Patrick Maxcy | Escapism | Artist Interview
|to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities|
"This newest series of paintings speaks to being contained daily during the pandemic and looking for a creative escape using only past memories and traveling stories all within a whimsical dreamlike state. It is heavily inspired by extensive travels throughout Australia and Alaska just before the pandemic. Scenes are juxtaposed against threatened wildlife I admire in moody yet playful atmospheres full of personal detailed symbolism. The paintings also explore becoming a father during it all and include new child-like experiences full of wonder and curiosity."
I would love to ask you more about your conceptual ideas regarding your solo exhibition: “Escapism”. How has becoming a father come through in your newest body of work?
Patrick: In the newest series I used my painting to escape everything going on in the world. I wanted to get lost in the work and in my own imagination. All the work in connected through a whimsical dreamlike state and small personal details. I normally research animals that are vulnerable and threatened and focus on them within my paintings. Since becoming a father I’ve had new experiences running around outdoors with my son. His curiosity of being outside and seeing nature re-sparked my joy. So I felt the urge to combine him and my creatures into their own world where they can interact together in a few of the newest works.
What is something that people don’t usually know about your practice?
Patrick: I often do a lot of research before I start sketching out an idea. Knowing all the details and history of a species is important to me. As well as creating a storyline that connects the work to the viewer. I’ll write down ideas or even titles and I might not paint that piece for months or even years. If it sticks with me then I have to paint it to get it out there. This research and creating art is an obsession.
Why do you think that animals have become such a focus in your practice?
Patrick: When I was in 5th grade I remember wanting to be an environmental scientist. I’ve always been fascinated with the natural world and how unique specific animals are. As well as how adept creatures can be to their environment. Combining various animals from different locations helps to share the unique storyline involved.
I’ve noticed that the animals you paint have eyes are surprisingly emotive and human-like. Do you purposefully personify your painted subjects?
Patrick: I 100% do that on purpose. Over time I’ve wanted my audience to connect with the animals I am painting. So I always paint them with human qualities especially in the eyes. Helping to feel sympathy, hope and an overall better connection with the average viewer. Usually it’s my own personal emotion I am feeling at the time in relation to the story of the specific piece.
Do you have any superstitions or traditions that influence your creative life?
Patrick: Taking time to get outside. Being in nature helps me find balance and reset my creative drive. The two go perfectly hand in hand for me.
Can you speak to how these adventures to South America, Africa, Alaska, and Australia have inspired you and your practice? What do you get out of those trips?
Patrick: Traveling before the pandemic was a huge part of my life. I would often travel to paint large scale murals as well as take long road trips. My mind always races with excitement during travel. Exploring new places has always inspired my work. I love learning about a specific area, the local environment and animals. Seeing things in person rather then through a screen has a massive effect on the overall experience that is later reflected within my work.
What is your favorite paint color?
Patrick: Usually I always use a light blue hue within my work. For this specific body of work I wanted to convey a moody unique world. So the green cloud-filled skies helped in that aspect. My go-to colors I love blending together are earth tones, such as raw sienna and Naples yellow.
You’ve painted murals across the world, from Alaska, to Nicaragua, to Uganda. Ideally, where else in the world would you like to leave your creative mark?
Patrick: Anywhere where children can see the work and be inspired with joy and questions. Coastal areas always make me happy. I would love to paint in areas of Australia, Ireland, Norway, and British Columbia.
What is something that you believe in deeply?
Patrick: Nature. Humans have an obligation to protect it. Protect the animals and the environment. We are all connected.