Artist Feature - Patrick Eugène
Patrick Eugène (b: 1984, Brooklyn, New York) started to explore art as a creative escape from the stress of his day job in the finance industry in New York. “It began with sketching at my desk in between clients,” he says. “I fell in love with the expression and took it from there.”
At 27, he committed to painting full-time, capturing the complex joys, anxieties and confusion of coming of age in New York through deeply layered composition, vibrant colours and textures. Eugène’s work has been featured among the most promising new pioneers in contemporary art, garnering praise from critics and collectors alike. Art Collectif caught up with him recently to learn more about his work.
\ What is your art background? Why abstract expressionism?
I’m a self-taught artist. From the beginning, art has been a way for me to escape the rigid structure and sometimes suffocating feeling of living in a city like New York. Expressionism is truly about a conversation with our surroundings. Our senses are constantly absorbing information. We try our best to comb through it all, then we decide what's valuable to us. However, we tend to overlook our subconscious mind, which plays a huge part of who we are as individuals and as a society. Expressionism gives us an opportunity to peek into this subconscious process, which holds so much beauty and power.
\ You’ve said that your work encourages the viewer to dig deeper to explore the more complex issues facing your generation – what are some of those issues?
I look within myself, my siblings, my friends and social media and I see tons of confusion about the direction this world is headed. Depression, self-image issues, anxiety, social injustice, economic collapse, war, etc. But I also see a constant urge for positive change. I try to express my concerns from a personal perspective. There are days when I do not turn on the news, I filter my intake and keep things positive, which shows in my work. There are other days when the sensory overload is too much and my only way to scream it out loud is on canvas.
\ What themes are you exploring in your work lately?
I just wrapped a year-long series in 2016 called "Deconstruction" which touched on gentrification and displacement, primarily in my city of Brooklyn, NY. It was a reactive but hopefully also a proactive series of works. After many conversations with neighbours and panel discussions, I realized how quickly and immensely gentrification can affect a person's life – it naturally became my primary subject. I have recently started working on pieces that speak more to the delusions of a grand escape from "Deconstruction", using brighter colours and more uplifting themes, but sometimes interrupted with small hints of reality.
\ What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
To always paint from within. Despite how we may feel, how the outside world may perceive us or our work, no one can deny authenticity. But most importantly, oils can be painted over acrylic, not the other way around, LOL.
\ What do you want the world to know about you?
I do this for my 11-year-old son, Jaiden.
abstract expressionism, artist biographies, artist statements, Patrick Eugene