Posted: 07.23.13/12:29

Creative Conversations: Paul Windle + Lori Damiano:

Illustrator Paul Windle (YGX)  talks to artist/skateboard columnist Lori Damiano about getting concussions and making space for art to be fun!

This Creative Conversation is brought to you by the YGX Annual. Check it out

Lori Damiano: Do you find that you don’t have as much time now that you’ve moved to New York? 

Paul Windle: Yes, I don’t have that much time. Now I have been kind of realizing a lot of it is a perceived idea that I don’t have that much time. Everyone here is so busy and everything is so busy that you always feel like you are in hurry and trying to get a million things done. Regardless if that’s true or not. It’s really busy and people are really ambitious and it’s just not like Texas. So a lot the time I will be really busy, and a lot of the time I will tell myself I am really busy. I don’t make as much stuff for myself since I’ve moved out here, which I am working on changing. 

Lori: Okay. Do you skateboard or did you? 

Paul: I did. I don’t so much anymore. I don’t really have a skateboard right now. I have hurt myself so many times and I am kind of afraid of falling on my hands. I woke up in the hospital once, and I had no idea why I was there, I had no recollection. 

Lori: What!?! 

Paul: And they told me I had been skateboarding through the streets or something. I had a concussion and they didn’t know what happened. Someone called 911 and didn’t stick around. So they thought someone nearly hit me and I fell on my head. I was going to get a haircut. So I woke up with a fresh haircut. The last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital was sitting down in a barber chair. But I used to work in a skate shop and there were down times when I would flip through magazines and see your column. 

I started college taking architecture. I would look around and I would notice how bummed everyone else seemed to be, and the professors didn’t seem terribly excited. 

One day when I was in the elevator going to class I was thinking about being at work in the skate shop and looking at all the graphics and looking through magazines and seeing your illustration work and Ed Templeton’s work. And it made me think about how people get to draw awesome, fun, high energy, colorful, and exciting graphics and it’s their adult job. So I hit the down button and left. I went to the Art building that day and changed my major to Art. I tried to go into print making at first, but they didn’t let me. So I was a graphic designer major. We didn’t have illustration. 

Lori: Wow! That’s amazing. That’s really cool! I just always liked to draw as a kid but I came to art through skateboarding too because when I was like nine, I overheard my mother talking to her cousin. Her cousin’s daughter had a friend who was a skateboarder that would bring all these gifts over. He used to bring all this things that he made. So in my mind you had to become a skateboarder in order to be that type of person. 

Then later on I actually found out who that guy was. And he worked at Girl Skateboard Company. He grew up in a town next to where I grew up. And I got to tell him he was the reason why I made all these choices in my life. 

Paul: Yes, I always thought skateboarders were more creative. And more community oriented almost. Everybody else would stay home and play video games, but if you skateboarded you could go on cool adventures and find weird areas in town and stuff like that. I was never really any good at it though. 

Lori: Me neither. But I think what you are saying about reclaiming your days and making space for making art to be fun again, I want to do that too. 

Paul: Your work is so narrative-based and it almost seems like you are walking in on the middle of something going on and I feel I am inspired by that. Some of my work is similar but where do those ideas come from? Do you have stories you sort of created in your head that you are making visual picture for? 

Lori: Yesterday I was riding my bike home from work. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that some of these kids were drawing on the sidewalk. And then I looked at what they were drawing and it was a hop scotch. And they were numbering every square and they were up to eighty-eight. And I was like “wow! That’s the longest hop scotch I have ever seen.” And they said:” we think we can get to two hundred.” So for me, even though it was just a subtle little thing, something about having a glimpse into… I don’t know… Sometimes when I sit down and I start drawing. I have maybe a character in mind or a setting in mind. Sometimes it is sort of a game to see what unfolds. I think it’s all coming from observation. At some point, it is sort of collaging different observations together maybe. 

Paul: Everyone in your paintings seems like they are journeying. Not in all the paintings, but in a lot of the paintings. I really like them. 

Lori: Thanks. I think I like the idea of self-importance. I guess we’re all living in these bodies so of course we are motivated to push our particular bodies around and take care of whatever business we think is important that day. I love that everyone you see walking does so with such purpose. And it doesn’t matter what the task is. I just really like people. 

Paul: So what made you get into animating? 

Lori: I just wanted to learn how to do it. I tried to do it on my own. But I didn’t know anything about it, so I went for it. And I drew for six months and then I shot it on film. I drove the film to Burbank and slept in my car and got it processed and drove back before I even saw it. I didn’t know that people tested animations. So I worked on it for so long and I painted cells because that was I thought you had to do. I could have probably done it digitally if I had known about it. Then I liked it. It was really interesting to see the drawings move and I wanted to know how to do it properly. I also wanted to have an actual special skill. 

So I went back to school, but I never expected to think of myself as an animator or anything, because in my mind animation was like Disney and commercial feature-length animation. I never was really super into that stuff. I went to Cal Arts for a three year animation grad program that just really opened up my eyes. So I accidentally became an animator. I never meant to. 

Paul: What keeps you motivated? What makes you want to continue animating and drawing and stuff? 

Lori: I think it’s just getting ideas. I want to see what that would be like you know? To kind of see, what would that look like? That thing you thought of… Right now I work with teenagers in the summertime and they are so great. Every time I get to work with them I’m just so psyched to go home and make stuff because they combine things in ways that I have never seen and I have been working there a long time now and I have been teaching the same kind of project and every single year they come to it with their own spin on it and they combine techniques in a new way or… just the ideas that they come up with are really cool and so when I get home I just want to be like those guys. They are so open to just going for it. 

I have been working on this big film for a long time that has got me in a strong hold and I haven’t been able to really play with much else, because this one thing is not done. And it’s always hanging there waiting to be worked on. But it’s just about wanting to see the idea in a physical representation, like with the paintings too or.. like I got an idea from something I saw the other day while I was driving and now I really want to paint it. I don’t know what it is with these moments that just sort of strike you and assert themselves and then there are other things that you would never think of painting. So there is definitely something special going on there. 

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