Paul Shilling


Born 1953, Rama, Ontario, Paul attended art studies at Georgian College in the early 90’s, but is primarily self-taught, and informed through his life experience.
“For me, painting is a medium for healing, for celebrating the spirit, and it is a gift. It is an opportunity to explore and understand myself, and my place and relationship within the circle of creation.”
As an aboriginal man, Paul feels the need to shed the image that was taught to him as a child – that he was undesirable, shameful, unworthy. This continual redefinition, the questioning and searching, keeps Paul’s work alive; seeking to shed the old self and invite the new, and ever-changing self. As he expresses himself, he heals himself; the inner voice and the inner eye clear and open for the energy of the image to move through him from “the great house of invention”. This is the manifest vision from the sky world which springs to life in the paintings.
“I have been haunted by faces since my early childhood. Faces of the living, of the dying, and of rebirth. I see the many masks and layers of these faces, but I am fascinated with what is actually underneath.”
Paul knows that most of our faces are cover-ups, well trained to conceal a lifetime of pain, shame and guilt. The masks universally are all the same, yet what is underneath is utterly unique, and seeks expression. The many personas that we create, keep us from knowing who we really are. Energy goes into self-protection and self-denial,
instead of self-liberation.
The child, the adult, the elder all live simultaneously inside of us, and are wrapped in the blanket of our sprit. But their voices are muted, their cries for recognition unheard. Yet still the indestructible spirit seeks to emerge, to be felt, heard and seen. There are few who can actually show their true self.
“There are many bundles that we talk about; the pipe, the drum,
the rattle, medicines, and our children. Those are all sacred.
But I believe the most sacred bundle of all is the little girl and
little boy that lives inside of us. So the healing begins, the
brushes begin to move, eyes begin to open, the fire is rekindled,
and the new self arises. Heal the child within, and life becomes
sacred. Living begins to mean something again. I’m seeking
to heal, to know joy again, and to express the true self.”