on an impromptu camping trip in probably our last year of college, so around 1985 or 86. We just decided to go on a road trip, totally unprepared and ended up eating truck stop junk snacks and sleeping on the ground in some completely dark patch of desert, where we were basically lost until the sun came up and we could see roads again. I can’t believe we weren’t stung by scorpions! In those days I’d never seen one so didn’t think about such things. Another case of laughing til our faces hurt, we had fun doing what would be considered extremely uncomfortable under any other circumstances. I remember that shirt, it was once black and said “Real Good Art” or some such thing.
I believe it was the year we graduated that we had a two person show at a leather shop/gallery in Tempe that’s no longer there. It was on Mill Ave not far from the Valley Art Theater, where BTW Paul once showed a collection of his amazing films and parodies. We titled our show “Buy it!” to kind of make fun at consumerism, which the New Times article mentions as a factor he has spoofed before. I don’t remember what paintings either of us had in it in much entirety but I think Paul was into Parker Stevenson then, maybe he showed the amazing colored pencil drawing of Parker watching a horror show on TV and eating popcorn out of a large stainless steel bowl. The execution was flawless, right down to the reflections on the bowl and individual hairs on Parker, if I recall. We also served junk food, Twinkies probably. And, I am not sure, but don’t think we sold a thing. I know I didn’t. Glad to say that situation has improved by now.
When my husband Brian and I moved away from Phoenix in the late 90’s Paul and I kept in touch, mailing each other senseless and often tasteless cartoons and stories. When we returned to Phoenix in 2009 I was not at all surprised to see Paul going strong with his unique brand of art. It was good to see him having solo shows and an an exhibit in the Phoenix Art Museum. His events were always packed for good reason. And he always had so many things going on I could never keep up! I really enjoyed the artist’s statement at his Lee Harvey Oswald themed show at Willo North a couple of years ago, that explained how the fantasy was ‘what if’ Oswald had been a teen heart throb instead of an alleged assassin. Who else could turn that into a positive? More recently he had a solo show at R. Pela themed partially on Oswald but also toasters. I became a collector and now own a couple of small pieces of Paul’s, a “Lee” image on toast, and a photo of Paul dressed as Rod Serling of the Night Gallery TV show. Of course, somewhere in unpacked boxes from many moves, are the cartoons and such, too.
Like the author of the article, I’m amazed at the range of characters Paul can play, and how well he plays them. I’m a big fan of the “Kimbles,” especially “Carol-ann.”
Despite having known Paul for decades now, he’s so productive I have probably only seen a fraction of his work. He continues to surprise, amuse, and amaze me.
I’m glad to see him getting this coverage!Congrat’s Paul!
Tour de Farce, the faux, fake and fabulous art of Paul Wilson, by Kathleen Vanesian, Phoenix New Times, Thursday, 7 Aug. 2014: