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Artist Interview: Paul Dart of James Glancy Design

We work with Paul Dart at James Glancy Design on planning consents for many of his West End, Christmas light installations. When we decided to brighten up our office building with an art installation for our 5X10 celebrations, Paul quickly became the obvious choice. His ability to be inventive, to add joy and to playfully change a building has resulted in the delightful transformation of our office façade for 2018.

The 5X10 Rolfe Judd art installation by James Glancy Design at Old Church Court

We chatted to Paul about his work and what inspires him:

What inspired you to become an artist?
“I was brought up on a pig farm in the Chiltern Hills but knew by the age of 10 that I wanted to be a theatre designer. It became an obsession with me and I have been an artist from a very young age. By the time I was 21, I had a BA in Theatre Design from Central School of Art and Design.”

Tell us about your work and influences?
“I spent 25 years designing theatre, modern dance, exhibitions and fashion sets, everything from the costumes to the lighting, I also did outdoor performance pieces. Then 28 years ago I did my first Christmas decorations at St Christopher’s Place, this was with James Glancy, my business partner. I now do 60 different sets up and down the country and also permanent light sculptures. In my designs, it is my aspiration to create fabulous worlds with surprises and joy that is my main influence.”

Paul’s carnival themed Christmas lights in Carnaby Street

Where is your favourite or most inspirational place?
“It’s a mixture of Las Vegas, Venice and Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire. I love the story telling design of the classic 18th century gardens, and the tranquillity of being there. I also love being in any art gallery.”

Tell us about another artist you admire?
“I would definitely say Francis Bacon because of his masterful illusion in making you feel part of the painting, a glass surface means you subconsciously see yourself, your reflection is part of the viewing of the picture. I love the idea of the story and things that involve you and create an emotional reaction. These are about moments of joy and are also about how your environment affects you.”

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
“I did have a stint as a spot operator on a west end stage but my job has always been about working as an artist. I can knit, do macramé, sew, make sails for a boat and make clothes, I once worked with Zaha Hadid, I made clothes for her. As a designer in theatre, I believe you should be able to make what you design. It is important to know how to make things so you are not designing in the ether. This process means you understand the finessing of something.”