We are just days away from Bloodstock Open Air, 2015. The lineup is amazing and I am sure fans are eagerly waiting for the gates to open. Metal Wani's Vaishali Jain had a chat with Bloodstock co-founding member & one of the best graphical artist who has illustrated many big metal album sleeves Paul Gregory. Check out the Interview below and get ready for BOA 2015 \m/
Greetings from Metal Wani, Paul! First off our entire team would like to congratulate you over the 10 magnificent years of Bloodstock Open Air that have gone by. The festival is in its run for the eleventh time this August. How are you feeling about it?
Greetings to you too and thank you for your kind words. Looking back at the festival's growth and the learning curve that goes with it, it is worthy of a book. The festival has a great team of people, something all endeavors of this nature need to succeed. As to how I feel, I'm humbled by the efforts of everyone involved.
The festivals has continued to grow bigger and heavier over the years and was recently listed in the Top 100 Music Festivals In Europe. When you first started this venture, did you know the festival would grow up to be what it is now?
We very much hoped it would be the beast it is today! Bloodstock has grown organically, which I believe is the best way. What makes the festival what it is, is the fact that the bands, the fans and the organisers are all metalheads.
With more than 100 bands performing over 4 days on 4 different stages, and with less than a month left for metalheads from around the world to start setting up camps, the staff and crew must be weighed down with work. How do you manage to keep the supply of energy running within the team?
Working as a team is the only way forward and the team has grown exponentially over the last few years. We don't need energy boosting, but if there is one, it's Bloodstock itself.
You have been painting and exhibiting for a better part of your life. How rewarding has exhibiting at your very own Rock and Metal gallery at Bloodstock 2014 proven to you?
Like most creative ideas there's a risk involved, but that's why I do it. I had my own successful gallery in the 80's and given the body of work I'd kept, including album covers and Bloodstock, it seemed an obvious to bring my worlds of art and music together. As to your question given the feedback after the festival, VERY.
The album art on the new Battalion album titled "Generation Movement" looks absolutely amazing! Can you tell us what inspired the piece?
This was my the third album for the band and according to them, the best. The first cover was taken from an album that Saxon were going to have but decided on a different approach, so Battalion asked if they could use the artwork for their album, Underdogs. The character in the albums to follow, would be similar, giving the image an identity. With Generation Movement, I believe their comments and ideas made for a better cover, which in the end is what I try to achieve.
Do you often reflect on the excerpts from the works of JRR Tolkien while painting? If so, how do you think retrospection helps give structure to a piece?
I always refer to the books when creating a Tolkien related work. I've never seen the films and my first canvas was completed in 1978. For me, deciding to create paintings on this scale with a theme was to see how my work developed over the years. As to looking back, it's something I rarely do.
Being a painter myself, I have felt that keeping the brush down is more difficult that making the first stroke. How do you know when a work is finished?
A difficult question when relating to fantasy, given the lack of reference. If you're painting from life, you will know.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Music and a cup of tea.
Do you also listen to music while you are in your studio? What genres/artists dominate your art-time playlists?
As said, I do listen to music and appreciate many genres given my age. Blues was my first love and it's great to see the likes of Joe Bonamassa revitalizing the genre. As to others, the list goes on and on. It depends on the mood. As you know artists also need inspiration and music for me is the best.
Since you have been painting for so long, you must have developed a few favourites. Which one of your works so far are you most proud of and why?
I don't think in those terms, I think this came about many years ago when I held an exhibition of the late great Terrance Cuneo. I asked him which was his favorite painting, his reply "The next one".
There will be a group of metalheads attending Bloodstock Festival this year for the eleventh time in a row. What have you got to say about the consistency in fan-appreciation?
This is what makes the festival so great, seeing many of the same faces year on year. We're just one big family.
What advice would you give to emerging artists and musicians of this generation?
If you mean it, DO IT.
Thank you so much for taking out time to talk to us. We wish you guys all the best with your future endeavours with Bloodstock Open Air!
Thank you and it's my pleasure.