Digital Arts

16 Awe-inspiring Visual Imagery by Paul Henderson (Rise Design Studio)


What inspires and motivates you to create an image?

Tough question as I think that can vary quite a bit on any given day. But more often then not I would say what inspires me is the work of other artists… and what motivates me is the creative process itself. We live in an interesting time where we have immediate access to so much incredible creative work… I feel as though now more than ever, someone’s art can barely be categorized as an individual creation. Consciously or sub consciously we are all taking in unfathomable amounts of information and imagery everyday. Our art and our creative expressions cannot help but be affected and impacted by that significantly. I often think so much of what I create really isn’t an expression of myself, but more an expression of the collective. I am just channeling everything I have taken in over the years… and through the creative process attempting in some mysterious way to unpack it. That brings me to the second part of this question and the subject of motivation. The creative process for me is an incredibly exciting engagement and a point of motivation in and of itself, because I never know what I am going to get. Even when I do go into a project or piece with an extremely specific end goal in mind (which is rare), it always takes an unforeseen turn somewhere, and it is truly a rare occasion when I come up with anything even remotely resembles my initial ideas. This is extremely motivating because it makes creating something such a mystical and mysterious act. You engage with a subject, vision, feeling, or archetype you want to express in some way and through just the simple act of attempting to do so you encounter all kinds of interesting problems, trials, dilemmas, choices, decisions, and solutions along the way. And in the end its the choices you make that give your art its own character and its own particular style. This is really what makes art and the process of creating so gratifying to me.


You incorporate elements in your work that pertains to the ancient and sacred that in viewing your work, one cannot help but have a feeling of purity. Why do you explore such aesthetic?

Well, how exactly someone interprets my work and the content within it I can’t really comment much on. But I can say that I employ a lot of sacred and ancient elements from various cultures in my art because they are a huge part of my cosmological worldview and artistic philosophy. Therefore they provide somewhat of a visual vocabulary for me to speak through. Without getting too in depth regarding the nature of my beliefs, I will also say I think the sacred,by definition, is something that is sorely missing from our modern world view. And for me, as someone who has spent a lot time pouring over and studying ancient texts, religions, and spiritual philosophies, I find that ancient cultures are really the only viable resources we have left to learn such things from. Ancient and particularly native cultures lived by a set of sociological guiding principles and priorities much different then our own. And in my opinion lived in a much more natural and balanced fashion. So if I can, I try to employ and utilize elements in my work which bring them back into our modern consciousness in an interesting and engaging way.


How did you develop your style?

Always a tough question for an artist… I think of course that part of this cultivation is conscious but a much greater part is not. Perhaps this is where I consider myself lucky to have started down my path as an artist later in life. I already had so much rich, detailed, and vivid imagery which carried so much deep meaning for me, that my own expression could only come as a direct result of my affection for it. If there is a sacred, or as you say “pure,” aspect to my work that comes across it is without a doubt due to my years of saturation in sacred and ancient religious cultures and their arts. There are pieces of art from these cultures which I love because they resonate with images or psychological mind spaces I have experienced or envisioned… and for this reason I choose to move my technical artistic abilities in such a direction. As I mentioned I am an avid student of art history as well, so when I see the work of a particular master that truly resonates with me on a deeper level I gravitate towards it. I then examine what really touches me about this particular visionary… is it their use of lighting or the quality of their light… is it there sense of composition or their color palette… is it their treatment of a particular subject or their technical stylistic tendencies? All these things when asked over and over again through the years start to build up a visual framework and set of preferences which you then digest and in turn express more and more naturally through your own work as time goes on.

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