Five questions to Paige Ring

Five questions to Paige Ring

Paige Ring is a self-taught contemporary abstract artist, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1981). Paige studied and worked in fashion design for several years, creating womenswear for some of the world's top department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Holt Renfrew and Harvey Nichols. She currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, and her paintings can be found in several galleries in the Toronto area, as well as private collections across the world.How did you get into art?

I started making my own clothing at a really young age, and I followed that thread to University where I studied historic costume & fashion design. Cloth was the first medium I truly learned to appreciate. Using just a roll of white canvas I could layer, pleat, fold, drape, and ultimately turn it into a complex piece of art. It developed my appreciation for how complex simple things can be, and this is a perspective I bring to my fine art practice. I worked in fashion for a while, and later studied/worked as a graphic designer. I think that helped shape my composition and color skills, but ultimately I missed getting my hands dirty. I started painting to get away from my computer and it quickly became the only thing I wanted to do.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

Graphic meets minimal. I’m drawn to the subtleties that show up in heavily layered surfaces, and the history that peeks through when you scratch and scrape back those layers. The history of a painting is a lot like the human experience, every event leaves a mark, and each mark creates a balance of perfect imperfection.

With every body of work I try to push my materials and technique so each day in the studio feels like an experiment. I think that’s where the magic happens. I’m currently using loose weave frayed fabrics collaged into my work, I love the impact it makes when you get up close. Experimenting with different materials and tools keeps me fully engaged in the process of creating, and helps me find that elusive flow state where there’s nothing but you, the materials.How do you go about developing your work?

In the early stages I work very quickly and on multiple pieces at once. I’ll lay down bold color, expressive marks, and collage, without really considering the finished work. I don’t think much about the finished piece early in the process. Most of it will eventually be covered up, and the work tends to lose that unexpected punch you get with spontaneity. I love odd color combinations so I consider those pairings, but usually not until my second or third pass.

When I find something I want to refine, or a theme developing across several pieces, that’s when I slow down and become more deliberate with my marks. Who or what influences you?

Music is a big influence in my art, I hardly ever create without it. My family is very musical and I have a deep appreciation for all genres and decades of music. For instance, one of my bodies of work was created while only listening to music from the 70s, and another while listening to drum & bass. I think like visual art, music has the ability to instantly transport you, and I love the way certain beats and melodies influence my marks.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

In 2024 I plan to find out how different environments impact my work. I’ve been invited to attend a month-long art residency in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, and another in Orquevaux, France. Both locations are absolutely stunning and fairly secluded, so I’m excited to see how my work shifts without the noise of everyday life and responsibilities.Learn more about the artist: