ARTIST-A-DAY BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V, Looking to the Past with artist Patrick Laird

"I am drawn to the meditative act of putting down the small, deliberately placed, repeated marks that make up a larger complete image."

Patrick Laird

What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little about your process. I am drawn to ink because of it’s ability to contrast boldly with it’s ground, be it a brightly painted background or a flat white sheet of paper. When done well I believe that black ink is just as eye-catching as the brightest array of colors. As for process, I am drawn to the meditative act of putting down the small, deliberately placed, repeated marks that make up a larger complete image.

How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism, and Beyond”? My piece, “Warning Shots” is symbolic, but in a more literal sense. I read the excellent book, "Empire of the Summer Moon" which tells the history of the most powerful Native American tribe in history, the Comanches. In it there is a description of a sign the Comanches would leave on their trail warning whoever was following them to come no further, stop and return to where they came from, that only death and destruction awaited if they followed. That symbol they used was called a “pin-cushioned horse”, which was exactly as it sounds, a dead horse, filled with their arrows, like a pin-cushion, warning anyone who pursued them further that the same fate awaits them. It was an image I couldn’t get out of my mind until I drew it.

"End of the Trail" is a 2 dimensional rendering of James Earle Fraser’s iconic sculpture of the same name. This image, both in its current 2-dimensional form and its original epic 3-dimensional form are symbolic of the long plight of the native Americans, particularly the five “civilized” tribes, during the infamous Trail of Tears removal to Indian Territory, now my home state of Oklahoma. In the image the Native American is worn, weathered, oppressed, mistreated, but never broken. He is still astride his mount, he still carries his lance and with a bitter wind at his back he carries on.

Who inspires you? And What do you do to get inspired? I am inspired by many things...music, literature, nature, history, my family...but to get inspired I generally go to art itself, be it visiting a museum, a local gallery or simply looking at other artists’ work on Instagram. If you could have coffee or tea with any artist who would you pick? What would you have coffee or tea? What would you ask that artist? I would like to have coffee with an artist like Sergio Toppi or someone more contemporary like Ritchey Beckett and I would pick their brain about structure of composition which I feel is the most important element in a great work of art. What do you hope your work achieves, in general, and/or specifically with this installation? My hope is always to bring joy to or arouse an interest in whoever views my work. If they leave with the image stuck in their head or a new interest in its subject matter then I have accomplished my goal. If they like it enough to hang it on their wall then that’s a bonus.

What recently made you smile? The election.

If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them? Look closely.

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