Circuit of arts

Lewis Hamilton by Paul Oz

This September, as Singapore gears up for the Formula 1 race, Singapore Arts Circuit, a new player on the busy social calendar is looking to repurpose the fast cars and high-stakes glamour for a cause that combines motorsport and art. We take a closer look with the help of Paul Oz.

The Singapore Arts Circuit will take place at the iconic Marina Bay Sands and will feature 3 nights (16th-18th of September) of high octane entertainment attracting Formula 1 dignitaries, celebrities, ambassadors and the Singapore elite. The event will simply showcase the world’s foremost contemporary motorsport artists who will produce 50 original paintings inspired by the 2016 Singapore night race that will be auctioned off to raise funds for a good cause. Proceeds from the auction will go to a charity supporting autism. Featured artists include Alex Wakefield, Armin Flossdorf, Marta Zawadzka, Paul Peterson and Paul Oz, who we have featured in the magazine some time ago.

Completing the first of its kind experience will be entertainment by live acts and international DJs like Sophia Lin, Cassie Connor, DJ Agni, Stephanie Loayza and more! Paddock Magazine caught up with Paul Oz, a celebrated motorsport artist. Born in Iowa, Oz has seen his work featured at GP Ball, Monaco GP, Singapore GP, Playboy Club London, Selfridges Oxford St, Harrods, Goodwood Festival of Speed ITV4 show.

Who is Paul Oz?

My art is immediately arresting and exciting – a fitting visceral reaction considering the muse of the mood are the fast cars and high-speed turns of the world’s most famous motorsport event, Formula 1.

Is motorsport a certain form of art?

In my view, for sure. Driving is an art, also the business and marketing side… both cases when executed the way Formula 1 does, certainly transcend function. And then the imagery, which I spend half of my life immersed in, and the emotions evoked – nothing else comes close.

How did you get into motorsport painting?

I paint my passions, anything I’m into – that’s usually Star Wars, Lego, icons from my childhood, and Formula 1. For sure it’s Formula 1 events and artwork which not only captured my imagination most, but also that seems to have snowballed in recent years. I guess that’s self-fulfilling… No one needs to tell me who/what to paint and when. I know, because I’m one of the biggest fans out there. The more you work in and around the sport of course the more friends you make, and more people invite you to be part of things. It’s not a world you can break into, but meeting the right people and proving you can be trusted – this is what matters.

Watching Formula 1 cars in front of you sparkling under the lights, then looking up to see trucks on the freeway in the darkness above, this is absolutely crazy.

Tell us about your process. What runs through your mind as you paint?

I’ve been asked this question before… and even though being conscious of it, I’m not sure! Sometimes I’m zoned out completely, not really thinking about what I’m doing. Other times I’m battling with composition, fighting to get it right. If I’m painting, I already know in my mind what I want to create, so that’s not really a part of the thought process any more – it’s just trying to get it out of my head and onto the board. Holding a conversation is fine at the same time… and I always need music.

What’s the most challenging piece you’ve done to date?

I find painting women very challenging. I’d paint an old man a lot easier than a pretty woman! And anything shiny – painting something smooth is tricky in my style, I much prefer things to be organic or gritty. There’s nothing I love more than a challenge though. A news channel recently challenged me to paint more women when they interviewed me for my last Singapore show in 2014 and I have at least a couple of portraits now I can show them!

What do you feel is work that needs to be completed in your career?

I have so many ideas – it’s just finding time to create them when demand is so high for new work within the realms I’m currently known. I’d love to create a whole female figurative series. Still life too… maybe even landscapes. There’s no rush though, I still have a long way to go with where I am. My next slightly left-field project is creating a solo show celebrating the world or armour which is being unveiled at the Tower of London!

Night races vs day races: which is more compelling visually?

They’re so vastly different you almost can’t compare. It’s more about the location rather than night versus day, and many tracks are pretty boring. I don’t actually think I’ve ever found imagery to paint from Singapore, yet I’m thinking about it – my work needs shadows to create the effect I want, and the lights in Singapore almost don’t cast shadows as they’re so bright. But talking as a spectator – wow. Watching Formula 1 cars in front of you sparkling under the lights, then looking up to see trucks on the freeway in the darkness above, this is absolutely crazy.

What inspires you?

It might sound corny, but it’s life that inspires me. I absolutely love what I do, and I’m still a bit stunned how I can call this work, I mean painting what I love. It requires literally no additional motivation to be able to do it every day. Just a lot of coffee.

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