We recently released a brand new print from Long Beach based artist, Dave Van Patten. We sat down with the man to get some answers regarding his process, inspiration and executiion.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on too many projects, but 3 of them are extremely exciting to me. One is the album cover for a psych rock band, Dustin Lovelis. I have always been inspired by psychedelic album art and love any time I am able to associate my art with music. The album is called "Dimensions," which inspired me to get extremely detailed and play with themes of metaphysical dimensions. I tried to mix Escher with Peter Max with Edward Gorey. The Second project is a stop motion video for a band called Miniature Houses. While I provide the art images, an animator friend is putting them to motion. We are both inspired by Monty Python style stop motion, so we are starting from that vein and venturing off into the great beyond, inspired by the final scene of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The third project is an ongoing collection of illustrated short stories. I love creating magical realism type fables for adults. I call them "children's books for grown ups." These stories are highly surreal, but also bloody and absurd. At the end of the chaos though I try to have somewhat of a point. The ongoing collection of these short stories is building until I get it to a point I feel it is ready to be published. The only story I feel is truly at that point right now is "the Beard of Buffalo Timbers" http://davevanpattenart.wordpress.com/buffalo-timbers-zine/
Tell us about your process from inspiration to execution?
Inspiration generally comes a handful of ways. Half the time I'm inspired by weirdo conversations with friends. Someone might say something that has nothing to do with art, but for some reason it sparks a huge flame that sends me down a whole other road. Sometimes it comes as a response to world events or the city around me, usually regarding something I feel powerless about. In these cases I would have the idea planned out in my head in advance, then it just comes down to sketching it correctly and finishing it. Other times there is NO idea or maybe just a vague hint. From this void, if I attempt to start something, anything, usually an idea will come, and lots of the time these are the weirdest and the best ideas. I push my mind and try to squeeze juice out of a dry rag but find that rag never completely dry. This is also the most interesting because it allows my subconscious to speak. The execution process is basically the same every time- loose to tight. I start with pencil, without fear of messing up. This could be while I'm on the subway, in line at the DMV, maybe even a couple beers in. Regardless, I have the most fun with the first part because I know that no pencil stroke is final. The finalization, pen or paint process is the most fulfilling because I establishing the official lines that define a character, but is also the most stressful.
What have you been listening to lately?
I am really into the psyche rock trend right now! I had an obsessive phase of listening to Ty Segall every day for 3 months, then White Fence every day for another 3 months, and for these current last 3 months it's been Froth, Cate Le Bon, Holy Wave, Kurt Vile, and prominently Rainman who I had the privilege of doing an album cover for.
School vs. Self Taught?
I am mostly self taught. I've been drawing constantly my whole life. I did spend the first year of college as an art major, but at the time I needed to take a break from art. Instead I studied Creative Writing and started a band. After all this faded I realized I could use the inspiration from these other things to help out my art, and that is when my true voice surfaced.
If your work had a soundtrack, what would it be and why?
If my work had a soundtrack I'd go with Beatles' "Revolver." Everything from "Good Day Sunshine" and "Yellow Submarine" to "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "I'm Only Sleeping." This is the tone I'm going for in my art. However, I do like to through in a little realism like Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage or Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man" or a little anger, like CCR's "Fortunate Son" or the Stooges' "Search and Destroy," or a little midnight quiet tenderness of Nick Drake's "Pink Moon."
What do you want people to take away from your work when they see it?
Obviously every piece of art has a different feeling, but generally every piece I do has the attempt to love and strengthen others. I want to provide hope and comfort for weary souls and a punk rock middle finger in your face for those who are too complacent. On a more innocent level, I really want to make people laugh and stretch out the bounds of their mind's creativity.
What does the future hold for you?
For the future, I hope to focus on the illustrated short stories, the "children's books for grown ups. I think publishing my art in book form is the greatest. An equal dream would be to find a daily or weekly humor comic gig, since humor is truly my favorite form of fuel.
Where can we find you?
Most of my art shows are in the Long Beach or Los Angeles area,. You can see my portfolio and stories at: http://www.davevanpattenart.com/