There is something so comforting and gentle about Kansas City painter Patricia Graham's paintings, and at the same time they hang on the wall with a self-sure sturdiness. Her palette is gorgeous--muted, but not necessarily always neutral--and the contrasts in the 3-dimensionality o the physical folds of canvas really pop.
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YS: I noticed that you just earned your BFA this year (congratulations!) from the Kansas City Art Institute. What first interested you in pursuing art?
PG: Thank you! I've always sort of pursued art in indirect ways -- I was drawn to art as a subject because it never gave me any answers, it always seemed full and infinite.
I've heard great things about the creative culture of Kansas City; are you from there originally? How has your experience been there?
I am originally from Kansas City. My father is from Kansas City and my mother is from the Philippines. Kansas City is a good place, it's really thriving here -- while smaller in size, the art scene is strong, but people are familiar with each other and their art, which is great!
Now that you've graduated, do you plan to hang around for a bit, are you on your way elsewhere?
A couple of months after graduation I was hired at KCAI in Academic Support and I'm really loving it -- I also teach youth classes at KCAI-Cont. Ed. Fortunately I'm still learning a ton in the location I'm in so I plan on hanging out for a bit and applying for opportunities locally and nationally.
Can you tell me a bit about your process? How do you get started on a piece? Do you plan ahead in any way?
I just start making. Planning takes place primarily so I don't have to think when I'm in studio -- anything from preparing multiple surfaces to work on to how I plan my time during the day. I make, observe, read, and write. All of these things must be done in a circular motion or in the same time span. They all activate one another for me. So there is the production period of actually making, and the analytical period. Reading is something that gives my thoughts language to grasp onto while writing becomes the bridge between my studio work into language.
When/how did you first start experimenting with folding?
Before I was folding canvas I was working primarily with ink on paper. I was first collaging, and rather than composing an image from positioning different elements, I was weaving ripped paper together in a way. The collaging translated later into large works with folded paper, where the indirect nature of the fold created an interesting immediate sculptural space to respond to (which still allowed me to paint into the surface). I like to think about the immediacy of phenomena and its relationship with psychological entrances that a surface can provide.
What is your studio like?
I share a studio with my partner who is also a painter. Our studio is downtown in a building called KunstraumKC where several other artists have studios.
What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you about your work and/or pursuing art as a career?
My mentor/professor Corey Antis has always given me the best advice when it comes to studio and professionalism: work and think for yourself.
What has been the most challenging aspect of pursuing this path?
The most challenging aspect of my artistic pursuit is its truly conflicting nature. On a day-to-day time basis very little harmony is to be found between being a person in the world and actually making. This disharmony makes one inevitably restless, but is good fuel.. Trying to close this gap is the goal. I believe for myself to be a good artist, studio must remain my priority time-wise.
What do you consider to be the most rewarding or exciting aspect of it?
You know, today I was looking at some of my old drawings and some of them are really actually beautiful to me. I forget who I was when I made the piece -- and I am satisfied. Seeing clearly to the point where things begin to overlap and connect.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects I can share?
I am in the planning and making stage right now. As a recent grad, I'm giving myself a couple of months to be in hiding and create good stuff.
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Find more at patriciagrahamart.com!