Paco Raphael travels the world in search of inspiration for his vivid and arresting urban scenes. As well as photographing individual features that give a city its character such as examples of architecture, design and fashion, he is fascinated by the more wide-angle view. He spends weeks exploring the different materials that are used and manipulated, the contrasts between nature and the man-made environment, and the personality and culture of the streets.
Raphael was born in 1975 and was educated at The Hague University. Growing up in this vibrant Dutch city gave him a passion for graffiti, skateboarding and hip-hop and it was this that informed his early artistic leanings and still influences him today. Over the years however, his style has evolved into a distinctive fusion of old and new. Once he has created his foundation cityscape, he introduces elements of urban industrial life in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and adds images of films, music, typography and architecture all assembled from pre-existing posters. By uniting past and present in this way he creates a timeless interpretation with a strong sense of place and a unique personality.
Raphael began his working life in multimedia design, undertaking commissions for big brand names including Philips, Renault and MTV Network. Always interested in expressing himself through his own artwork, he first explored combining painting with digital media, then went further, departing from the digital element altogether and working exclusively in paints for a time. Honing his skills in this area he went on to develop a technique which brought all these media together and working in paints, pen, photography and digital media, he has now established his highly recognisable style.
In 2018 he redefined himself as a professional artist and within five years he saw his work achieve success in galleries all over the world. He has collectors in Europe and the US, Australia and China and is collected by international footballer Robin van Persie and Dutch cycling star Tom Dumoulin.