Creation and interpretation is Paul’s life. In painting he is at home in all mediums and his production is prodigious. Paul started his artistic career as a qualified gold and silversmith with a degree in design. Paul then turned to painting immediately after graduating from the Liverpool School of Art.
His painting styles include Realism, Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism and Abstract Surrealism. His continuous study and work on techniques and painting mediums are apparent throughout his vast body of work. From his Heritage Series to his Celestialism (which shows the extent of his imagination–giving an insight to his more intimate work illustrating the workings of the mind and soul ) to his current Abstract Expressionism and Abstract Surrealism.
His most recent works provoke a response that is both physical and emotional. His application of colour and line enables Paul to capture the essence of the subject with a spontaneity unparalleled by many. His technique in colour is startling and impressive and his use of the pallet knife is bold and convincing.
Paul’s monumental murals and domed ceiling have received international acclaim and the power of his achievement is appreciated and recognized by many collectors world- wide.
He is the creator of some of the most famous images in Canada such as his Heritage Series; which are instantly recognized by most Canadians and have been a part of the British Columbia identity for decades. He is also the architect of some of the largest murals in North America and Europe His paintings are in public and private collections worldwide and are treasured for their intrinsic and real value.
World’s largest mural painted by artist Paul Ygartua.
In July of 2011, Paul Ygartua finished restoring the ‘Legends of the Millennium’ mural. It’s on two continuous walls of the Beachcomber Building and measures over 9000 square feet! It is considered “one of metro Vancouver’s most famous works of art….”. Ygartua originally painted it in the year 2000. Then, as now, it was done singlehandedly with a brush…no graphs, no projections, no helpers. The American website AskART considers it probably the largest mural ever painted by a single artist. Video courtesy of Citytv Vancouver, July 4, 2011.
His works are discussed in “Artists of British Columbia” (1986), by Derek Morys-Edge; “The Collector’s Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction” (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar; “Famous” (2007), by Petru Russu; “Place Makers: Creating Public Art…” (2007), by Ronald Lee Fleming and Renata Von Tscharner; and “International Contemporary Masters Volume III” (2010), by Despina Tunberg. He is also the subject of the monograph “Primordial Chaos” (2008), by Carlo Cambi and Flora Rovigo.
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When you are influenced by everything around you, whether it is the people in the world, their culture or nature itself–it is emotional and personal. It is these emotions that one tries to express–an inside view of your thoughts , your feelings and your ideas. I sketched, as a child, with my Mother, who was also a painter. When we returned to the Basque Country, Northern Spain, my Father’s birthplace, for the summer vacations, I used to work alongside of her on location. I attended the Liverpool School of art in England, specializing in Gold and Silversmithing. I took life-study but I didn’t take Painting and it wasn’t until I immigrated to Canada that I changed direction and started making a living solely from my art in 1970.
My family and I have always travelled extensively and through out my life I have been influenced by other cultures. My interest, no doubt, comes from my Basque Heritage, the oldest white race of Europe. This influence has also directed me to the varied subject matter I seek out when living in other countries. In the early 70’s I started painting the North American Native, I found strength and a passion of a race struggling for their identity similar to the Basque People of northern Spain. These influences dominated my work for many years; even today I still feel a need to create with a passion and strength that captivates your mind and soul. I like to stir one’s emotions, I like my patrons to feel this energy that runs through me.
I search for interesting subject matter that has vibrance and movement; then incorporating this emotion into my subject involving the viewer and transporting him to another world. The challenges of different subject matter is always inspiring and fascinating; I enjoy working straight eight to ten hours, intense, with high energy; this becomes a real physical workout on my larger works.
I generally work on four feet x four feet paintings and larger. Murals give you a vast expanse, the largest canvas you can ever hope to get, expanding your perimeters and challenging yourself to the highest limits.
When working freehand with no scale or projector, you must imagine the image, see it in your mind’s eye and envision the painting mural finished. It is an addiction and I can’t wait to start the next painting. It is exciting to challenge oneself with each work, always searching within, this opens new doors, new horizons–it never ends.
It is a passion I feel and it is this emotion that I try to portray in all my works.