Originally from New Zealand, Shanta is a stencil artist and graphic designer, otherwise known as Paul Shanta. Shanta has been a Stencil Art Prize finalist from 2010 – 2012.

How did you get into making stencil art?

It all started with having the chance to display my art in a café years ago. I have always had a passion for art and been either painting or drawing ever since I could remember. Having the opportunity to showcase my art to the public, and realising that people enjoyed my art as much as I enjoyed making it really built that starting point from which to keep on creating.

Which artists influence you creatively?

There are so many! From musicians, painters & Illustrators. To name a few would be Pink Floyd, Pale Horse Design, Flox and The Cut Collective Crew.

How would you describe your style of art?

I don’t think I have an exact style as such. I’m always learning and developing. I do have a passion for typography and travel which helps influence my style.

Where does your creative inspiration come from?

I’ve gotta give it up to the beautiful outdoors, beach, travel & family. Loads of things inspire me but these are the top of the bunch.

Whose work at the moment do you admire most?

Pale Horse Design. The choice of colours, type and symmetry are all things I admire in his style of work.

Describe your stencil making process – how does an idea move from being an idea into a finished artwork

It all starts with pencil to paper, I usually sketch out a few rough concepts and then refine it on the computer. Being able to add colour with a click of a button or get an overall sense of scale utilising various design programs really helps the concept stage. Once I’m happy with a concept I print it out and get cutting. My stencils vary from 1 layer to many. Sometimes I just keep building it up until I’m happy and think its done. Other times I just need to walk away and get back to it with a fresh set of eyes.

What’s the hardest part about being a stencil artist?

Probably that awkward slip of the blade that then cuts into the closest piece of flesh. I’ve lost count of the amount of blades broken or scars to my hands. At the end of the day its a passion. I do what I do because I love to do it not because I have to.

What would be one piece of advice that you would give to young artists starting to explore the stencil medium?

Just keep cutting. There is no wrong or right way and explore avenues that make you happy. Also go to plenty of exhibitions to met other likeminded creatives.

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You can read more about Shanta on his website, or follow him on facebook here.

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