Today we are going to feature Paul Henderson, the owner and head designer for Rise Design Studio. His background in philosophy, religious studies and psychology is evident in his work as he creates pieces with stunning details and imagery. Let this interview take you on a visual journey as we talk about Paul’s inspirations and work process.
Interview with Paul Henderson
You have such an amazing array of digital artwork. Have you always been into the arts?
Oddly enough, no. Although I always had an appreciation for the arts, my own artistic expression did not begin until very late in my development. Age 25 to be exact. My main academic interest and point of strength had always been writing, but half way through my 20’s I underwent some pretty heavy transformational experiences. These experiences were incredibly difficult and resulted in a lot of chaos in my life. Luckily looking back, I can see they had a silver lining as they really were the catalyst to my artistic passion and expression. The gravity of much of the material I encountered just simply couldn’t be expressed with mere words, so the visual arts became somewhat of a saving grace for me.
What were your artistic influences growing up?
I grew up in Southern California, so many of my first encounters with art and design as an adolescent came through the extreme sports world, and the punk music scene. I remember really digging on all the crazy skate and surf style graphics, as well as so many of the band promos and album covers. That appreciation eventually developed into a fascination with underground art of all types from tattoos and hot rod graphics to a lot of the low brow and pop surreal gallery art that was coming out of LA in the mid to late 90’s. I have quite a few friends that are tattoo artists and they were huge influence on me when the time came to actually try my hand at some creative work. Many of my first drawings and sketches were of tattoo flash books they gave me! As time went on though my artistic tastes and preferences evolved, transformed, and adapted to my social environments and circles. In college I was a philosophy and religious studies major, so naturally I got into ancient art and artifacts and non-western art. Eventually this would turn into a love and true academic passion for classical art and oil painting, which is where my main interests lie today.
What is a typical day like for you?
This is an interesting question, as I don’t have too many typical days! Although as a freelancer I hope this is somewhat understandable 🙂 I am a night person so I generally wake up around 11am. Much to my chagrin I immediately fire out of bed and dig into emails and phone messages. Which as you can imagine have likely piled up by this time of day! I handle all my immediate points of contact and then get some food in my stomach. After this I sit down for a bit of meditation. Generally I would also throw a work out in here, but for the time being I am in a bit of a transitional phase as far as locale, so I am letting my body go to crap while I focus on nothing but work! Hence the remainder of the day is spent taking calls, writing emails, and sending contracts, amidst a host of other boring type admin tasks. In between all this nonsense I try to throw in what little actual creative work I can, until the evening rolls around everyone else gets off of work and I can get down to the good stuff. I generally do all my actual design and art work in the evening and at night, and try to wrap up the client work around 11 or midnight so I can spend the next few hours riffing on personal stuff. I try to paint for a couple hours every day, but if I don’t have the energy I plop my butt down and work on some digital stuff just to keep the creative gears engaged. I hit the sack around 3am and prepare to do it all over again the next day! In my spare time, if I have any, I try to hit art openings, museums, and bookstores where I can soak as much more art as possible. So more or less if I am not doing art, talking about art, reading about art, or learning about art I am probably asleep.
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