Paul Gerben is a New York raised contemporary artist with a creative perspective unparalleled to those of his kind. With no medium to be left unexplored, Gerben delves into creation in a wide array of platforms and mediums. From painting to sculpting, photography to graphic design, Gerben is a true example of creation beyond boundaries and is constantly exploring new means of expression. His artwork is a beautiful combination of his freedom of expression, raw energy, and boundless possibilities. With a style and focus that is ever evolving, Gerben’s artwork is highly sought after by art collectors and musical icons alike. Gerben has a style that cannot be categorized into one genre, nor would it do his art justice. His collections span from abstract to surrealism and jewelry to surfboards. A theme of Gerbens is to intriguingly transform images of pop-culture icons into colorful arrangements. His inspiration for his work stems from a multitude of stimuli, including musical influences such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC, but Gerben also finds inspiration from typically overlooked details of life. A spark of inspiration can come from anything and everything. It could be from a rust covered phone booth splashed with graffiti or the environmental erosion of a city -- all things of potential beauty that an untrained eye would overlook at first glance. This is what makes his art so unique yet somewhat familiar. There’s a basis behind most of his work that stems from life that we see everyday, but it takes the eye of an artist like Gerben to transform this stimuli into colorful, dramatic, rock ‘n’ roll-eqsue works of art.
Jamie Agoglia (JA): Where does the rockstar vibe that emanates from your art stem from?
Paul Gerben (PG): I grew up listening to classic rock, I love it. It’s my favorite genre of music so I’m sure it’s influenced from that direction. I was raised on Zeppelin and The Beatles, and there was a lot of that growing up, my parents played a lot of it in the car so rock was definitely a part of my childhood, from Barry Manilow all the way to AC/DC.
JA: Were creativity and art a part of your upbringing?
PG: My mother was an interior designer, so she was very crafty and creative. She did t-shirt designs and home design; she was always exploring new forms of artwork and creativity. I was always very encouraged to continue my art.
JA: Do you think growing up in New York had an impact on your style?
PG: All of my art is very textural and a lot of that comes from the visuals you’ll see everyday on the of the streets of New York City. A lot of my art comes from all the great textures that I see everywhere I go everyday. From walls that are eroded by rain and elements of nature, to rusted items and stickers, it's the little things that no one really notices.
JA: When did your artwork start to transform into such a huge range of mediums?
PG: Two years ago I did a solo show at the Art Hamptons arts fair , and I decided to not just show art but to also show sculpture designs and surf boards, and once I moved into new mediums I realized how exciting it was for me to see my work on 3 dimensions and on different materials. This year I launched my LOVE sculptures, which is becoming very iconic now, and I’ve turned in into a line of jewelry.
JA: Tell me about when your artwork started to crossover into the philanthropic and charity world.
PG: Well I think it’s important to donate to charity, and I worked my whole life and struggled to get to where I am. I like to give back to the community and terrific causes that I care about. A piece I did by was auctioned off by Simon Dupury to Her Majesty the Queen of Sweden and it was just amazing to raise over $40,000 in less than ten minutes for underprivileged children.
JA: What would you say to somebody that is in a place of hardship but wants to pursue art as a career?
PG: I would say to keep doing what you love because you love it, that’s why I did it. I never expected to have a successful career in art. I was just making art because that’s what I love to do, and I already had a successful career as a graphic designer and a photographer. I think it’s a perfect example of doing what you love and you might wind up making a living out of it.
JA: What is it like when you have a new spark of inspiration or start a new project?
PG: I actually find I’m inspired by everything. I don’t know what it is but something sparks an idea, I get really excited about it and I go at it 100%. I’ll focus on it and flush out the idea until I feel that sense of satisfaction. Like with my jewelry, I made a few items and it inspired me to create a larger line. I’ll hopefully be moving my line into diamond jewelry, earrings, rings, and cufflinks. And I don’t look at it so much as jewelry. I consider it to be wearable art. I’m not just trying to make jewelry, I’m making pieces of my art that can be carried around. There’s a certain joy about it for me, going out wearing one of my LOVE pendants and when someone asks what kind of art I make, I can show them that pendant and tell them that “it’s a miniature version of my LOVE sculpture.”
JA: What’s next for Paul Gerben?
PG: I’m going into more sophisticated museum art now, big hand-painted pieces and more fine art. I want to move into that realm of the museum world. I’d love to have my own museum showing with all of my work. So that’s where I’m hopefully headed and I’m excited for that.
Jamie Agoglia is a renowned writer, photojournalist, and entrepreneur. Her work has been displayed at events and galleries across Southern California. In her writing and photography, she focuses on art, travel, and music.