Smile Politely

Jason Patterson’s Art at Cafe Kopi

Jason Patterson’s at it again — showing his artwork in local coffee shops. This time around, his pieces of art deck the walls at Cafe Kopi in downtown Champaign with new ones added into the mix from his last shows at Art Coop and Caffe Paradiso. Right when you walk into the cafe, you are forced into a viewing. A new piece of Patterson’s, “Malcolm X Triptych” is a portrait of the civil rights leader in white pastel and charcoal on raw canvas including a lesser known quote from Malcolm, “I don’t believe in any form of unjustified extremism, but I believe if a human being is exercising extremism in the defense of liberty, it’s no vice. And when one is moderate in the pursuit of justice for human beings, I say he’s a sinner.” It stands seven feet high and 15 feet long, “Malcolm X” is the largest and one of the more complicated pieces he has had to finish. It took two and a half months to pump out.

And as Smile Politely learned in our last interview with Patterson, motivation stems from dedication and hard work. So, we asked him to describe what hinders his ability to create art. “Not being able to see what will happen next. Like if I’m trying a new thing. It’s hard to focus because I’m trying to figure out how to do the next step with out messing up. So, like, the newer the style or technique, the harder it is. The ‘Malcolm X’ piece was a bitch.”

And for the average person, so is its asking price. Even though his prices may be steep — being an artist isn’t an easy way to make a living — and for Patterson, the purchasing prices are usually negotiable and for different reasons. “If I know it’s getting a good home, maybe. Or if I know it’s some poor college student. Or if I just need some money, ” says Patterson about selling his artwork.

But, as any truly dedicated artist, turning a profit is not why Patterson displays his art, “It is just for people to see it. Because that is the point for me — to create work for people to see.” Next time out, he hopes to show his art in Radio Maria.

Jason Patterson’s artwork will be on display at the cafe from now until the last week of August.

Top photo by Brittany Pyle, bottom photo by Justine Bursoni

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