Art is about forging connections; connections between places, cultures, ideas, between the past, present and future and most importantly between people.
In all the public art that I create I begin with the question – “How can this art generate a greater sense of community in this place?” I love the power of art to strengthen the social and emotional importance of a place. Art can transform a physical location into a connection between people. This connection helps people to identify with each other and helps facilitate community growth.
Public art should create a sense of ownership in the viewer. Just as the art in your home helps to make that place meaningful to you, public art can inspire investment in your community. It can help to define “your neighbourhood” and “your city”. Art can lift up a community and energize the spirit of the individuals within it.
My hope is that my art will become part of the community identity and woven into the fabric of individuals’ lives.
Paul was born in Calgary, Alberta on April 25, 1974. At the age of six, his family moved to the picturesque community of Crawford Bay, British Columbia. Growing up surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Kootenay region’s mountains and lakes instilled in Paul, a love of nature that inspires much of his art to this day.
At the age of 15, Paul began his blacksmithing apprenticeship at the Kootenay Forge under the mentorship of John Smith. When Paul was 20 years old, he became the head blacksmith at Fort Steele Heritage Town, just outside of Cranbrook, BC. In 2001, at the age of 26, Paul began his own blacksmithing business with six employees.
Today, Paul lives with his wife and two children in Cranbrook. Family and community involvement are the most important elements of Paul’s life. Through his early public art projects he was able to facilitate substantial positive changes in the way that people in Cranbrook relate to their community and to each other. He has since, been able to bring that same spirit of community building with public art projects to many other cities.