1979 The story began as many do, with an old camera and too many subjects just waiting to be recorded. As Paul Sixta, age 12, immersed himself in the fascinating world of photo- and videography, nobody took much notice. The vague images of the family housecat in the windowpane; the reflection of clouds in his alarm clock; family members going about their daily routine almost unaware of Paul’s buzzing camera. Who could suspect these simple images would one day inspire him to become an artist?
Certainly not Paul himself, who went through the process mostly intuitively, feeling solely the desire to literally share his viewpoint with an imaginary audience. Be it through the use of video, a medium he would later come to despise for its harshness and “lack of life”, or through the photograph from a simple 110 film format camera, he developed a fascination for capturing the world around him the way he subjectively perceived it.
While this urge never changed over the years, the medium, however, did. Whereas as a teenager growing up in the nineties, video seemed the most logical means, Paul’s enrollment in art school brought him new and exciting possibilities. Possibilities such as the usage of 8 mm film, which is at present day his format of choice. Its organic nature and its fragility were qualities he felt closely matched what he envisioned in his mind, which has always remained the starting point of his films. When forced to use video for academic purposes, Paul would create his own filters from slides and use small lights to create a similar organic atmosphere.
Aside from the technical means and a dynamic creative atmosphere, art school also brought him a more serious approach to still photography. Paul began to create and edit what would later become his “photografics”; a combination of graphic design and photography, using many layers and textures and thus creating surreal and somewhat dreamlike imagery. Where film requires sense and structure, this work shows most purely Paul’s fascination with images, which seem almost put together like a frail collage of mental pictures.
Eventually even his most conservative teachers had to recognize not only his distinct visual style and choice of theme, but also the artistic progress he had made over the years. Though throughout the remainder of his time there Paul would still be seen as a stubborn, somewhat singular artist, his work showed promise and stood out to that of his peers. Paul graduated in 2003 with his film “Silently Broken”, which played at film festivals around the world and won the Dutch Talent & Pro Student Award 2003.
In his latest work, Paul’s original fascinations are still apparent, though there are also changes. There is a stronger focus on letting story lead the image, a greater understanding of the psychological processes of characters, and a deeper regard for the relationship between director and actors – which is especially important since Paul’s films contain little or no dialogue and often deal with sensitive subject matter such as nudity and sexuality. It is only recently that Paul feels he is entitled to call himself an “artist”, learning more every day about what this means precisely.