When Berlin-based illustrator Paul Waak graced our screens back in 2016, his fantastically weird series Vertex Maximus gave us nothing but entertainment. Since then, he’s continued to involve himself within the art world. “This means that I have mainly been working with drawing, collages, paintings and sculptures for national and international exhibitions,” he tells It’s Nice That, stating how he’s also expanded his work across prints, zines and fashion.
“I’ve opened up to new techniques in the last few years.” Recent projects, of course, echo his previous aesthetic of humorous content mixed with vibrant splashes of colour. But this time around, there’s just a bit more variety. “If you deal a lot with your own art, your work will inevitably change. It would be bad if nothing at all happened,” he says.
Alongside a more varied portfolio, Paul explores themes and concepts related to the issues that affect us all: this includes digital work centred around social media and the importance of smartphones; a collage on the world of work and art in the office; plus a stainless steel plate with welded drawing and lacquering (which he showed in Berlin last year) commenting on the female quota.
As for his process, this has stayed consistent. Paul always starts off with a drawing: “Over the years I have developed an archive for my drawings – I try to draw as many as possible in one year, then I number and archive them. That’s usually over 300 a year.” And when he has an idea brewing, such as a painting or a poster, he often refers back to this archive to develop it further. “I also mix drawings with a theme in my head – I think you can call this creative technique,” he jests. “I constantly reference other parts of my work and develop them even further.”
Paul has been creative from the offset. His father was also an artist, and some of his earliest memories are of him in his studio painting and drawing. “When I was around five he copied one of my drawings without my permission, transferred it to a painting and then sold it,” he recalls. “I was quite angry with him.”
While an artist’s palette and portfolio ever-changes, it’s hard to imagine what will come next. For Paul, he plans continue his artistic ventures and work on a new book in time for the New York Art Fair in September – “so watch out everyone who’s in New York,” he says. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.