Paul Cummings

Things that were never there, Paul CummingsThings that were never there (detail), 2011, Paul Cummings

Paul uses digital manipulation to create all his paintings. To produce this image he used modular toy construction software. The resulting scene is a fulfillment of the playful imagination experienced during his childhood.

This painting typifies the illustrations found on the package of old toy construction sets. These are the remnants of a bygone age, even preceding the artist’s childhood, older than childhood itself, rediscovered after being neglected for some time.

This landscape depicts the industrial age and is painted in such a way as to be nostalgic and idealistically romantic. Set in the vastness of a new reality that is somewhat a compressed fantasy. The materiality of this world is homogenized. Everything is seemingly made out of either wood or plastic, even the hills and the boundary of the sky. It is a reductionist space, a simpler place with limited rules and variations. Even the objects are codified by lucid colors that create a shorthand lexicon for true reality: red for roof, white for wall, blue for water, and so on. Yet with all this reductionism the effect of light and space fully retains its lucid sophistication.

The artist wishes to convey the discrepancy felt by any child between what has been assembled and what is imagined; with eagerness, the contents of the package would be pulled out hastily and construction would take place in earnest. As a child, discovering the slippage between the ideal and the actual is always disappointing. Simple blocks arranged in a particular fashion on the living room floor do not compare to what was intended by the illustration. Though in some instances the bricks would transcend their own modesty to become new creations set in imaginary vistas that could supersede the expectations initially provided. With maturity we are able consolidate this mismatch by manifesting imagination into something tangible.


Born in Bournemouth, England

Date of Birth: 22.04.1972


1996 – 1999
BA (Hons) Fine Art, Painting, Cheltenham University

1993 – 1995
BTEC Art & Design Foundation, Shelly Park School Of Art

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