Paul Schenk (Amsterdam, 1970)
Visual artist, songwriter, animator and multi-instrumentalist.
Education: HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht (1990-1995).
My work is a combination of absurdistic storytelling and exploring border areas in music composition and atmosphere, inspired by science, psychology and philosophy.
Through the years I have been telling stories in all kinds of disciplines, first as a comic artist and graphic novelist, later on as a commercial animator and visual artist, while in music my storytelling always has been apparent in small stories being told in song-lyrics, some sung and some spoken.
Composing music began at the age of 8 when I started to compose classical music in my head. At the age of 10 I wrote my first song and performed it for live audience.
For me, songwriting and music composition always means just listening to the sounds in my head: I continuously hear these sounds, from little shreds of music to completely finished own compositions, from simple popsongs to complicated classical orchestra’s: The music composes itself, it’s just there. I just write down the notes of the music that has developed in my head. So besides writing lyrics, I do absolutely nothing. It’s the purest form of intuïtion, an almost buddhistic approach.
Being in the popular band I Love Lucy belongs to my best years in music so far. These four years (1992-1996) turned out to be my 15 minutes of fame: Doing the lead vocals, playing the contrabass and writing happy, extremely bizarre lyrics about genius cats winning prizes on TV-shows, the head of Donald Duck being served as a delicatesse and the absolute fact that ‘I am the man with the perfect sausage’…
In 1997 I quit recording music because of commercial activities, but in 2009 I returned to songwriting and began to record music again.
Telling stories is a passion that also started at the age of 8: Writing stories, poems, plays and comics. I became a comic artist because in comics I was able to combine my drawing skills with storytelling and I continued doing this for 20 years. I wrote and drew numerous long stories that were full of humor, all published in magazines and books but the strange thing is, I have never been a very big fan of comic books. Although I worshipped my Gods and inspirators Carl Barks, Marcel Gotlib and Robert Crumb, I was more inspired by art, film and literature than comics. My primary motive has always been to tell stories, not to draw pictures.
During the nineties my comic book-style became very underground and avantgarde. Rebelling against the mainstream comic world, my opinion was that comic artists were just illustrators and no story tellers; I pleaded for a more intellectual approach with graphic novels that could really compete with literature.
The last graphic novel I made was Magnum Opus, a story very much inspired by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Michelangelo Antonioni and Georges Bataille: So a writer, a filmmaker and a philosopher, but not inspired by any comic artist at all which was a very meaningful thing. After this I quit making comic stories and graphic novels.
My stories were continued in commercial activities in which my background as a comic artist were clearly visible: Making animations for large advertisement campaigns, working together with advertising agencies, and making commercial live cartoons.
In 2019 I released my animation project INFORG, my first non-commercial art project in more than 10 years.