Paul Hanegraaff is a talented artist and high school student at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, North Carolina. I became a Facebook friend with Paul a few months back and recently found out that Paul has a work of art that is entered in the 2013 Congressional Art Competition. I took a look at his artwork and was impressed and even more so when I discovered his artwork was vying for a place on display in Washington, D.C. and had to talk to him about it.
John Collins (JC): Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me Paul.
Paul Hanegraaff (PH): My thanks for having me John, I am glad to hear that you are interested in my work.
(JC): Before you discuss your current project would you mind telling my readers a bit about your background and what led you to become an artist?
(PH): I would say that my upbringing had a lot to do with my passion for art, but we don’t choose art, rather art chooses us. I have always believed that art has called me to do work that expresses what I believe and know to be true as an artist by expressing the truths shown in the reality of this world.
(JC): You are currently involved in a pretty big art competition. Tell us about it and how it is going.
(PH): I have entered the Congressional Art Competition that recognizes artists in their state school districts.
(JC): Besides the prestige, what is the prize for winning the competition?
(PH): The artist is given the honor of having their piece hung in a walkway tunnel in Washington DC I believe, though I think that is the only honor besides the honor of representing our school as well.
(JC): Where can my readers go to vote on this competition?
(PH): If you visit Robert Pittengers page on facebook, in his pictures are art pieces considered for the competition. You can like all the pieces or the ones you feel should get recognized and share them as well. I would appreciate some likes and shares, but choose what you think is best.
(JC): Where do you go from here (what are your dreams, goals, aspirations?)
(PH): I want to go into either architecture and incorporate graphic design and sculpture into that profession, or I would become a graphic design artist working in spray paint, sculpture, photography, and writing. I have always sought to make my art more metaphysical than technical, which is to say that my art speaks words of meaning rather than it focusing on the complexity of its make up. I want to express art that exposes the truths and realities of the world we live in.
(JC): I like to close my interviews with giving my interviewee the opportunity to tell us something weird and wonderful about themselves or their project. Do you have an interesting anectdote or fun fact about yourself you would like to share?
(PH): I would say that I enjoy tedious things, rather if I enjoy something, I don’t mind that it is tedious, which a lot of my art happens to be. I find that the process and work done to achieve the work of art is almost more rewarding then the outcome itself. Much like the process of film photography and its tedious and time consuming work that must be done to achieve a piece that regular digital cameras could not. The dark room along with the chemicals used to make an image come to life is like something straight out of a movie or novel. I enjoy the little things and take the time to take it all in.
(JC): I remember when I was a kid and my brother let me into his dark room and I watched him print photos. It seemed an almost magical process watching him take pieces of white paper, shining light on them, and then running them through pans of water to create images. I thought the process was amazing and my interest in photography developed that way. How did you get into film photography?
(PH): I found photography intriguing and fascinating ever since I was a child using the hand held crank camera that you took too the store to have developed. I was amazed at all the possibilities of photography and continued to pursue this interest. I started getting more and more complex cameras to the point where digital cameras just didn’t have any wonder or appeal to them anymore. I love how far it has come, but it was just the same, crank and shoot. But one year in my high school freshmen year, A film photography course had opened up and I pursued a foreign idea of photography I had never known. This camera was older looking, a classic. The rolls of film were all different like various memory cards, and the shutter was actually a shutter. I loved it all. The process, the technicalities, the techniques in the darkroom, it was no walk in the park. This new challenge I had laid out before me was one I was happy to tackle with full force… setting up the scene, getting the right lighting, shutter speed, aperture, ISO… it was thrilling. Though it may not have some of the perks of a digital camera, It will always hold a special place in my heart and art career.
(JC): Very cool! Is there anything you would like to add?
(PH): I believe that we are all endowed with talents and gifts that should not be left unnoticed or forgotten. Don’t pursue a life that is politically or socially acceptable or is safe. Pursue a life where your passions and dreams are realized and never think twice. You were put on this earth for a reason, and your gifts and talents are used to realize that purpose.
(JC): Thanks so much for the interview and I am looking forward to seeing more beautiful artwork from you in the future!
(PH): Thank you very much John, I appreciated you having me and allowing me to speak my mind.
(JC): Thank you Paul!
Check out Paul’s mixed media work of art and give it a like if you want to support this young man’s effort.
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