by Catherine Peters September 20, 2022
Leaving summer can sometimes mean leaving colour behind, so this month we have artist Joel Poole bringing the vibrancy and enough colour to see us through to the autumn!
Based in Sandbach, Cheshire, Joel uses a combination of traditional signwriting, street art and graphic design onto old, unloved pieces of furniture and paintings, transforming them using bright colours and typography into bold, one off statement pieces of art under his business name Populuxe.
Q: Can you tell us about your Artistic background/education?
I’ve always made art since I was small, I used to draw and paint constantly as a child. I don’t really have any formal education as such, I did do A-level Art and a BTEC Foundation in Art and Design but it wasn’t very inspirational and I never took it any further, and I didn’t’ really do anything for a long time after that. I started to paint on and off again about 12/13 years ago, but it was just a hobby and when we had kids I stopped again for a long time.
Q. How has your creative journey evolved over the last 10 years?
Quite significantly, 10 years ago I was an Estate Agent. Then in 2015 I lost my job and subsequently started a business buying and selling vintage furniture and homewares. About 3 years ago that evolved into painting furniture, and around the same time I had re-discovered lettering, which was something I loved doing when I was younger. The lettering started to filter into my work and it just kind of evolved from there. I never plan anything, I just tend to follow my gut and experiment. Some things work out and some things don’t, but there’s always a lesson to be learnt.
Q. Who or What are your Influences? Inspirations?
The first artist I truly fell in love with was Roy Lichtenstein. I just love the concept of a human being making something that looks like it’s been made by a machine, and that whole philosophy is something I try to apply to my own work. It’s hard to list influences, there’s so many people I admire but I wouldn’t necessarily say they influence my work as such. I’m interested in people who push boundaries and constantly evolve, people who make things for themselves without any consideration of whether it will sell or not, I think there’s a truth in that way of working and that in itself draws people to it.
Q. Do you keep a sketchbook? How often do you use it and do you travel with it?
I used to, but I went digital at the start of the year so now I do most of my drawing in Procreate on my iPad. I do carry it with me but if I’m honest I only really use it when I’m actually at work. I have a family so it’s important to strike a good balance.
Q. Where does a piece of work begin for you? Can you describe your process?
Most of my work starts with something I’ve found, such as a piece of furniture or old prints, mirrors, etc. So the concept is always a kind of reaction to the starting point. I know pretty much straight away what a painting will say as soon as I see it. The furniture is slightly different. I often find the ideas don’t really start to form until I’m in the process of sanding it down and prepping it for paint. I do keep a list of ideas on my phone but most of them never go anywhere.
Q. What are your most important artists tools?
Paint, brushes and my eyes!
Q What are your favourite materials/technique?
I switched from using water based paint to signwriting enamel about 18 months ago, and that was a bit of a game changer, I love the contrast between the gloss enamel lettering and the matt finish paint of the furniture.
Q. What project are you currently working on?
I’ve got a couple of pieces I’m working on for exhibitions later in the year and various other things happening. I’ve got quite a big studio so I work on several pieces at once.
Q. What is the best advice you were given early in your creative career?
I genuinely can’t think of any good advice that’s related to what I do now. Most of my art teachers advised me to give up as they said I wasn’t good enough!
Q. Where can we see more of your work online or in person?
All the usuals, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and I have my own website www.populuxehomeboutique.co.uk
I also have work in a few galleries, Hooked in Daventry, Subversion up in Glasgow and DNA in Norwich at the moment. I’m quite selective about the galleries I work with as I can only make so much, so I’m a bit picky about where it goes
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