October, 2007


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Five Questions +2

1. Which came first, art or animation?
It was the art first, but it was half assed. I wasn't really into art, I just didn't know what else to do. I didn't get into animation until my last year of university.  Late night studying at Umass Amherst, I think for an art history exam,  I was just tooling around the library and I picked up the book Illusion of life... I was hooked (on) the idea of moving artwork, creating a living breathing character.  

2. Who and/or what would you consider your biggest influences?
When I was younger all I wanted to do was skateboard graphics.  So, in that, my earliest influence was probably the legendary Jim Philips. I still think of his stuff when I do my paintings.   currently, my major influence is the sculptor Gustav Vineland, his anatomy is insane, and the way he uses the figure is pretty much the same way I do.  Also, I'm continually influenced by Jamie Hewlett, also Humberto Ramos.  Within animation, I always drop the name Hisko Hulsing, who has been a solid influence now for over 5 years.  I talk about influence a lot on my blog, it's something that is really important to me, and I think people don't discuss their own enough. 

3. Could you discuss your painting, from subject matter to techniques?  
My paintings are similar to my films in themes, they're humanistic and always about figures coming together to form larger configurations.  When you pile a bunch of people on top of one another, interesting things happen.  Overall, a pattern forms that can look very pleasing, but within that pattern I'm always surprized at the individual characters that creep up.  It's just like real people, as a group we all look pretty much the same, but look a bit closer and we're all so different.

4. What would you consider the ideal work environment?
I have it pretty good right now, a large space in Manhattan.  When I get frustrated I can walk around the city, and more often than not, come back inspired to do more work.  I would love to not be dependent on the computer.  I hate my Cintiq (over-rated over-priced gadget), I hate my computer, I hate all that stuff, but I couldn't do what I do without it.

5. Which is more nerve- wracking, a gallery show or a film screening?
About the same, except in  a theater you can hide in the dark. At a gallery show you have to stand there and actually talk, explain it all, even if you can't or don't know how.  I also think that in a gallery people take you a bit more serious.  Animators are plagued by the whole "cartoon" thing, it's hard to have a serious art-minded conversation.  At a gallery, nobody talks about pitching to Cartoon Network, or John Lasseter, or the latest version of After Effects.

+1. Is there a difference in creative satisfaction between making a painting and making a film?
A painting is just so final. Boom. There it is, static, in front of you.   A film moves and changes and can be affected by the audience or the projection or sound.  So I would have to say a painting is just more consistent.

+2. What artistic endeavor would you like to try but have not had the opportunity?
That whole feature film thing is something I've been really trying at, but it's just so huge, it's tough to get a solid start.

Artwork for this article is the property of Patrick Smith.

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Patrick Smith

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Patrick Smith's gallery show Configurations can be seen at the CVZ Contemporary Gallery, 446 Broadway in New York City through October 16th.