Absorbed in the world of colour, texture, fantasy and the good old tradition of the narrative as a child, Paul B remembers as he would return from school, play with the other kids but always wait to get home and paint — be it with crayons, oil pastels, or watercolours. This was his secret world of fantasy, a place where magic existed unperturbed by the world’s influence.
In his early years, he largely painted with whatever medium available on paper and then graduated to working on canvas in oils & gold leaf. As every aspiring artist, he desired to formally study art in a respected college but that was a dream never fulfilled in spite of trying for six years & being rejected every single time — must have been a blessing in disguise for it furthered his desire to pursue his calling, even more strongly.
Nature, spirituality and human relationships were at the core of his favourite subjects during his formative years. He then started gravitating towards questioning spirituality, ritualism and blind faith in the context of religion.
Being born in a family of protestant priests and having studied in a catholic institution only further predicted the internal dialogues and took shape in the vocabulary of orthodox Byzantine Christian iconic art. His references came from school days spent at the church, surrounded by awe inspiring stained glass windows, mosaics of the stations of the cross, the virgin and child, the resurrected Christ and such, where they all left an indelible imprint on the artist’s mind.
Paul B’s interest extended towards collecting Christian art, discarded altars and somewhere in this search was a quest to preserve the last symbols of Christianity that typified the faith in its own unique Indian-ness. His art resonates this very same style and ethos, strongly Byzantine but essentially Indian. This style came to the artist naturally, and he thought it to be the perfect language to bring into perspective his Christian childhood, the current times and events of the church and his life, and to glorify, romanticize and at times question spiritualism & ritualism in the Christian context.
Paul B’s world revolved around the beauty of detail. He initially worked in small formats like working on miniatures but he later went onto exploring larger works whilst retaining the time-consuming & laborious process of detailed narratives. He mostly works with oil & 24 carat gold leaf on canvas and has described feeling like an artist in the medieval times being commissioned by the church to paint itself in all its glory.