Interviews

Patrick May : 8 Questions
In December of 2008 I had the opportunity to ask Patrick May some about his artistic process. He was in Florida at the time for Art Basil.

AWD:I know that you also double as a developer. Do you relate your programming work with your art? If so, how?
PATRICK MAY:
The primary focus of programming is building ways to help people to work together. It directly relates to my arts organizing, which focuses on finding win-win ways for artistic collaboration. My artwork is individualistic and does not directly involve others. I am interested in different kinds of authorship. In photography there is the choice of a moment, in painting there is the gesture, and in drawing there is the choice of symbols. I use digital techniques to combine these different moments of authorship into imagery. Somewhat like collaborating with myself.

AWD:When did you first realize you were an artist?
PATRICK MAY:
When I was in 2nd grade I forgot my lunch money, so I sold drawings door to door to eat.

AWD:Your work seems symbolic and perhaps narrative, how did you arrive at the elements you use in your work?
PATRICK MAY:
I usually try to think of a moving title and then build an image around it.

AWD:How do you compare the process in your work to the outcome?
PATRICK MAY:
When I'm not working on a piece I do "research" activities. These don't take much focus, but generate images or textures that are on hand when I'm making an actual piece. Much of my process is about building a foundation playing with imagery that I love. When the focus closes in on a piece, I draw off that imagery to amplify and close the deal.

AWD: What piece is coming next?
PATRICK MAY:
A self portrait as Medusa.

AWD:How clear is the image of the work before you begin?
PATRICK MAY:
The final image isn't done until completion. Often I'm excited about one element of the work, and the rest are found through experimentation. Sometimes that element is a drawing, sometimes it's the texture, sometimes it's the title.

AWD:Is your work inherently political?
PATRICK MAY:
My work is inherently personal. Recently there have been plenty of political issues worry about. Though probably any artwork concerned with the personal becomes political, since politics is always local anyways.

AWD:Is your work inherently political?
PATRICK MAY:
The final image isn't done until completion. My work is inherently personal. Recently there have been plenty of political issues worry about. Though probably any artwork concerned with the personal becomes political, since politics is always local anyways.

AWD:Do you feel like you have actualized what you would like to communicate?
PATRICK MAY:
Currently I'd like to become better at engaging the personal narratives of my friends and peers in my artwork.