#Artist Paul Brandejs is best-known for his stylish canvas artwork that turns the very canvases that he works on into abstract shapes of various dimensions. Paul was born in 1954 in Czechoslovakia--a country that is now known as the Czech Republic--and immigrated to Canada in 1967 with his family. Paul has practiced graphic

Paul has practiced graphic design and painted in his graphic studio for over fifteen years, but he has been focusing more on his fine arts career as of recent. His unique artwork has garnered him much acclaim, and due to exhibitions at showcases like New York’s ArtExpo, his creations have become popular in the American market.

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Paul recently discusses his #Art, his unique canvases, and more in an exclusive #Interview.

Interests in painting and canvases

Blasting News (BN): What inspired you to embrace art and what gave you the idea to shape canvases?

Paul Brandeis (PB): From the time I can remember, I was always creating things with my hands. I would build models, carve wood, sketched, glued rocks to create animal sculptures even scratched designs on boiled eggs in onions skins for Easter as my grandfather used to do. After we had emigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia when I was fifteen years old, my parents enrolled me in a six-weak beginner painting summer course in Banff School of Fine Arts. That was my first introduction to painting under a fabulous artist and a teacher, Ilda

After we emigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia when I was fifteen years old, my parents enrolled me in a six-weak beginner painting summer course in Banff School of Fine Arts.

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That was my first introduction to painting under a fabulous artist and a teacher, Ilda Lubane. That summer I won a scholarship and for the next three years, I have returned to study under Ilda and managed to receive a scholarship each summer. So, my summers from 1969 to 1972 were spent in Banff painting.

As to how the shape canvases happened. I did not have much money while at Banff and since Ilda Lubane showed us how to build our own stretchers I went out and bought a small hand saw and started building my own stretchers. Well sometimes I didn’t get the corners quite 90°, so they were slightly off. Then I realized that the only reasons that most paintings are square or a rectangle is that if you buy stretchers from a store that that is the only shape they offer. So, since I made my own stretchers then I was only limited by my own imagination. That started me on the road of making my stretchers different shapes and even three-dimensional constructs.

Then I realized that the only reasons that most paintings are square or a rectangle is that if you buy stretchers from a store that that is the only shape they offer.

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So, since I made my own stretchers then I was only limited by my own imagination. That started me on the road of making my stretchers different shapes and even three-dimensional constructs.

BN: What is the process of shaping the canvases like and how many shapes have you created overall?

PB: I build my own stretcher frames so I can do any shape and am limited only by how far I can push the canvas to do what I would like to do. I blend realism with abstraction using photography to create the realism and acrylic paint for abstraction.

My aim is to blend these two mediums seamlessly so that the viewer has to consciously work on separating the two media. I would take a photo and then paint the impression of what I have shot on location. Later on, in my studio, I would print the photo and blend it with the painted portion. The shape of the painting develops during this process; as the photography, the painting, and the remembered atmosphere where the photo and the painting originated speak to me.

Since my paintings are modular, I can go to virtually any size. But the smallest work I can comfortably create is about 10 x 10 inches. As far as how big I can go depends on the space I would be working to fill and the limitation of the space I’m working in.

Experiences and exhibitions

BN: Do you have any favorite pieces and/or mediums of choice?

PB: My favorite media is acrylic. I have worked with acrylic since I was fifteen years of age. Of course, acrylic on canvas since love to work with canvas and see how far I can push it, and now combining it with photography. My favorite pieces changes as I create new paintings and progress in my technique. But I guess that my long-time favorite painting is from 1975 called “Show Bird”.

BN: What is the most rewarding thing about being an artist for what advice can you offer to people who are aspiring to become professional creators too?

PB: The most rewarding thing about being an artist is when I finish a painting and it is what I have set out to create. When I look at the finished painting and it just works although by all rights it should not, because the two media are radically different, then I know I have succeeded. As I start working on a painting I have and image in my mind to start with. But as I work on it things change and I have to adapt and struggle through the process.

Of course, there are “mistakes” that happen because what I originally envisioned is not quite happening. Those mistakes to me are opportunities to progress to something new. You have to be open to new things and discoveries which include exhibitions. If you become myopic and insist on strictly what you envisioned at the start then you will not progress or grow in your art. I’m always looking for something new; no matter how small.

BN: What is next for you and what do you think are the ultimate possibilities for shaped canvases?

PB: At the moment, I’m working on a technique that will allow me to print my photography onto a painted canvas. Up to now, I have been able to print and paint on canvas made for printing but this new technique will allow me to bring photography onto my painted canvas. This will allow me to integrate realism and abstraction even more tightly and make the separation more intriguing. As far as possibilities for shaped canvas, only my imagination is the limit.