Nerdlocker Artist Interview: Paul Shipper!


We’re back with another artist interview! I only recently discovered Paul’s work during the Bottleneck Gallery show “The Gang’s All Here.” We all know I’m a huge Star Wars freak, but his digital print of The Good Guys was amazing! This of course led me to discover more of his work, which was just as incredible. How in the heck could a gem like this stay hidden from my Nerdy radar? The answer was simply, he’s an Englishman living in New Zealand. And now for the Nerdlocker exclusive premiere, Paul Shipper tackles my extremely difficult questions!

Nerdlocker (NL): Why the move to New Zealand? Are you in search of Hobbits?

Paul Shipper (PS):
Hobbitses! Yes! Well I’ve been to Hobbiton a couple of times now which was filmed about an hour from where I live, did have hopes of working on the films in some capacity once landing here but nothing as yet 😉

NL: Where do you find inspiration and what are some of your influences?

PS: Influences, there are so many… The great American illustrators, Leyendecker, Rockwell but the greatest influence on me and my work and the whole reason for becoming an illustrator has been Drew Struzan. Growing up with his posters pinned to my bedroom wall. These days it’s my studio that has some of Drew’s work on it’s walls, although mostly in frames these days… being invited to meet Drew for a day at his home studio while I was passing through L.A. was one of the
most memorable moments of my life. I find inspiration in many other places, not just illustrators of today, but in books, music, film and great TV shows… of which there have been a few of late. My family and friends are a continual inspiration to me too.

NL: When did you get your professional start in the art world?

PS: My first gig was probably winning a competition to illustrate the Christmas card for the Manchester Evening News while I was in my final year at University. much to my tutors detest… he didnt like my work very much.

NL: How did you get involved in creating such fantastic nerd related art?

PS: I have always drawn and painted the things I love and a lot of those things have been films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones of which I am a big fan of and they have a fairly large fan base. When I was younger I would post Indiana Jones art to a website called TheRaider.Net where I got quite a bit of exposure from like minded fans, that was fun getting feedback in the early days of the internet, the world got smaller and bigger at the same time for me and so many others.

NL: What’s your favorite nerd related snack?

PS: Maltesers*.

NL: Who are some of your favorite artists?

PS: Drew Struzan, Richard Amsel, JC Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell, Mucha, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jock, Olly Moss, Mark Raats, Mark McHaley, There are so many illustrators and artists who’s work I love, these were off the top of my head…

NL: What posters/art do you have on display in your house?

PS: Drew Struzan’s First Ten Years giclée, also, Drew graciously sends me a mini print each year over the past few years, so they are framed in the studio too. Olly Moss’ Dark Knight Rises, Mark Raats recently sent me a signed copy of his Raiders IMAX poster as a wedding gift, so thats up there. but with limited wall space it’s a bummer, I’d love to have every poster I have collected framed and on display, but I have but a humble abode…

NL: I know it’s an Australian favorite, but have you tried Vegemite?

PS: Yuck!

NL: Star Wars of Star Trek?

PS: Star Wars… However, love the JJ Abrahams take on Trek… look forward to seeing where that goes. And with Star Wars VII now on the cards… wow.

NL: What do you do in your free time?

PS: Traveling the country here in New Zealand. We do a lot of hiking (they call it tramping here), love to take photographs, watch movies at home or on the big screen, make music, I play piano, have a Korg keyboard with lots of orchestral sounds on it that I love. I play drums and also sing from time to time. Spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter.

NL: Give us a Nerdy secret that most people don’t know about you.

PS: I own a bulwhip.

NL: What is your favorite movie?

PS: Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favourite film of all time. It has everything you could want and more, probably my most watched film bar none.

NL: What is your favorite video game?

PS: Havent had much time to play Video Games, but we have a PS3 and my daughter loves the Toy Story 3 game… but back in the day I loved Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow multiplayer. Playing with your mates online was great fun. MGS was always good…Also loved Batman: Arkham Asylum and Medal of Honour multiplayer, hey, I was even part of a Team – we were called Mercenaries @ War or M@W for short…

NL: What is your favorite comic book or comic book character?

PS: Batman. Dark, Violent, Detective, Cool Car, Gadgets…. and great villains! Jock’s work on ‘The Black Mirror’ blew me away and has reinvigourated my love for comics…

NL: What are some of your upcoming projects?

PS: A comic book, a children’s book, soundtrack CD cover and a movie poster.

NL: Is there a question you’ve always wanted to be asked, but have never found the opportunity?

PS: Yeah, how about…“Would you like to create the poster art for the new Star Wars/Indiana Jones/Lord of the Rings/Star Trek/James Bond/Spielberg/Peter Jackson Movie?…” Still waiting for that one.

NL: We’re on the case Paul!

Thank you so much to Paul for taking the time to answer our silly questions. He really is an amazing artist, but more importantly a great guy. If you haven’t been to his website yet, you have to check out more of his work – Paul Shipper Studio. Also, please check out his shop and help support one of the greats – I can’t fathom how those Star Wars prints are still available!

For more Nerdy news and interviews, stay tuned to!

*Yeah I had to look it up too – – Maltesers consist of a roughly spherical malt honeycomb centre, surrounded by milk chocolate. They are most popular in Denmark, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Canada, Poland, France, Hong Kong, and Portugal.

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I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!