Alon Paul on 365 days of Madonna and creating art out of his obsession
Artist Alon Paul says he hopes that if Madonna ever sees his new show Muse:365, she'll be equal parts flattered and terrified. This time in 2011, Paul quit drinking and created a piece of art of or inspired by the Material Girl every day for the entire year, and he'll display them all at a grand opening Wednesday night at the Art Salon. See the 365 versions of the diva, pick up a commemorative T-shirt and graphic novel created by Paul, and be sure to practice your vogue. We caught up with Paul in advance of creating the very last piece for the show (live models painted in the pop star's likeness) about turning his lifelong obsession into art.
- Photos: A preview of Alon Paul's 365 art pieces inspired by Madonna
- Photos: Behind the scenes at Denver Fashion Week
- Sneak peak! Jennifer Goodland's Big Year Colorado photography gallery at Leela
Westword: What made you want to complete this project?
Alon Paul: Basically, I grew up very poor in the finest trailer parks in Nebraska and Wyoming, and didn't really have anybody to look up to. And suddenly this character Madonna came along who was colorful and seemed like she was completely on top of her game, and she didn't take shit from anybody, and so from a very young age, probably around seven, I've just constantly followed her and basically looked to her for guidance and how to be a good person and all that kind of good stuff. So then years later, once I got out into the real world as an adult, I just continually made the wrong decisions. Over the last couple of years it's just been a situation where I wanted to fix it and I didn't know how, and I was just down on myself, and so a few years back I attempted to do this project, and I made it about halfway through. But because I was more interested in partying and not really taking care of things, I didn't finish it. So this last August 16, which is Madonna's birthday, I woke up that morning and told myself, "Are you gonna do this? Are you gonna do something with yourself?" And that morning I decided that I was gonna complete it, and every day for a year, I was going to devote myself to doing a piece of artwork, either of or inspired by Madonna. And along with that, I said no drinking for a year, no drinking until it's all finished, because I knew that would sort of make me lose focus. And now we're a year later and it's almost finished.
How has your life changed in the past year?
I realized how much money I actually make, first of all. I have gotten into amazing shape, which is something that anybody who looks at Madonna is like, if there's one thing they can say nice about her, it's that she's in amazing shape. I have realized sort of the people in my life that actually cared and were backing me as opposed to trying to constantly be the popular kid. I have always felt like the slutty cheerleader who's trying to fit in with all the popular kids, and I've just realized that it's not about trying to fit into groups, it's about trying to be yourself, and ultimately people flock to you. I've just focused on being myself regardless of whether it's the normal thing to do or the most popular thing to do, and it's done wonders for my self-esteem, for getting up in the morning. I'm so excited to get up and go out and do things, because I'm doing it to make myself happy instead of a bunch of other people.
Alon Paul 5-29-12