• About a Guy: Paul Koneazny

    Philadelphia artist Paul Koneazny was kind enough to let us invade his Fishtown apartment for our newest men's photo shoot. Packed with original art and works-in-progress, the space (which he shares with his girlfriend, fellow artist Jamie Felton) was the perfect setting, and we left feeling inspired by Paul's refreshing outlook on art, music and his approach to creating pieces. On a break from shooting, we sat down with Paul to talk about the creative life. 
    Photography by Mark Peckmezian



    What's your process like for creating a new piece?

    Most of the ones here I've been working on a long time. I like to keep a painting going as long as I can to have as many edits with it as possible. The way I look at it, all of the work I make can be opened back up again.

    How long is a "long time" for you?

    Well, I have been working on some of these for over three or four years [Laughs]. It doesn't look like four years worth of work, does it?



    It's great that you're able to remain interested in and actively inclined to work on the same project for that long. That means you're in the right place.

    I don't know if I always want to work like that. I envy people who can move from one piece to the next and knock things out, but I feel like after a certain amount of time, the me that started the piece is in a different frame of mind, so it becomes a collaboration with yourself, gives it more range than was originally possible.

    Do you ever have a show or display pieces publicly and then get them back and revise them after that point?
    If it's in my possession I will change it. It's too hard to resist! My sister has one of my pieces, and it's no different: either she needs to finish it or I do. I'm really not sure what that's about! I'd like if a light show came down over me and said, 'This is done,' or something, but I feel like there's always a way to improve something.





    What are you working toward right now?
    I feel like I'm at the end of a period of tunnel-vision painting. Just working. Most of these will probably wrap up at the same time; I'm gradually building it all up so that most of these will get sewn up in the same day or two.



    You experiment a lot with medium — can you talk about how fabric and experimental "canvases" play into your work?

    A lot of my paintings start with a more specific grounding that I leave peeking through in a way that communicates with the piece. That element is a starting point, then I find ways to show how that functions in an opposite way. Any move made or material or style that goes in there has to show opposite purposes. Also, it's just an odd technique to have a rug or carpet soak up paint. This [points to art piece] was originally a blanket from a thrift store. That [another painting] was a Mickey Mouse bed sheet, and I tried to take as much information as I could to try to make it something else.

    So they're all playing with the idea of art versus art-objects, and the line between those things?
    Yeah, most of these start to go toward the realm of objects. I guess that's what the found fabric is about. I haven't stepped too far into sculpture, but these are all augmented toward sculpture or environment.



    You mentioned earlier that music plays a big part in the work you make. Tell us more about that.
    I listen to music all the time in general, but I think when I am painting well, the album will end and I'm still painting and I don't realize that the music is off. I think I steal a lot of devices and strategies from musicians as well as visual artists.

    Can you cite any specific examples?
    Like drum and bass, which is about sensory overload but there still also being a steady rhythm that keeps you from being off-put by it. When I look at certain pieces I sort of hear that playing.



    Do you have that same connection with any other art mediums?
    I look at images on the Internet all the time as a way to just soak up imagery, but I never really look at that while I'm working—just before or after. As I'm doing it, I never realize it's art-related; I just need to absorb it. 



    See more of Paul's artwork here

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