In this In-Sync post, I have the opportunity to share my interview with Chicago-based artist Patricia Larkin Green. I have known Patricia for a few years. I was thrilled to visit the exhibition of her ongoing series of unmade beds at the President’s Gallery of Chicago State University. These paintings that relate to our intimate spaces capture our sense of humanity and often resemble a surreal landscape of hills and valleys. Enjoy the interview and get in-sync with Patricia Larkin Green.
S: Where did you go to school (college/university) and what degree did you receive?
P: After having to drop out of college for financial reasons, I returned to graduate and have continued to be a student for life…
University of MN, B.A.: International/Inter-cultural Communications
School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Certificate in Drawing, 2001
College of St. Benedict & St. Johns, St. Joseph, MN. Art & Design, French, 1978-1979
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, Scholastic Internship Chicago, IL 1989
Student Project for Amity Among Nations, Research Scholarship Modern Greek Poetry, Greece, 1982
S: What is the best advice you have ever received?
P: Trust but verify, accept nothing without confirming it and define things for yourself…also–>No one is able to know more about what you create than yourself.
S: What is your website?
ABOUT YOUR WORK/PRACTICE
S: What are you working on and what inspires you right now?
P: I paint my unmade beds. As an artists and corporate business woman who meditates, writes poetry, and travels frequently, I’ve found a way to reconcile my art spirit and corporate persona by turning my reveries into palette knife oil paintings of my unmade beds.
It all began one early morning at the Hotel Astoria in New York. Rushing to leave my hotel room to get to a client meeting, I turned back checking for any forgotten items and was struck by how magnificent the light illuminated my unmade bed.
That golden light stretched across my tussled dreams, tufted pillows, and twisted sheets. I dropped my briefcase, began sketching and forever changed the way I travel. Integrating my disparate roles has been healing for me. My art informs my corporate life with integrity while the skills and discipline I’ve developed from business fortify my creative process. Living congruently with my values aligned allows me to breathe more freely and feel lighter on my feet and empowered by my dreams.
Now when I traverse the world, I engage in a morning meditation over my body’s imprint on hotel linens with the sensation of observing yesterday’s dreams filtered by the unknown city’s dawning potential.
S: What are the essentials you must have in your studio/creative space (tools, objects, photos, etc)?
P: I stand while working and use my entire body’s gesture with mark making so I need an area around my easel, table or floor where I can “dance” with my painting. I often step back to observe my work from a distance and have a comfy chair I perch on to contemplate my process. My studio is both my laboratory where I explore how my materials work and my sanctuary where I meditate, write and play music. I carry a small notebook with me to jot down ideas and sketches. Fourteen years ago my husband and I rehabbed our house. The original house was a hundred year old balloon frame 1 ½ story, so we built up adding 2 levels and created my dream studio on the top floor so it is filled with natural light and cross ventilation for my oil painting.
S: Do you find social media to be a distraction or an asset for you as an artist and how do you deal with it?
P: Asset. Social media can be a wonderful tool and I’ve stumbled across many artists, events and discussions that have been valuable. I realize it is only one of many tools to interact with the art world and believe it is most effective when followed up with face to face meetings or with a personal touch (like attending openings, events, studio visits, phone calls, email or letters-yes I do enjoy cards and letters!)
S: What is your biggest challenge as a contemporary artist?
P: Time. There are so many tools and events to choose from and so I watch how and where I “spend” my time, prioritizing my choices by what contributes to my current goals. I set goals at New Years and evaluate them Quarterly and at Year End. Working in Corporate America forced me to develop time management skills and it was not unusual to plan my day in 15 minute increments. I block out “dates’ to create in my studio, averaging 20 hours/wk. For example, I get up early to do any research or online networking activity, paint in the evenings, vacations and on weekends. When I create, I get completely lost in time, forgetting to eat or drink so I set an alarm to remind me when to break for dinner. (I set alarms for me to end my work day too.) Since I would travel almost weekly for my job I sketch compositions and do research while in the plane or hotel so that when I hit the canvas it would pour out of me flowing quickly from my brush. The most valuable gift I can give to anyone is my time.
S: How do you define success?
P: Artistic Freedom. To be completely unbridled and uncensored in my expression-meaning not beholden to public opinion, money, expectations, demands or my past-the freedom to take risks.
In reference to the “Art World”, I really liked what I once heard James Kerry Marshall definition. levels of success as 1) to be recognized by other artists. 2) work enters into a major museum in City, Country, World. 3) Gain a place in historical narrative-meaning a part of art history can’t be told without your contribution.
S: What’s next for you?
P: I just mailed two sumi-e (Asian Ink paintings) to Japan to be mounted on scrolls for an exhibition October 1-14 in AnShan City, China.
On October 21st I am speaking in the evening at the Lemont Artist Guild on Sumi-e Painting and the art of Zen and Meditative painting.
OpenWall Chicago Fall exhibition “Strange Bedfellows:Graphic Novel Artists & Flamenco Dancers”
And most importantly-creating the best work I am capable of and proud to sign my name to.
ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART
S: What excites/disappoints you about your local art scene?
P: So much excites me. There are so many art happenings sprouting up across this city. Several years ago, I took Paul Klein’s Artist Works and he opened my eyes to a multitude of local happenings, galleries, collectors, art studios and other art jewels throughout Chicago. I’ve also watched you, Sergio, create many innovative and engaging shows across the city, and internationally and am excited about Art NXT Level. FireCat Projects, Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, Hyde Park Art Center, Linda Warren & The Renaissance Society all have extremely interesting exhibitions and programming. Right in my own neighborhood I’ve met exciting and courageous artists through my adventures with OpenWall Chicago.
Disappointments: Aron Packer Gallery’s closing saddens me. Although I am eager to see what he’ll do next. This is a big loss to our community. Artists are most vulnerable when they are taking risks and he was very supportive of risk takers. Governor Rauner threatening to close the Illinois State Museum and cutting of art programs. Art encourages problem solving and innovation. Illinois’ nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $2.75 billion industry according to Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, a new study from Arts Alliance Illinois and Americans for the Arts.
This $2.75 billion in annual spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences in Illinois supports more than 78,000 full-time-equivalent jobs, generates a total of $2.3 billion in household income to Illinois residents, and delivers $324 million in state and local government revenue. I know when I stopped creating to “make it” in corporate America, it was like physically cutting off my oxygen. I became depressed, felt tense and suffocated until I started creating again. Creating for an artist is breathing; the act is life giving. When people are allowed to develop personal expression it puts more energy into circulation and a raised level of consciousness. Art expression becomes more valuable to people once they’ve been able to experience it. I am grateful to the many artists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and educators who continue pushing forward making spaces for art to be experienced.
S: In your opinion, what does the art world will look like in the future?
P: The art world today is made up of a multitude of “villages”, many that are still perceived to be out of reach. My hope is that subcultures that have found art formidable will find it to be more accessible. I sense a fatigue with remote communication combined with a hunger for intimate connections and tactile experiences. Some of these needs are being addressed by local communities, pop up exhibitions and grassroots organizations. I hope that concepts like “OpenWall Chicago can spread to alderman and government offices throughout the city, be mutually beneficial and spark art communities. Artists question and explore universal questions about mortality, why the world is the way it is and who gets to define it. I hope to hear and see more “voices” engage in the art world.
Book… The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, Vein of Gold by julia Cameron, The Gift by Lewis Hyde, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery, The Artist’s HandBook by Ralph Mayer and The Art Rules, The Girl With the Gallery by Lindsay Pollack and The Windup Bird Chronicles.
Movie or documentary… Inge Druckrey-Teaching to See
The Man With a Camera (Kinoapparatom) – Dziga Vertov
Place to be inspired by… Meditating in my studio, CasaVerde (my garden), and walking (near the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, Chicago Botanic Garden or Garfield Park Conservatory)
One sentence advice for an art student… Choose to surround yourself with the best artists you can find, keep the company of people that have generous art spirits, are supportive of you when you take risks and challenge you to be your best; be deserving of these people. Follow the golden rule.
YouTube video(s)… Here is a short list-Kerry James Marshall-The Artist in the Studio, Great Museums, I enjoy MOOCS [Massive Open Online Courses] Coursera Dr. Jeannene Przyblyski “Live! A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers,” and Edx in particular have wonderful videos, Ted talks and of course OpenWall Chicago and Sergio Gomez NXT Level channels.