Artists Series – 1 – The Monthly interviews musician and artist Paul Archer – Part 2 – A connection between music and painting

Is there connection between how you make music and how you paint?

I think there is a complete symbiosis between the two. Music exists to me in a field of sound and I feel the same way about art.

When I made the first Burning Codes album, my brother was arguing with me about using cans (headphones) and the approach of making sure that all the instruments were isolated in specific tracks, whereas I wanted the sounds to bleed into each other. I feel the same way regarding the production of visual art. I spread the colours over the canvas, I create a colourfield and then I move the paint around with a stick, and that occurs until the paint starts to coalesce into a pattern.

You have already spoken a little about your experiences regarding being exposed to abstract expressionist. Who would you be your influences?

I adore the Rothkos and the Pollocks. There is something special about standing in front of those giant Pollock paintings, what you see when you are close up versus what you see and experience when you stand far back from those paintings. But Barnett Newman is the influence on my work. Whatever it was that touched me deeply when I saw his work all those years ago, whatever it was, that is what sticks with me.

Having said that, I think I do have my own approach. When I am making music I don’t start with a particular set of chords, say E, G, D. That isn’t the way I work. It is much more creating a field of sound and then working in and around that. I need to make dissonance, coming at it from a much more experimental, instinctive angle.

You mentioned the idea of brokenness. Is that an idea that you wish to explore through your paintings?

I think so. I think there is a journey. You have instinct, you have the moment, you have acrylic paints which are so vibrant. As you start to pull the paint, you are feeling out a process, trying to work out what colours should go where, how they should be expressed or connected with each other. Taking steps back, looking at the work and trying to gauge what needs to go where and how the colours need to be represented on the canvas. And all through that process you are investigating that sense of brokenness.

Where to now?

Initially I put these painting up on Facebook because I wanted people to see another side of the work I was involved with and the thoughts I wanted to express. People started asking me if the work was for sale, and most of those early paintings have sold.

I am going to keep working and hopefully we, myself and my father, can organise an exhibition next year. Whatever happens I want it to be experiential and that people can get something from the paintings in the same way I hope people get something from the music I create.

If you would like to see more of Paul Archer’s work see the links below.

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.