Creative Conversations No4: Paul Soulellis

8 Feb

On this show I talk to the American artist Paul Soulellis during his b-side arts festival commission. We held this talk after he had just finished giving away one of his books on Weymouth esplanade on 11th August 2012.

We start off chatting about his commission that had seen him visit Weymouth here in Dorset and Weymouth in Massachusetts. From these visits and his research Paul produced 12 gorgeous books, each book he got 20 printed and than proceeded to give away a different book each day, hanging around on the esplanade till every copy of that book had gone. Handing them back to the community.

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Weymouths 12 books

About the show

We talk about adding a performative aspect to both our practice. How this is a new feature of our work, how it has developed and become an important part of the work. It was less about a finish object and more about the experience, the moment of connection between people.

As an artist Paul wasn’t really allowed to be on the esplanade, but could as a busker, as a street trader. It was framed within the commercial selling, exchange of capital. It was also interesting in that Paul had been asked many times where can I buy this from.

So although it was really nice that b-side allowed Paul to make and give these books away, we discuss how long this might continue and what the difference is between the UK and the USA. The rise of private giving, what the culture of art is in a place and cultural production. Paul feels it is a lot more open here in what artists are allowed to do.

We discuss ways Paul supports his artistic production. How he works in the commercial field, working as a designer for all sorts of companies. The artwork Paul creates has a direct link with his commercial activity and both feed into each other. For instance he designed a typeface for the b-side commission, which he might use in one of his future commercial jobs.

On Weymouth esplanadeWhat he discovered with Weymouths is discovered nice methodology of research mixed with chance operations, design and production and the perfomative and the community engagement aspect. Paul possible do a similar artwork in a place he knows and has some deep emotional attachment to, which is floating around in the back of his head. But he has started looking for possible funding streams for this work to happen.

We talk about how it is interesting to explore the difficult questions of cultural values, of engaging audiences in “art”. How I find it is more interesting to work on projects that has art as a side part of the project, where people would be more likely to come to see a heritage project

Quick discussion about what gets left in our public archives. What I had really liked about Paul’s work was this new creative archive he created. This was his personally take on his historical research, a very specific take on the places Weymouths. An archive with a perspective. The title of Pauls project – Weymouths – was a reference to this in that it was about two different towns called Weymouth; it was about different peoples takes on Weymouth; and each book was a different aspect of Weymouth. Every one of us has their own Weymouths. The s brings in the multiplicity.

Then we go onto my current fascination of the longevity of digital archives like Facebook and google. How we are figuring out our relationship with these new archives. It also thinking of the balance of having work in a digital archive like google, but means it can be seen by many millions, compared to being in a local archive centre who might store it for thousands of years but whose access is limited.

More on this project at

b-side Multimedia Festival 2012 (Weymouth,July 27 – August 12)


One Response to “Creative Conversations No4: Paul Soulellis”


  1. Overview of Series 2 of Creative Conversation | creative conversations - June 26, 2013

    […] episode 4 I talk to the American artist Paul Soulellis during his b-side arts festival commission. […]

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