"In The Studio With:..." is a weekly feature that takes us into the private creative spaces of emerging artists to discuss their work and career.
Patrick Todd is an accomplished Brooklyn based artist who has exhibited at spaces along the East Coast and as far as Warsaw, Poland. Patrick has his work represented by the prestigious online gallery, Saatchi Art.
His stunning paintings combine a sense of mid-20th century modernist aesthetics with an affinity for the surrealists that imbues them with a depth of field and dimensionality. Borrowing from the surrealists a belief in the artistic value of altered consciousness, he says that he is most receptive to ideas during periods of tiredness.
Anthony Philip Fine Art: You are a painter, photographer, and music composer. How does each practice inform the other?
Patrick Todd: As a person with the ability to experience synesthetic events, I find that the different forms are interrelated by default. Life is best when vibrations are intuitively understood as thought patterns. Being human, we are capable of a myriad of expressive forms. I choose these for the sake of simplicity, but I feel that we should never limit ourselves to any one form, as the best way to make a thing is to ask the idea what form it should take. By allowing the idea a voice in its creation, the energy can flow through you, effortlessly. However, any idea can and should be understood as having aspects of all other forms of expression. A color is a sound, a line can be sculpture, an image taken at a particular moment in time, can be the original idea, fused to a subconscious exploration of filtered and simplified elements in a compositional playground. I am always after creation in its highest vibration.
APFA: What artists have you looked to for inspiration?
PT: I like the sculptural work of Picasso, Mark Di Suvero, Judy Pfaff, and Frank Stella's late works for their intuitive processes. They inhabit a space for me that is as close as you can get from thought to object. Contemporary painters Carrie Moyer, Kyle Staver, and Ron Gorchov. My interest in paint is to find the light behind the colors. Sangram Majumdar and Don Christenson are also interesting and inspirational.
APFA: What are you trying to say with the work you make?
PT: I Like the idea that art can be contemplative and active at the same time. By active I mean that the work operates to create an environment that elevates the vibrational space around you. Subconsciously spurring the mind to also elevate the thoughts it generates. There is a quiet wisdom in objects that calms a body down and allows one to be open to greater levels of conscious thought.
PFA: How long do you work on a piece before considering it done or moving on to something else? Take us through the process of making one of your paintings.
PT: My paintings have multiple stages of being. I find the the best time for me to come up with ideas is when I'm tired, so most of the drawing I do is made between waking and sleeping, either just before bed or just after. The less opportunity I give myself to get in the way of my drawing the better. In this way, I feel closer to my subconscious mind and I am able to work through many ideas all at once. At the end of a month, I'll have sufficient material to be able to find drawings that want to be paintings. These compositions then become the short list. When I begin painting, much of the heavy lifting has been finished, so I can get to work immediately. I generally work on anywhere from 5 to 10 canvases at a time and can have them done inside a month. Sometimes 1 or 2 canvases need more time than the others, but it is a well oiled system that has been proving to be both enjoyable and productive.
PFA: What has been a breakthrough moment in your career so far?
PT: Every day that I am able to create work is a breakthrough moment for me. That being said, it is especially wonderful when I am able to find a home for a painting I have created. Just knowing my work has an opportunity to actively alter someone's environment is the ultimate joy. Every year I feel blessed to be able to offer that to someone.
If you would like to find out more about Patrick and his art, please visit his website at: http://www.patricktodd.net