Paul Aldous was born in Broomfield Road, Swanscombe, but has since travelled somewhat and lived in various locations before returning home twelve years ago.
The artist initially moved back to take care of his elderly mother but has stayed for the community feel. CommunityAd had the pleasure of chatting with Paul Aldous about local life and his amazing artwork.
What makes it such a pleasant community to be a part of and an inspiring one for artists such as yourself?
When I was younger I found the area very inspiring due to the variety of life going on here, from my parents working in local factories, the little steam trains that we called ‘Puffers’ that pulled chalk through the quarries to the ships moored, and fishing for eels in the Thames, the woods, the marsh. Swanscombe still has some that edginess, which I like, the people are terrific, it really has that local village community feel to it and the legacy of industry. Being creative I look for the best in everything, the edginess keeps me realistic and makes me want to achieve more from my art and to impress. Friends and neighbours here certainly tell me their thoughts on my work, and I’m always looking for approval from them.
For those readers unaware you’re an artist who creates stunning portraits, could you tell us a little about what inspires those?
I am very fortunate as a lot of artists struggle to paint portraits but I love it, I learn so much from each one I do. It’s the person’s character that I like to capture, the twinkle in the eye or the familiar smile. I now paint in oil so that really allows me to bring out the character of a person’s face. I call my portrait paintings ‘Memory Paintings’ as quite often I have to recreate that special moment in time or remembering a lost one. The reaction I get from the person who has commissioned the painting is my biggest inspiration, and I am delighted to say they are always ‘happy’ tears.
As well as these portraits of people, the odd pet and animal also urge you to get the paint out, don’t they?
That’s a funny question, I painted Tom Hardy and his horse up close from a TV show called Taboo, I then got a call asking if I can paint dogs? Well, I thought if I can paint a horse I’ll give it a go, since then I have been commissioned to do quite a few dog portraits, one recently in Adelaide and a donkey portrait in New Zealand. I’m currently working on a Greetings Card series that will include ducks, pigs, donkeys, goats and even a few meerkats!
How did you spend these lockdowns? Some artists that I’ve spoken to have struggled to create while others have been prolific, where do you stand?
I was lucky, I had been working as a Graphic Designer and the work dried up overnight. I had been working on the odd commission occasionally but now was the time to really reach out with my art and get serious about it. I got a call from Barney Walsh, Bradley Walsh’s son to commission me to paint his father’s surprise 60th birthday present, it was a scene from their TV series Breaking Dad, which I did, I got a bit of promotion from this and I began to get more commissions. Since then I have been very busy, in between the commissions I am painting my own work for my own exhibition.
I’ve quizzed a lot of creative people over the last 12 months and a lot of them have been advocates of ‘trying something creative’ be it painting, drawing, even building something as a sort of therapy and antidote to these modern times, would you suggest readers try something creative?
Yes, definitely, this is the best time to do it, and trying something ‘creative’ is very therapeutic. I got a call from a friend the other day and he told me he had just written his first book, two weeks before that he was so low with lockdown, work and family issues. Just do it, try it, have fun and make mistakes, it’s half the fun. Don’t compare yourself with others, don’t worry about what people think, their opinion doesn’t matter.