After a lifetime of creating art, Paul Lorenz puts himself out there in a more bold way that ever before. As a result of the pandemic, Paul's art took a 180 degree turn when he decided to exhibit very provocative images of himself at age 60. He went from painting to self-photography that would include a long period of deep reflection. If you struggle with putting yourself out into the world, Paul's inspiring story may be just what you need to hear... stay tuned.
Paul is a full-time interdisciplinary artist.
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Coach Maddox 0:03
Hello, Paul Lorenz, and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I'm really excited to have you here today.
Paul Lorenz 0:10
Well, thank you Coach Maddox. I'm actually really happy to be here, too. It's really an honor to be asked to be part of your podcast.
Coach Maddox 0:19
Oh, thank you. That means a lot. I really appreciate that. Well, just so the listeners know, the way Paul and I met, if I remember correctly, is, I posted the podcast in LinkedIn. And I believe you saw the post, you saw the podcast and maybe commented or exactly, somehow we got connected. I don't remember exactly how that happened. But we did connect on LinkedIn. And then one of us reached out to the other one, and I'm not sure which one did that either.
Paul Lorenz 0:56
Honestly, I don't know, either. But yeah, we started a nice conversation and one thing led to another, and now I'm on your podcast.
Coach Maddox 1:05
Yeah, very cool. We did have a, maybe three or four weeks ago, we had a zoom, that was just a get acquainted zoom that probably lasted maybe an hour or a little bit longer had an absolutely amazing conversation. Yeah, it was good. And so here we are now. And Paul is a guest. So Paul, is a interdisciplinary artist. Oh, I set it right.
Paul Lorenz 1:36
Yeah, my art career has been a very circuitous road from architecture, even before that, from learning, playing the piano, to architecture, to painting, to going back to music, it all of these things kind of have been interwoven. And I kind of play between each of these medias and genres and combine them.
Coach Maddox 2:06
Well, and I understand you're working on an exhibition coming soon in Mexico City.
Paul Lorenz 2:12
Yes, very surprising, and very kind of quick. It's a photography exhibition, it opens April 2. And photography has been a very big thing since the COVID, lockdown, and just being at home without having a studio to paint in, not being able to really socialize with other people. So I've been looking at photographs, old photographs, taking new photographs. And it's led me in a very different direction than I anticipated. But a really good direction. And it's just opened up a lot of questions. And a lot of, you know, looking at yourself, photography is about is about imagery. And that's something I've always taken photos, but I've never shared them, you know?
Coach Maddox 3:10
Well, and just so the listener knows, I've gotten the privilege of seeing a few of your photographs, and they're very interesting. I like your work. Well, thank you. And it's been I felt very much honored that you shared those with me before you actually exhibit so. Well. Moving right along. Before we jump into our conversation for the day, I want to ask, Paul, how would you define what it means to be an authentic gay man?
Paul Lorenz 3:46
a very, you know, I think it's a really complicated question. Because authenticity is something that comes with life and time and experiences.
you know, my life, how it was 2030 years ago is different than it was 20 years ago. And it's definitely different than it is now. And I think just as getting get older, you have a little more, you have much more confidence, and you can be who you want to be, be who you are, and rebel in that, rather than trying to figure things out. So that's kind of where I'm at with this is that you're you. You have the confidence you have the the the maturity, just be who you are.
Coach Maddox 4:42
You know, I love everything you're saying. And there's one thing that's really sticking out for me and that is Be who you want to be. I think sometimes we don't really realize that we're at choice. We get to be anybody we want to be and we get to show up in life anyway. The way we want to show up, we get to choose
Paul Lorenz 5:03
exactly huge. And that's something when you're younger, you don't always understand that, you know, you want to fit in and you want to, you want to fit in and find your place. And that's a whole other world of discovery. But once you you're older and you get it, it's like I can be who I am, I can be anybody I want the world's a big place. And you pick your paths, you you find your routes.
Coach Maddox 5:35
I love the way you articulated that beautiful, thank you. So let's get to our big question for the day, which is, what has been your biggest challenge in life that you're either of you've gotten through or you're continuing to work through?
Paul Lorenz 5:54
That is a really good question. Because it's something being an artist being creative, and also being mature. I just turned 60 years old this year. Life changes, life evolves, the COVID pandemic, as changed a lot of things. So it's, you know, the biggest challenge is just trying to stay relevant, trying to find you know, my place in a world that I've, I thought I knew my place, and things have evolved, things have changed thing you have to move on. And, you know, as I just said, it's like, you know, you you pick your paths. And I'm picking new paths. And it's a little scary. It's a little a little nerve racking sometimes. But then, you know, as I just said, also, you're mature, you own it, you move forward.
Coach Maddox 6:57
I love the way you worded that staying relevant. So when you comment, when you said that staying relevant, were you talking about staying relevant as a human being or staying relevant as an artist, or deep all of the above?
Paul Lorenz 7:11
I think all of the above, especially, you know, we live in a very, we live in a very youth centered culture. And we see that in advertising, we see that in a lot of things. And life is cyclical. And I just see it in my life. As an artist, I'm not the I'm not the flavor of the month any longer. You know, as I was maybe 15 years ago, I'm not now so you have to
keep yourself in the public, but it's different. And
managing that has become a part of, you know, my art now part of is part of just being. So it's it's interesting right now, it's it's an interesting time, much interesting in a different way than it was 15 years ago than it was 30 years ago.
Coach Maddox 8:10
Oh, it's different than it was two years ago.
Paul Lorenz 8:14
Coach Maddox 8:16
I do love the way you worded that staying relevant. And that's not something I've ever really spent any brainpower thinking about? Nobody's ever asked me that question. So in that moment, when you said that my brain immediately went to, you know, so how, what are you? What are you doing? How are you staying relevant, and I wasn't thinking as much professionally as I was, personally is what came up for me. First, I was kind of thinking, Well, how do you stay relevant when we live in this youth oriented world? Which I you know, I'm, I guess I think for my chronological age, I'm pretty youthful. But that's a whole different story. That's
Paul Lorenz 8:56
as I feel the same way I'm youthful but
Coach Maddox 9:00
but the reality about
Paul Lorenz 9:01
Coach Maddox 9:02
and and what intuitively came up for me as soon as I asked myself that question was how I stay relevant is I take an interest in what those younger people are doing. I show interest I ask questions, and I'm continually learning. You know, that the stuff that the young people are learning, I'm continually trying to keep up with the latest technology. I'm trying to keep up with the latest way we express ourselves. I mean, in this country, we're very big on slang, you know, when you stop and think about how much of our dialogue how much of our communication is not proper English, and it changes on a dime and ugly. So I try to keep up with that to some degree all the you know, as a as a gay man. Now I'm really, really working To keep up with how everything's changing in the way of sexuality and gender, and there's this fluidity thing, and there's things that weren't even present through most of my life, or are just suddenly on the horizon, and we've got pronouns, and we've got all these terms and I'm, and it's exactly
Paul Lorenz 10:23
there. It's a whole new world, it's a very different world.
Coach Maddox 10:28
It's a very different world, but that's what came up for me. So yeah, let's, let's dive into your challenge.
Paul Lorenz 10:36
Well, it's, you know, as an, as an artist, you
you're finding your expression, you're finding your way of doing things. And for me, personally, that has taken me in numerous directions. Though, there is a thread of logic that runs through everything I do.
It pulls me
in different directions, which has been my entire life and career and, and all those complexities of being a creative being a gay man, being from the United States. You know, there's all these little facets of things. So I thought everything was moving really well until, you know, continuing to move well. But the, the COVID pandemic, the lockdown, all these things, brought everything to a screeching halt. And that really made me kind of rethink and reflect looking back on things. And that's why the photography was never something that was in my wheelhouse of things I would exhibit or anything, my photographs were always, you know, travel photographs, family events. But probably, I don't know, 10 years ago, I started a very sporadic, self portrait series of photographs just for fun. I had a great studio in Kentucky where I was living, and it was just fun taking photos of myself with the setup the tripod and
and that was that they just went into a file.
But then suddenly, with COVID, I'm in the studio, and I'm reflecting on these, these photos. And it's, you know, a side of my life that I never really shared.
And just seemed,
now's the time, now's the time to bring these photos out and continue with this road of using myself as the subject and bringing them into the work. And that's something that's coming up with the show in Mexico City. The whole basis of the work is
private in the DRI with my public work, private being the photographs public being paintings, handmade work, which is paintings that I do with my hand versus machine made work, which is things that come from a camera. And it's finally like both sides of my being the public persona with the private persona are coming together. Well Is Paul is nervous about that.
Coach Maddox 13:46
Well, I that's what I was just about to ask, you know, is this going to be the first time that these personal images these images of you are going to be exhibited?
Paul Lorenz 13:57
Yes, yeah, it's the first time and it's taken a little bit of, of editing and defining what this is.
But me and
the curator and the director of the gallery, we've spent some time kind of honing this.
So that it's, it's really, you know, they're they're marvelous, and, you know,
the gallery is a queer gallery. And this I want that to be shown, but not necessarily explicitly, though I'm not, not opposed to doing explicit things. It's, it's for this show, it's more about the placement of hands. And it's a very subtle but very provocative series of images.
Coach Maddox 14:53
You just took the words right out of my mouth. I mean, you've shown me some of the images and they're not explicit at all, but they is certainly a subtle provocativeness to them.
Paul Lorenz 15:04
Our hands are the, they're the receivers of touch, and they are the givers that our hands offer a lot. And when that becomes the focus, it becomes kind of universal, how we all we all have these, these fingers and things and how we, we use them. So it's, it's interesting, and that's something I, you know, a couple of months ago, I was not on that trajectory at all, but working with the gallery and working with other artists, you know, it just kind of became this focus.
Coach Maddox 15:41
Well, and art takes on a life of its own.
Paul Lorenz 15:45
Certainly, and that's always the way it's been, I never past work, I never put myself into it. So obviously, I want people to know, my work by a brush mark, or a choice of colors, not me physically.
Coach Maddox 16:00
Now they're gonna know your work by you know, the shape of your thumb.
Paul Lorenz 16:04
I know, it's
Coach Maddox 16:09
kind of hearing some of the external challenge, you know, in the, the changes with the COVID brought, take us into some of the internal aspects of that challenge.
Paul Lorenz 16:23
Well, you know, it's,
these things have to happen in when you're ready and willing, and yet use, you know, letting these personal images out. Takes us some time and some thought, and you have to be 100 ready to show the work. But then you also have to take some risks also, like, Who do you want to? Who am I wanting to see this, and it's taken me a while to, you know, kind of let more and more people in I now, it's, I'm feeling comfortable that Yeah, everybody can look at this, now everybody can see these images, and I'm fine with it. And that's, you know, just the nature of being, you know, authentic or just growing or, you know, we're all in a unique timeline. And just, you keep putting yourself out there until it feels right. And you feel comfortable. So I'm feeling comfortable.
Coach Maddox 17:33
What was the hesitation?
Paul Lorenz 17:37
Well, it's just, it's not something
you know, that I ever showed before. So there's, it's a whole new and people are, have been very supportive, and very, very supportive about being more vulnerable. You know, it's not like I'm, you know, in the gym every day, you know, 25 years old, like, No, I'm, I've got this old man body. And
there's just something cool about being honest about that. And
showing, and being part of it, I'm part of a big online exhibition with this group in out of Barcelona, cu 46, which they're completely involved with. Imagery, that and sexuality. And so it's interesting to have that show going on online now. Also, simultaneously,
since I just
suddenly, just like, letting all this imagery out there, which is kind of, it's fun, once you just own it. It's like, okay, I'm in it. Let's do it.
Coach Maddox 18:53
Now, the images I've seen were, like, various parts of your body, like, a hand or nothing that I saw included your face? Do some of the images include your face?
Paul Lorenz 19:11
Um, yeah, some of them do. Um, and I'm still in the process of figuring out which ones how I want all of this to be shown. But there there is some that have my face, which is kind of cool.
there's a lot of digesting there's a lot there's a lot of imagery so you, I'm trying to create a logic through it. So but there is some that shows face shows
a lot. Well,
Coach Maddox 19:43
and as you thought about and then decided to put images of yourself in your art put yourself out there in that manner. What did you have to overcome to be able to do that, you know, like, I can think about very different things that I've done in my life where There were all these types running and all kinds of limiting beliefs and things, I can remember what I had to march through just in order to pierce my ears. This was many years ago, then I can remember a point where, which was only about five years ago, I had to really work through some, some shit, I mean, a bunch of shit, to be able to get my first tattoo. I mean, I, my listeners know, I'm 65. And I got my first tattoo at 60. And it was a big friggin deal. I had to march through a hole, I had to work through a whole bunch of, like garbage inside of me overcome a bunch of stuff, to get to the point where I could put my arm out there and let them start to do a tattoo on it. Sure, what did you have to overcome in order to do this
Paul Lorenz 20:59
not hiding behind paint, not hiding behind
art, but really putting
myself into it. And that's a huge step. That's a I guess, something I was on one level kind of avoiding. And it's interesting, because now I look at a lot of older work, especially paintings that really, painting was what I was known for. And now that all seems just very decorative, and very pretty and very safe.
doesn't interest me as much. So it's really that it's like turning a corner where you actually put yourself into the work, you're just not creating something, but you're putting part of yourself out there with it. And once that door is opened, it's you can't ever step back. This is really a new direction. And though I still paid, and now my paintings have become more private, I don't really show them because they're more for me, like the photos were, but now the photography is really just like, adding myself has become more necessary,
at least in my mind.
So we'll see how things go with an exhibition and see, response has been good. I mean, I've had a lot of things published that I'm my image is part of and response has been good. So that's always getting that positive feedback is nice to reinforce that you're doing something right. So,
Coach Maddox 22:51
yes, absolutely. We always really love that part. I certainly have experienced that in the launching of this podcast, as I've gotten positive feedback, it's been very affirming. So I get it completely. So this big challenge that you've gone through with the art and the transition, the pandemic played a big role in it, and there's just been a complete 360 degree turn around the way you're approaching your art. And the challenge of that. Does that relate in any way to other challenges that you've had in your life? Is there a connection there to other other things?
Paul Lorenz 23:36
Well, there there are moments. This has actually happened twice in my entire life. And this has happened over the past, just like
five, six years where
I kind of reevaluate what's going on. And I could have to create a timeline. Like to go back, like where did all of this kind of start, like this idea of, of just like getting the spark to do a self portrait. And that little, you know, exhibitionist side of me. And he, he started looking back in time, and it's like, I've always been very social. I've always been the more kind of public if it was just a little kid.
And how that
then that leads to going back to thinking yourself, like, when did you realize you were gay? And then how there's all these little links that come together that lead you to where you are now. And it's interesting to go back and see how all these little subtle
things lead forward. And it's
I think it's important to sometimes take that step back actually do a timeline. See, how did I get to here? By looking back to what led me to here? So that's that's interesting.
Coach Maddox 25:11
I'm I'm very curious about that. You use the word exhibitionist. And I, I know that's a real thing. You know, throughout my life, I have met many exhibitionists, and there have been times when I have been aware of that inside myself, in very, very mild forms. And I think that we, we all maybe have a little bit of that, because once again, it's about being seen, we all have this innate need to be seen. And that falls into that category. So I would love to know more about how you experienced that desire to be, you know, to be an exhibitionist, and, and how that where, where that came from, or how that started, at what point in your life, if you can unpack that I think this is a very curious topic that I know little about, and would love to love to just be a fly on the wall and your journey with that?
Paul Lorenz 26:20
it's not anything that suddenly
you realized, oh, on one
level, yes, there comes this point where you do realize that you like being in the spotlight you like being seen, and you like that, and that now you let paintings you let the gallery experience, you let that very
situation kind of wrapped around you. But it's different when you're just alone, like in the studio with your camera, and,
and you want to explore yourself
and you, you give yourself the time you give yourself for me that, you know, giving time for things like that is kind of a luxury.
And you run with it,
and you enjoy it. And there's something really positive about it. Even though you know, you know, going back decades, that wasn't something that you talked about or did or or anything. So years and years ago, when I was younger, Christmas, I got a lightbox. And it was for tracing things. It was my favorite gift I got at the time, I don't know how to be like, I don't know, seven, eight years old, maybe older. It came with all of these templates that you could trace. And
there were people.
And I was always like drawing women in clothes. And only once that I draw a man. And
that was an interesting moment.
Because it suddenly made me aware of maleness. And I think that ties into like, photography, self photography is like being aware of my maleness in this. And then now putting that into an exhibition just kind of magnifies my identity as from that private to public, which taken me a long, you know, a long time just because of my age and the era growing up. Were you done? Talk about these things, to now where everybody's talking about these things. And maybe the younger generations now have helped open that door. Well, yeah, it's been a slow process of discovering my maleness and all of this.
Coach Maddox 29:17
Yes, I can see that. And exhibitionism has become mainstream. I mean, you can't go into social media without seeing Oh, exactly. Like, I'm having the awareness as you're talking. I'm listening and I'm having the awareness that I did never realize this until right now. But when you say the word exhibitionist, my mind immediately goes to nudity or lewdness or public sex or I am in this moment realizing exhibitionist could cover a lot of territory. It does not Many forms of exhibitionism that has nothing to do with lewdness or nudity or sex. But that's where it because most of the time when somebody said, Oh, I'm an exhibitionist, that's what they meant. I can look back and see that they were you know, parading around in next to nothing at a at a gay pride parade, or or Halloween. Oh my gosh, you know, exactly men do on Halloween that the costume will if the weather permits, the costume will be the scantily just created thing that you can possibly create. Yep, barely covering the parts to keep them from getting arrested for public lewdness.
Paul Lorenz 30:45
Exactly. And that's part of it, too. I mean, everything has a nothing is just black and white. There's a gray spectrum. And there's, yeah, there's so there's like anything, how you come to it, is your way and you find your place on it. So and all of that is part of it. But there there's more. There's personally there was more. It's like, the music side of me like playing on stage being in public. Like that is a form of exhibitionism also, and how you carry yourself in that is part of it. And because I said the same thing, when I was in grad school for music composition, one of my advisors, I said I was an exhibitionist. And she immediately went to the whole, kind of, like nudity and things. And it's like, that's not the road I was talking about. But there's a facet of that in this so
Coach Maddox 31:51
well, yes, I mean, none of your photos that I've seen. All were there was I haven't seen any full frontal nudity. I haven't seen anything that remotely looked like any kind of sexual thing. But I could tell from some of the photos that you in fact, were naked. And so and unpack for me, I want to understand, I guess the, the draw to that, or what's the the desire to self express in that way? I'm just curious.
Paul Lorenz 32:33
Well, there are definitely more explicit, explicit images. But I share those,
um, with different circumstances
with different opportunities. I mean, there's a, an annual exhibition in with a gallery. In Canada, it's called exposed and not afraid, or something. So I've been in that exhibition twice. And those images are, are more explicit, because that is a forum for it. I don't know, one to push things
where they're not
accepted or, or, you know, you I direct things the way I want them to, you know, for the show in Mexico City, I definitely, you know, over showed more explicit things. And it was like, Yeah, we're not going down that road. And it turned out, they weren't as strong or as interesting as the hand images. So you find your, you know, it's a winding road as to where you want to bring yourself. And, you know, showing work is one thing, making the work is a whole other thing. So it's, for me, it's just, it's fun. It's a fun challenge. Like I said, it's like I I'm not a gym person or anything. So this is definitely, you know, old man territory. So it's like, finding ways to make things, you know, make myself feel right, look, right, be right, with how I want to show these things. So it's just, it's, it's a fun challenge. Just like all the work is a fun challenge in a way but this is just, you know, bringing myself into it is just another facet of how and why. And why is basically because it's just fun. It's fun.
Coach Maddox 34:39
Do you believe that your art has played a role in your evolution as an authentic man?
Paul Lorenz 34:47
Oh, certainly, certainly. It's, there's always these elements of self reflection. Like in all of my statements, but the first sentence is my work is my autobio graphy. So, all of life, all of my life is involved in this somehow.
So yeah, I reflect, I reflect on some things and then
learn from it, move on, learn from it and move forward, keep moving forward. But you can't forget your past or who, how and why you got where you are, it's good to reflect on these things and grow with it. And, again, that goes into the staying relevant, you have to grow, you have to question things you don't want to be, you know, a piece of history while you're still alive. You want to be making history as they're going along.
Coach Maddox 35:47
So would you say that art for you is perhaps similar to journaling for another person? That reflection that you talked about?
Paul Lorenz 36:00
Yeah, I guess I've never really thought about it that way.
But yeah, I've
told people like on my, my blog, I tried to post thing, new work daily, do post something. And I've told people it's like, if you want to see the growth of things, just scroll back through that, because all of the history is there. And you can see how things evolve. And you can see where the returning points and but you have to, you have to dig some to, you have to really be interested to to go back into those kinds of things. But yeah, it is kind of a journal.
Coach Maddox 36:43
There's an actual chronology going on there completely,
Paul Lorenz 36:46
completely. I like that.
Coach Maddox 36:50
Yeah, that's cool. Well, I've known other people that rather than wrote written and writing in a journal, they would draw or create something, some kind of craft or art or. And it brought them a sense of being grounded in peace, the way journaling does for some people the way prayer does for others, we all have our way of getting to that space. So I don't know that I would have ever thought of it like that. But that's certainly as you talk now, and and explain it. That was where my mind went, Wow, this must be something kind of like, journaling.
Paul Lorenz 37:33
Yeah, that that you said, it definitely. It is it's, well, art is very sensitive. So it really captures Where are you are mentally, physically, emotionally, at a given time. And photography is has always been very freeing, because it's a photograph. And you can take lots of them, especially with a digital camera, you can just take, you can really be free with things. Painting, not so much painting, it takes much more time. And it's a very different challenge. And exploring music is also a very slow process for me. So the whole, all of these things seem very disjointed. There's a thread of logic that runs through all of them. And when you look at them chronologically. You can start seeing the connections between them. And then now bringing myself into it. That's a very, it's like another bit of information that hopefully makes sense. If not, if not,
Coach Maddox 38:47
that's okay, too. Yeah, art doesn't always make sense. That's very true, oftentimes not. So this particular challenge, as you have described it, where would you say, I mean, life is a challenge and, and an art is a challenge. So I'm not suggesting that up challenge done. But I'm talking about this particular challenge that you've described that has kind of come about, through the pandemic and all all of the direction and the change. Where would you say you are in that challenge? Do you feel like you've made it over the the that turning point, that hump? Or are you still in the thick of it? Where would you say you are?
Paul Lorenz 39:30
Well, on one hand, I think I am over the hump of it. Because the work is, is out there, and it's being seen, and I'm feeling good about it. But it's also I'm still curious about it. I'm still curious as to my development with it and where I go with it, and I don't, I don't necessarily have like a master plan. Land of things. Like, I can't answer the question until the question, you know, gets into my head. And that takes time. So, I keep working and new questions come up and new answers have to be found. And the answer's is, is the making of the imagery. It's the
how far I want to push myself how far I want to push
things going into the public how far I want to push, or define what's public and private, and does private, you know, private is evolving, like, you know, paintings are now private, and they were once very public. But now fuck, you know, I don't have the master plan, I just kind of roll with it, and see how it feels. And take it from there.
Coach Maddox 40:56
So my brain is wanting to extrapolate away to make this conversation in this challenge. relevant to people that aren't artists?
Paul Lorenz 41:13
I think, what, what would you
Coach Maddox 41:17
like? It's on the tip of my tongue. What is the life lesson or the wisdom that this challenge is bringing you through? What can you start to see and connect the dots? What is the seed of wisdom that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the art itself, it's
Paul Lorenz 41:38
the, the seed of wisdom is that you
Coach Maddox 41:43
can share with, you know, the audience to where they walk away with something. Yeah,
Paul Lorenz 41:48
the state of wisdom is that we, we as individuals are stronger than we think. And we don't need to be as
reserved or as concerned.
Friends, family, the public are smarter, and more aware than we may give them credit for. And we need to acknowledge that and just take a breath,
valid artists self discoveries, and be open and, and share them. Because the rest of the world is ready for that we just need to let it happen. I agree, only letting it happen.
Coach Maddox 42:41
It's it's coming through right now. You know, as I said earlier, we all have this innate need to be seen. And so the the theme that feels like it's emerging to me, what you're talking about, and what everybody is up against, is if we are going to be seen, we must put ourselves out there. Yeah, we must. And we don't, or we won't be seen. And so your your way of putting yourself out there is your art, and it's about some of the self photography. And so, yes, so if you're out there in podcast, land listening, this is metaphorically, you can take everything that Paul has shared. And look at how you can put yourself out there. I mean, he said, this beautiful example, about how you can put yourself out there so you can be seen, you can be heard and you can be valued.
Paul Lorenz 43:45
And your way, Paul, and do it your way, because we're all unique in our in the way we approach what we do and who we are. And there's something really amazing about that. And, and just have it be secure, and that inner strength and be secure in in your journey. Because people do want to hear it. People do respect it, and they will. It gives them an example to try other things and tell their story is really interesting. A few years ago, I had a big retrospective in near Chicago of drawings. And there was a gallery director there who we started talking and I was really hoping that you might want to acquire some of the work for other things. And this was a big turning point moment also. And because he was talking about the work and he was telling me it's like yeah, it's really beautiful, but it's really not about the work. It's about your story. And you know, you're privileged, old white man. And your story just isn't that interesting.
And immediate was like,
first, that was a huge just blow. It's like, well, you know, fuck you,
Coach Maddox 45:18
that would have been my exact. You know, sorry,
Paul Lorenz 45:22
I'm, you know, you know, I don't have the story you want to hear. It's like, yeah, it's not about the work. Nobody cares about the work. It's about your story. It's like, Yeah, I can't quite buy into that either.
Coach Maddox 45:35
And even if that was true, he's telling you, you don't have a story because you're older and white and privileged.
Paul Lorenz 45:42
Yeah, basically. Know me, man, you don't know me. So
Coach Maddox 45:46
we've all heard Oprah Winfrey story about how, you know, teachers told her she'd never amount to anything.
Paul Lorenz 45:54
Coach Maddox 45:55
you know, we can't, we can't let people knock us down like that, you know, if you've got a gift, there's a reason you've been given that gift, whatever that gift is, the gift can look a million different ways. And most of us have multiple gifts. But you got that gift for a reason. And it isn't to hide in a closet somewhere. Yeah, it's to share it with the world. And I think it's our gifts.
Paul Lorenz 46:20
Yeah. And I think at that moment, that was also a bit of a turning point to look more inward rather than outward. You know, not everything is about an exhibition that everything is about you I get to choose what I put out into the public. And I think that subconsciously started this trajectory even before COVID You know, that? You don't know my story. But let me tell you my story. It's more than just pretty paintings. There's something else
Coach Maddox 46:56
it does sound like even though his words were a blow,
Paul Lorenz 47:02
they had an impact,
Coach Maddox 47:04
it turned out to be something that is that good. It caused you to go more inward. And and look for that deeper meaning for your, your art. I mean, he could have delivered it better, but thoroughly, it sounds like it still had a beneficial and positive impact. Once you were over the initial blow of I mean, I just don't understand people that say things like that I just don't get how any human being could say something like that to another human being I? I don't I don't get it.
Paul Lorenz 47:50
Yeah, it was a weird, it was a weird moment. But, you know, sometimes we need that weird moment to shake things up also. And I agree, you, and then you gather yourself, and you move forward. And there's always you know, in retrospect, there's always these little moments, these moments that, you know, it's a guide that gets you to where you you are now. And that was one little blip in time. That changed my trajectory, and made me think about things. And in the big picture, that was just one blip. And you you move forward. And I think that's probably why so, you know, make a timeline to remind myself of the story. And it's like, yeah, no, we all have stories, and they're all worth paying attention to. So
Coach Maddox 48:51
I agree. I agree, I would never invalidate another human beings story. So, I'm not saying I got to proclaim it's the most interesting story I've ever heard, necessarily, but I certainly wouldn't invalidate another human being story.
Paul Lorenz 49:07
Yeah, definitely. So yeah, the story continues, you know, as all of us, you know, our stories continue. And
especially now, you know,
being a bit older, it's like the story is more important. Know where choices I'm making now are more important. And I think that all goes back to no finding authenticity, finding, letting the world into your truth into your thoughts into your work into who you are.
And, you know, celebrating it. Absolutely.
Coach Maddox 49:49
So just so the listeners know there will be a link in the show notes to Paul's website if you'd like to check a little bit of his art out Yeah, this has been great, Paul. I've really enjoyed your perspective. And yeah, I think there was some definite seeds of wisdom in there for me and for the listeners. So let's you have anything else you'd like to add before we move into our rapid fire questions?
Paul Lorenz 50:18
No, no, just a work in progress. You know, that's what life basically is, you know, you. You learn and you grow, you reflect and you move forward.
Coach Maddox 50:29
It's a journey, not a destination.
Paul Lorenz 50:31
Coach Maddox 50:33
Absolutely. All right. Rapid fire. Question number one. When was the last time you cried in front of another human being?
Paul Lorenz 50:44
Wow, actually. Probably there
had to be either. Probably a Christmas. One thing was my whole family. There's always a moment where we fits emotionally overwhelming. Christmas is usually the only time I see my entire immediate family. So it's usually emotions run high.
Coach Maddox 51:06
Yep, I can see that. That sounds lovely. Actually, my family scattered all over. And we don't see each other very often anymore, especially for holidays. So that sounds lovely. Okay, if you only had moments to live, what would be your greatest regret? You found out you die. 10 minutes from now, what would be your greatest regret?
Paul Lorenz 51:35
only have one regret. And that was I had the opportunity
to move to New York.
Like 2005. And I wish I
did. But didn't. Other than that, I have no regrets. Cool.
Coach Maddox 51:52
And final question. Paul, what is your superpower?
Paul Lorenz 51:58
superpower? Usually, I
would say invisibility because as much as I like being seen. I also like not being seen. Selective Invisibility is my superpower.
Coach Maddox 52:12
Got it? Yeah, I think that I think we certainly naturally get some of that as gay men, you know, we just had to hide so much when we were younger that we all have the ability to make ourselves pretty invisible. And it's true. It wasn't just a necessary thing. So Well, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast. It's been a pleasure.
Paul Lorenz 52:36
Well, thank you so much. This was it was nice to have a forum to talk. Thank you so much.
Coach Maddox 52:45
Absolutely. And there's one thing I want to leave you with. And that is you are an authentic gay man, Paul. Well,
Paul Lorenz 52:55
that too is a work in progress, but I'm getting
I'm pretty good. I'm feeling good about it. Yeah, it's
Coach Maddox 53:03
a work in progress for all of us. I would agree. I'm in that same same boat so well, thank you so much.
Paul Lorenz 53:10
Thank you. If there's anything else I can ever do, just let
With an education in Bauhaus architecture, fine art, and music composition, Paul Lorenz has carved an intriguing niche in the international art world: bridging the immediacy of drawing, sound performance, music, and digital collage with the logic and detail of architecture. All media are a balance of physical structure (wood, canvas, paper, mylar); visual structure (brush strokes, scrapes, photographs, lines); and color, whether overt or atmospheric, allowing the creative process to be the final subject.
The recent work in digital photography and collage is a direct response to his recent relocation to Arizona and the Covid-19 pandemic. The daily need to create has made digital exploration a necessity. By pouring through a cache of photographs, decades in the making, new compositions and personal definitions are realized. The combination of imagery and geometry evoke architectural elevations and renderings, something that has always been the essence of Paul’s work, while also being personal reflections of self, life, location and circumstance.
Paul was born in Chicago, but has lived and worked globally through personal moves and residency opportunities. After graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, he went on to study oil painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the International School of Art in Italy (under Nicolas Carone and Irving Petlin) and the University of California, Berkeley. Paul recently completed his MFA in Music Composition from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in February 2019.
Paul exhibits regularly with galleries in the USA and Europe. As a member of Pintura Fresca, an international group of abstract artists, he has exhibited worldwide, with past exhibitions in Australia, Singapore, Austria, England and Sweden. Paul had his first solo exhibition in Europe in 2009 at Galerie Daniel Vignal in Toulouse, France, and was the only US resident artist to participate in the historic Realites Nouvelles exhibition in Paris in 2012 and 2013. While artist-in- residence at the Shangyuan Art Museum near Beijing in 2014, numerous paintings and music scores were created. His latest European exhibition was with Work in Progress Gallery in Brussels, Belgium in 2021, and is currently represented by Bruno Massa Galerie in Paris.
As a performance artist, Paul’s durational pieces, ‘untitled:LINE’ (2016) and ‘Linear Stream’ (2018), performed with his sound ensemble Perception Project, explored interior space and amplified/manipulated line drawing with graphite sticks, microphones and live musicians. His 2019 solo exhibition at Modified Arts in Phoenix, Arizona, combined acoustic sounds of drawing and trumpet.