Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 80. Freddie Paull.
At this very moment, chances are good that Freddie Paull is doing one of three things: filming, planning to film, or hunting for something to film.
The 26-year-old founder of video art collective Electric Legend Pictures mainly deals in music videos and photography, using his free evenings to catch concerts in Phoenix. "Seeing random shows is what led to me learning about and eventually working with two of my favorite bands, Bogan Via and Harrison Fjord," Paull says.
And it's his longstanding connection to music that, sort of by accident, led him to band management.
"When it comes to Harrison Fjord, I handle the visual side of their music," Paull says. "I never in my life expected to manage a band, but when I first heard their music, it inspired me in ways very few local bands had done in the past."
Born just outside London in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Paull moved to Arizona at the age of 12. "Music was the only thing that took me away from painful moments in my life," he says. "My CD player was my magical wardrobe, and each new album from my dad’s collection was a different Narnia for me to explore."
He'd escape into music and art, favorite films like Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and such albums as David Bowie's The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. "An academic life never made sense to me," he says. "I was always daydreaming."
Now, Paull brings his distinct vision to musicians. "When it comes to music videos, I walk a tightrope between adequately complementing an artist’s music while staying true to my own vision."
He's made three videos with Harrison Fjord, the Phoenix band that played at Bernie Sanders' Flagstaff rally back in March and landed a spot on New Times' list of 16 bands to watch this year. Paull describes the pinnacle of his work with Harrison Fjord as the filming and live recording of their song "Approximately 906 Miles" on the edge of the Mogollon Rim.
And when he's traveling, he focuses on photography. "As far as the pictures go, I love shooting anything from landscapes and their native people, to musicians and more experimental stuff."
I came to Phoenix with my family, a Gameboy Color with a copy of Pokemon Silver, and a handful of my favorite CDs (Bowie, Queen, Beatles) that were given to me by my dad. I was 12 when we moved from the UK. We came to New York on a ship from Southhampton, England, and from there we flew to Arizona and settled.
I make art because I love the challenge, the constant struggle to try to get what’s in my head out to the world, and the potential of how a piece of art can change someone’s perspective entirely.
I'm most productive when I’m inspired by a song or when I fail. Every time I hate an element of how one of my projects turned out (which happens a lot), it drives me to do better next time. Filmmaking is a fairly soul-destroying process. You start with a pure idea and slowly watch it morph into something completely different over the course of production. Then post-production hits, and it’s your chance to reconcile the original concept with whatever the hell it’s turned into at that point.
My inspiration wall is full of records that take my mind to wondrous places, and pictures that remind me of my favorite moments and places.
I've learned most from failing or disappointing myself in my own craft.
Good work should always be reactionary. If you don’t love or hate my work, I have failed.
The Phoenix creative scene could use more friendly competition, and traveling artists.
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A huge contributing factor to the success of the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership lies in the fact that they loved each others songs, and that inspired them to do better. Having someone else who challenges the way you create by making something better than you can do wonders to your art. Let yourself be inspired by other people’s art, but challenge yourself to do better.
It’s also my humble opinion that the Valley desperately needs more people who are willing to take their art and show it to people out of state. If you’re a musician, tour. If you’re a painter, find an artist in another state who wants to share a gallery showing with you. If you’re a photographer, show the world how beautiful this place is! The more that Phoenix artists expose their art to other states and countries, the more Phoenix will become known as a credible art scene.
The 2016 Creatives so far:
100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison