Artist based in San Antonio, TX
Dane Patterson, Portrait of the artist.
Tell us about yourself, what's your background?
I was born in Columbus Indiana. I went to college at the Herron School of Art, and I moved to New York to go to School of Visual Art for graduate school. I've always drawn, and my father is an artist and this was a reason I started thinking about art and painting at a young age.
A portrait of a man with paper scraps, plastic fragments, ribbons, duct tape, string, metal bits, and fabric bundles. Dimensions: 24x30” Medium: acrylic on canvas Year: 2023
"I find myself embracing spontaneity by letting my thoughts flow freely through drawings and writing about various concepts. One of the resulting series, which I've named 'Insomnia Notes,' encapsulates a stream of consciousness; an often messy fusion of whatever thoughts spontaneously pop in my mind."
What are you currently working on and where did the inspiration for it come from?
Right now, I'm working on a series of portrait paintings. I like to take a genre, study its usual conventions, and then find a unique starting point to work from. This project is connected to some portrait drawings I did back in 2005, but I'm rethinking my approach. I haven't exhibited paintings as frequently as my drawings, and I'm considering dedicating more time to producing more of these paintings.
(left) A portrait of a woman with paper scraps, string, metallic enclosures, printed graphic oddments, bent cardboard, plastic spheres with cylindrical holes, shaped wire, and an upright ponytail. Dimensions: 24x30” Medium: acrylic on canvas Year: 2023
Innovation does not only happen in the field of technology — it occurs everyday in a creative practice. What do you do for inspiration?
I like to see gallery shows as much as possible. A lot of my inspiration has come from travel, and a location where I'm staying tends to partially enter aspects of my artwork at times. Reading is also an activity that seems to spark a lot of creative output for me.
(left) A woman with a cloth face mask, again, with adjustments. Dimensions: 9x12” Medium: graphite on paper Year: 2018
(right) Figure study #2 Dimensions: 9x12” Medium: graphite on paper Year: 2020
Describe your practice and process. Where do ideas start for you? In the studio or being in the world?
I tend to work in series, exploring similar ideas over extended periods of time, and my sketchbook serves as the pivot for my creative process. I find myself embracing spontaneity by letting my thoughts flow freely through drawings and writing about various concepts. One of the resulting series, which I've named 'Insomnia Notes,' encapsulates a stream of consciousness; an often messy fusion of whatever thoughts spontaneously pop in my mind as well as references to things I’m reading or viewing. Over time, these initial ideas evolve into more focused concepts that formed the foundation of my subsequent work. This progression unfolds organically.
In 2016, I had the opportunity to exhibit a body of work titled 'Object Studies' at Kogan Gallery in Paris. Within this group of drawings and paintings, I explored depicting the imagined combination of disparate, seemingly unrelated objects. The more incongruous the combinations, the more I found I liked the result. I'm fascinated by how each object carries its own inherent subtext, and the potential for humor or surprise that arises when these objects and their respective subtexts come together. The resulting images portrayed assemblages of objects drawn as if grouped in sculptural formations or casually juxtaposed in some physical interaction with one another.
(left) Insomnia notes, 09/18/23 Dimensions: 8x10” Medium: digital painting Year: 2023
(right) Object Study: Two Candlesticks and a Rotary Telephone Dimensions: 14x20” Medium: acrylic on paper Year: 2016
'Object Studies' emerged from a period of introspection and note taking, fueled by my reflections on a prior series created for Art Plural Gallery in Singapore, named 'Hypothetical Arrangements.' This series was born from my thoughts on aesthetics, particularly within the context of interior design photography. A specific book had come into my possession – a collection of images showcasing the home of Aerin Lauder (a granddaughter of Estée Lauder). The design choices in this book seemed like an interesting place to start to play with contradictions and a deconstruction of interior aesthetics. I started drawing her rooms and items from her home in states of disarray, inappropriately stacked and merged into dysfunctional assemblages. As the series continued I began referencing the interior design of a number of other established designers.
(left) Headpiece Dimensions: 28x44” Medium: graphite on paper Year: 2011
(right) Arrangement for the Home of Aerin Lauder #1 Dimensions: 18x24” Medium: graphite on paper Year: 2014
'Hypothetical Arrangements' was, in essence, a game of subverting the expected aesthetics and deliberately negating functionality, all within the realm of interior design. I've always been intrigued by the aesthetics of imperfection and the concept of recombinant elements repurposed beyond their conventional utility.
My most recent work involves portrait painting. If 'Hypothetical Arrangements' subverted design aesthetics and functionality, my new portrait paintings are a continuation of this game and playfully subvert the tropes and conventions typically associated with traditional painted portraits.
(left) This is a sketchbook drawing depicting nice items seen in luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman and other objects and conditions that these luxury items would be ruined or damaged. (right) This digital sketchbook drawing shows some studies and thoughts about ways to combine groups of like types of household furniture.
How do you make your work, does it start with a sketch?
It definitely begins in a sketchbook as ideas develop, but sometimes the work is in reference to particular things and photography or photo manipulation software becomes a part of the working process. There are stages and for some series alot of work goes into generating images to be used as reference material for a final drawing or painting.
A digital sketchbook painting working out more detailed portrait ideas playing with a particular color palette.
Do you have your own studio ritual? What does that look like for you?
I like to keep a place set with supplies in order and ready to begin so that when I’m set to work there isn’t any initial gathering of tools to consider. I tend to have workstations tailored to accommodate a few different working methods.
During stages such as note-taking or digital sketching on my iPad, I often find a movie to have on in the background or sometimes just random content on platforms like YouTube. For me, this sketchbook phase is very open to random information and auditory stimuli fosters an environment conducive to open and receptive creative practices, occasionally resulting in the incorporation of external elements into my work.
(left) A digital sketchbook page just doing studies of luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue’s font, and various object arrangements setup in the store. (right) A digital sketchbook drawing playing with objects related to the body, or combined with a body.
Conversely, when I’m working towards finalizing an idea and working toward a completed painting or drawing I like silence. I think of this drawing and painting stage as analogous to meditation in a lot of ways, and it is a mental space I don’t get into as easily with distraction.
(left) A snapshot photo of a progress stage of one of my paintings on my work table as I had just completed the line layout. (right) A snapshot photo of a progress stage of one of my paintings on my work table as I was finishing a painting session.
Who are your biggest influences?
I had the privilege of studying under the late NYC painter Jake Berthot during my graduate school years, and his influence has left an indelible mark on the way I think about my relationship with images and image making. While our artistic methods differed significantly, our discussions on a wide spectrum of topics, including films, literature, and the conceptual aspects of image creation, continue to resonate with me today.
Growing up in a household where my father is both an artist and a poet played a pivotal role in igniting my interest in art. This familial connection served as a significant starting point for me.
A digital sketchbook painting exploring a particular color palette and composition ideas concerning imagined object groupings.
Are there books or films that are an important source of inspiration?
Interior design books happend to become an important point of inspiration for awhile, though its not a genuine interest of mine. I get a lot out of Georges Perec's writing and that is something I come back to alot. His playfulness and interest in exploring the minutiae of every day life. Daniel Spoerri's An Anecdoted Topography of Chance is a book that was really inspiring. It's so strange and obsessive and I love it. I watch a lot of B-movie horror films and the aesthetic of things being sub par is really interesting. I watch alot of those kinds of things and it makes its way into what I do in some ways.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
That I should just keep working, even when I don't understand what the work is doing.
What is the best advice you would give to other artists?
Share less on social media, and make a space to keep some work for yourself to be totally lost, embarrassed, and make mistakes.