By Sarah Elise Abram­son

American Art Collector - - Contents -

It comes as no sur­prise that such vul­ner­a­ble and pas­sion­ate art would come from an artist who bears those same traits. Pa­trick Church is a New York-based artist who I have ac­tu­ally fea­tured once be­fore in this col­umn back in Oc­to­ber 2015. Church’s work has since, ag­gran­dized in vol­ume, con­cept and has caught the at­ten­tion of fa­mous singers and other artists from around the world.

I had the plea­sure of speak­ing to Church on the phone af­ter the in­ter­view. I gained more in­sight into the artist be­hind this un­ceas­ingly spon­ta­neous, poignant and pas­sion­ate work he turns out as fast as some­one who seems to live ev­ery day like it’s his last. Hey Pa­trick! How are you to­day? Is it as hot in NY as it is in LA? I’m so happy to be in­ter­view­ing you for a sec­ond time! Your work has changed so much over the last sev­eral years. Can you talk a lit­tle about that?

Hey! I love that we are do­ing this again. Yes, ev­ery­thing is chang­ing and evolv­ing so much I don’t know how to even ex­plain it or re­ally ex­press how I’m feel­ing about it. Change is good and yet, also hard at times. Ev­ery­thing feel­ing so dif­fer­ent. Not in a bad way, just…dif­fer­ent.

Well what has changed in your life since our last in­ter­view. Any ma­jor mile­stones? Well, I met the love of my life, the most won­der­ful man in the world. He changed ev­ery­thing. We got mar­ried and it’s been the big­gest jour­ney. Life feels so dif­fer­ent right now. I feel like I’m sud­denly able to ex­plore cre­ativ­ity in a com­pletely new and dif­fer­ent way.

What do you mean by “com­pletely”? Can you elab­o­rate? Also, CON­GRATS! You know I’ve seen the two of you. The most hand­some cou­ple if I do say so my­self!

I al­ways felt re­stricted be­fore; I did it to my­self. I was al­ways so afraid to let go and ex­per­i­ment. I have so many bar­ri­ers in my own head and this pre­vented me from ex­plor­ing cre­atively and do­ing things out­side of what’s com­fort­able. I wanted to stick to the fa­mil­iar. But now I en­joy the process of feel­ing com­pletely out of my com­fort zone, you know?

Thank you so much. He is so beau­ti­ful in­side and out, even think­ing of him makes me want to cry, I can’t be­lieve I found my soul­mate.

Stop it! I’ve been so emo­tional lately. You’ll make me cry! I ab­so­lutely know. That’s an amaz­ing and very im­por­tant thing to over­come and grow into.

I was read­ing some­thing the other day and it was talk­ing about the fact that if your head is full of fear and doubt, there’s no room for dreams and cre­ative

ex­plo­ration. So would you say that your hus­band some­how scared away those doubts and fears in a sense?

Oh, there was so much fear and so much doubt. It was crip­pling me. It’s not that he scared them away, I still very much feel like that a lot of the time but I feel sup­ported now. His sup­port means ev­ery­thing to me and makes me a stronger, bet­ter artist and per­son. It gives me the strength to cre­ate and push, push, push ev­ery day.

Ah…I see. It’s the sup­port fac­tor. Well that’s great and I’m so happy you have that in your life now. Let’s get into your up­com­ing solo show!

Thank you so much, yes...let’s! I am so ner­vous and ex­cited. I am put­ting ALL of my en­ergy into it; blood, sweat and tears. It opens on Septem­ber 7 at Toth Gallery on Chrystie Street in Man­hat­tan. I will be show­ing a brand-new series of works along with my new col­lec­tion. It’s great to fuse the worlds of both art and fash­ion.

The art­work I have cre­ated feels so much more grown up and se­ri­ous. It in­volved the painstak­ing process of lay­er­ing im­ages and then block­ing them out.

Matthew Tier­ney, the artist I met here, who I con­sider one of my clos­est friends, is cu­rat­ing it.

I usu­ally con­sider my draw­ings and paint­ings so pre­cious and it’s that idea of not be­ing able to ex­plore and push my­self I wanted to de­stroy; I wanted to see how I felt by block­ing them out over and over. These pre­cious draw­ings, cre­at­ing depth and lay­ers…it makes me feel so ner­vous and un­easy but cre­ates this del­i­cate ro­man­tic love story. They are a series of self-por­traits and also stud­ies of my hus­band and us to­gether. I like that the lay­ers be­come se­cre­tive and in­ti­mate.

Oh wow! I re­ally en­joy the sound of all that. Ex­tremely per­sonal art has al­ways been my fa­vorite kind of art and yours is for­ever and al­ways, ooz­ing ex­actly that. Your art is an ex­ten­sion of you as a per­son and that’s some­thing I re­ally love about it. Does the show have a ti­tle yet? I per­son­ally can­not wait to see this new work in its en­tirety.

The show still doesn’t have a name. I’m so last minute with ev­ery­thing, it still hasn’t come to me, but it will, I’m sure of it.

How does it feel to be a queer artist and mak­ing art that is, in and of it­self, very queer? Do you think peo­ple re­spond to it in cer­tain ways? I per­son­ally think that be­ing a queer artist is a ma­jor priv­i­lege and task. We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to rep­re­sent the queer com­mu­nity in a pos­i­tive way. Would you agree with all this?

I agree we have a mas­sive re­spon­si­bil­ity to show our com­mu­nity in a pos­i­tive light. I like to bring peo­ple to­gether with my work, es­pe­cially when cre­at­ing cloth­ing and the fash­ion as­pect of my work. I feel like we are cre­at­ing a fam­ily and a safe space to em­power peo­ple and al­low­ing peo­ple to ex­press them­selves freely, with­out judge­ment.

My art­work of­ten ex­plores the more vul­ner­a­ble side of my queer iden­tity, but it feels great when peo­ple con­nect and re­late to the mes­sages within my work.

Yeah, and your work re­ally does that. It is in­cred­i­bly vul­ner­a­ble. It was so amaz­ing when I got to as­sist styling singer Lau­ryn Hill about a month or so ago and as I went through the racks and racks of cloth­ing she had in her ho­tel room, whose cloth­ing did I come across?! Yours! Does it still feel sur­real that such epic per­form­ers and artists are col­lect­ing and wear­ing the clothes you make?

Oh, I know! When you sent me that photo I couldn’t be­lieve it! She was ev­ery­thing to me grow­ing up. It feels so ex­cit­ing and crazy, and I am ex­tremely hum­bled.

Any other celebri­ties that you know of who col­lect your work?

I know SZA, Daya, Teyana Taylor and Ken­dall Jenner have some pieces too. Any­one or­der­ing some­thing from me al­ways feels so spe­cial. I al­most can’t be­lieve it ev­ery time.

Tal­ented and hum­ble to boot! You’re in­cred­i­ble. Thanks so much for sit­ting down with me for this in­ter­view. Any­one in New York, mark your cal­en­dars! Pa­trick Church’s new solo ex­hi­bi­tion opens Septem­ber 7 at Toth Gallery. You won’t want to miss it.

Thank you so much for ev­ery­thing and all your sup­port, you are won­der­ful!

If you would like to con­tact Pa­trick Church: www.patrickchur­


1Angelica, acrylic on Khadi pa­per2I Think About You All the Time, acrylic on Khadi pa­per3Artist Pa­trick Church in a cus­tom hand-painted vest.4Effie hand-painted hoodie and bag and never be me boots, made to or­der. Photo by Chelsy Mitchell.5Sex Di­ary denim. Photo by Chelsy Mitchell.

Sarah Elise Abram­son is a con­tem­po­rary fine art pho­tog­ra­pher based in San Pedro, Cal­i­for­nia—a mys­te­ri­ous post-in­dus­trial en­clave whose off­beat coun­ter­cul­tural his­tory and pro­lif­er­a­tion of un­usual sights, sounds and cit­i­zens is tai­lor-made for Abram­son’s ob­ses­sion with ev­ery­day sur­re­al­ism. In both her own pho­tog­ra­phy and in her cu­ra­to­rial and edi­to­rial ap­proach to ex­hi­bi­tion projects and in­de­pen­dent pub­li­ca­tions, her em­pha­sis is on dis­cov­er­ing the ec­cen­tric beauty in the things most peo­ple over­look. Found ob­jects, hid­den mes­sages, se­crets of the uni­verse that hide in plain sight—through­out her stud­ies at Par­sons The New School for De­sign and Brooks In­sti­tute of Pho­tog­ra­phy, and later at LaChapelle Stu­dios, her work has evolved from find­ing to in­tu­itively cre­at­ing orig­i­nal day­dreams and shared cos­molo­gies. www.sara­he­lisepho­tog­ra­ @slow_­toast



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