If Jason Patterson isn’t sleeping, he’s probably painting. And if he’s not painting, he’s most likely at work. And if he’s not at work,... well, you get the idea. Patterson is originally from Champaign, but has made his home over in Urbana and is a rabid artist. The ideas surrounding his paintings are bold, sometimes even verbalized through the use of font on the canvas but mainly, through repeated use of people, Patterson reveals humanity.
See for yourself:
Consumed by: Making work. It’s all I do and all I spend money on. If I’m not doing the 9 to 5 at Art Coop, I’m probably at home painting.
Occupation: Artist & Art Coop clerk.
When did you start to paint?: I started drawing pictures as soon as I was able to hold a crayon. When I was little I drew a lot of drawing of Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Walter Payton and for some reason, killer whales. I think I was really into Free Willy.
What are you currently working on?: Everything I have been working on in the past 6 or 7 months will be up at Caffe Paradiso starting this Saturday. But I have two plans in the works. The first is doing large charcoal drawings of people with inspiration coming from the 19th century and also artists from that period like Ingres, Prud’hon, David and also, Manet. The other is rehashing an old project. I want to do a series of paintings of Nancy Reagan. I did some small studies of the ol’ battle axe in the past and I’d like see that idea through.
Inspiration/motivation comes from…: I get my inspiration from old masters mostly. I try my best to not be too derivative but if I must, I try bringing back forgotten styles or themes that might be relevant today. I get my motivation from the thought: “Everyone who became successful, especially in the art world, worked hard all the time and they were always working.” Keeping that in mind keeps me making work 24/7.
What’s difficult about being an artist here?: I guess the only difficult thing is that C-U isn’t a big city. So there isn’t a real solid market for fine art. But it’s really not that bad. There are plenty of places to show work. But because this isn’t Chicago, you can’t ask for Chicago prices.
When you’re not making art, you are…: Working at Art Coop. It’s my second home. Might even be my first home. It’s the best job for an artist. In the two years I’ve worked there, there’s never been a day when I didn’t want to go to work.
What is your biggest accomplishment?: Every time I finish a new piece that I’m satisfied with, it always feels like my biggest accomplishment. I hate to give a politician sounding answer, but it’s true.
Where would you like to see art displayed in Champaign-Urbana?: I think C-U does a pretty decent job when it comes to showing art. I really can’t think of what more this type of town could do. For the most part, I really like it here.
Biggest vice with Champaign-Urbana: Well it was the “chief” — but I guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore. So I guess it would have to be conservatives. This is why I live and try to stay in Urbana as much as possible.
Purest part of Champaign-Urbana: I love the state streets in Urbana. I love walking down them and looking at the old houses. Whenever I feel like I’m getting tired of CU, I just walk up and down them.
Jason Patterson was born and raised in C-U. He is either working at Art Coop or at home painting. Starting this Saturday through April 15, you can see his work at Caffe Paradiso. Or, if you don’t catch it in time, you can always go to his website.