Patrick James Doherty

Posted by: Cleo on the 2nd of October, 2012, 2 comments
Posted in: art, artist interview, Australia, Patrick Doherty

Name, age, where are you from?
My name is Patrick James Doherty, I'm 31, I'm a Pisces and I was born in Perth. Coincidentally I was born on the same day as Shaquille O'Neal, Yok, and Tyler the Creator. And 9 million other people.

Can you describe your studio space and the place in which it resides?
My studio space resides in my front of the television. It's a one-bedroom flat. My studio space varies between my bed and a shed in Port Bouvard that belongs to my girlfriend's parents. When they're not there, Sera (my girlfriend) and I go down. I use the shed to make my prints and paintings. The shed used to hold a caravan, but they bought a caravan that's too big for the shed, so now they've got no use for it. If a painting gets too big for the shed then I try to find a wall big enough to stick it up on. That's why residencies are fun, because I can mess up their place instead.

How do you describe your work to strangers?
I would say I draw pictures, seedy pictures with different scenarios happening. It looks like a troubled child did them with their left hand. I try to create a narrative so people can read my art in different ways. I'm really surprised that people look at my stuff at all. I don't really look at art unless it's real fun, so that's why I try to make images with more things in them to look at.

Study or self taught?
I did TEE art, studied at TAFE for three years, then got a degree at Curtin, which took another two years. But I never learnt how to paint while I was at University - I studied drawing and print making at Uni. I thought I could teach myself to paint 'properly', but I never bothered. I enjoyed drawing - I was probably the second best in my class...this other guy drew heaps more realistic than me but I could draw faster. I would measure myself against the other people at Uni. Printmaking was interesting to me because even though I never did a print I was happy with, I still passed. Straight after Uni I curated an exhibition Duty Free, which was pretty good. Then I got signed to Goddard de Fiddes, and started doing more exhibitions. My Dad wanted me to become a hairdresser or something, and I really wanted to do something he'd disapprove of, because he had a shit job his whole life, and didn't really enjoy it. So I was always going to do the opposite of whatever he suggested. I was going to do whatever I wanted to do. And art is pretty fun.

What are you reading at the moment?
I choose to avoid reading at all costs. I don't even read my reviews - I get Sera to read them out to me. However, I do read the paper sometimes. I'll read stories if they're about serial killers and shit, then I'll read the middle bit - see if there's any good dogs in the pet section. I really want a French Bulldog but they're heaps expensive. Then I'll look to see if there's any NBA news at the back. I flip through lots of books for the pictures. I am a very visual person. Just so there's no confusion, I'm not illiterate, just lazy.

Your work has a lot of religious and mythical undertones. Are you a religious person? What draws you to these themes?
I wouldn't say I was a religious person although I do enjoy religious and mythological iconography. I have a lot of religious tattoos but I'm not sure what they're about really. When I show someone my palms, I've got tattoos on them which say 'Jesus' on one, and 'Loves You' on the other. That one means Jesus loves you 'cause he knows I don't love you. I like the idea of sharing a belief with other people however I'm not sure it helps. I think religion's interesting in that they create constructs and ways for people to live and feel a certain way about living. There's all the nice things about religion, like they can teach you how to live, but on the other hand they are against stuff that isn't their business. I don't like the thought of a dogmatic way of living, I don't like the idea of living how other people expect you to live. But I reckon if I met Jesus he would like my tatts. Then I would ask him if I could be reincarnated as a tall black guy with a brother, because I'm a short white guy who doesn't have a brother. I always wanted a brother.

Favourite materials?
Definitely quality materials like expensive nice canvas, german linen, nice bright oil paints, however I'm not very fussy and will paint on most things. Lead pencil and some nice paper is probably my favourite cause I can sit in bed and draw while watching TV or a movie. If I'm doing a big canvas I have to get out of bed, which is why I charge heaps more for 'em.

You recently linked up with the Chrissie Parrott Performance Company on a multi-art production. Can you tell us a bit about the project and how it all went?
I was doing a big painting in a residency and gave Chrissie some drawings because she complimented my work. A couple years later she asked if I would be interested in making a play from my drawings and paintings. My part of the play was to provide images that Reg Cribb (screen writer/Playwright), Jonathan Mustard (music director), and Chrissie Parrott (choreographer) would create a play of some sort with. It was an interesting process, I painted some backdrops and was involved in the costume design. The finished play (so far) was a grotesque, sad, strange, violent tale about the end of the world. The performers were very good and made me quite uncomfortable in some parts but it was quite successful. It was very flattering to have such accomplished people take an interest in my work.

Do you ever paint on the street anymore?
Only if I drink, which makes me a terrible person, terrible friend, terrible boyfriend and a terrible graffiti artist. So, not so much.

Upcoming exhibitions/projects you want to share?
I just bought a new print press, so I've been doing some new prints, which I haven't done for a while. I'll probably have a show in Melbourne next year and again in Perth at the Venn Gallery.

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