Photos by Asia Morris.
From a distance, it may seem like Dave Van Patten has been relishing the lauded life of an artist able to make a living from his work for the past couple of years, with no dead-end job-on-the-side necessary anymore to sustain his passion for drawing. But like any full-time job, sometimes the going gets tedious, a fact the hustling creative had to find a way to confront in an effort to grow and rediscover the joy that comes with satisfying your own vision.
“Since most of the time I make a living off commissions, which are essentially other people's ideas, I feel like my artistic soul was revived by pumping out a bunch of drawings that were just for me,” Van Patten told the Post. “I could just be as weird as I wanted, and believe me, there was some deeply embedded, subconscious weirdness buried inside for a couple years that was able to surface.”
His latest show, simply titled New Art Exhibit, to take place at 4th Street Vine on Friday, May 13 from 7:00PM to 11:00PM, will display his series of “quick, subconscious drawings based on three-word poems” that the artist created somewhat maniacally in three days, a body composed of nearly 60 pieces drawn, the first based on the poem “Pregnant Blob Tree” and the final being “Sweaty Eyelid Wand.” And while Van Patten is no stranger to hard work, he certainly had to force himself to create such a large quantity in such a short amount of time, an endeavor meant to push him far beyond his perceived limits.
“I think if you're an artist it's good to be tough and force yourself to do work even when you hate it because that's how it's like with every other job in the world and why should artists be exempt?” he said. “The point is that binge creativity really brings good things out of the mind [...] and it also proves to yourself that your boundaries are imaginary.”
Van Patten said that not only has this binge-drawing endeavor stretched his creativity to a new level, but the process also helped him regain confidence in his drawing abilities. A fear of blotched pen-and-ink mistakes and drawings inundated with blobs of white-out were what he expected from choosing not to sketch them out with pencil first, but after hours of drawing freehand, he was surprised by how the quality of the pieces actually increased, as well.
“Obviously there is value in starting projects, then stopping them when appropriate, to be patient and refrain from forcing things,” he said. “However, it is equally valuable to just dig and dig and dig until you finally find some water. Once you've been drawing for 12 hours and you're still drawing you become more of a magical, spiritual channeling experiment rather than an artist. You can't believe the ideas keep coming, but they do, which says a lot about the power of the creative mind and its capabilities.”
The drawings are for sale and priced from $60 to $75 a piece. Also featured will be Van Patten's new comic book, Psychedelic Elevator Music. Expect live music from Dennis Robicheau and DJ sets playing brit pop, psyche and shoegaze, according to the announcement. For more information about 4th Street Vine, click here.
For more information about New Art Exhibit, to remain on display for two months, visit the Facebook event page here.
4th Street Vine is located at 2142 East 4th Street.