How would you describe your practise?
I always say that I’m a manufacturer of visual matter. It’s slippery moniker, but chiefly it’s the production of visuals for commercial contexts, but I tend to believe (and hope to high heavens) it leans further into artistry rather than the artisanal. I draw and make digital compositions; the end result is normally a crisp and colourful and tonally deaf artwork that references motifs from twentieth century painting and design.
How did you come up with the design for the T-Shirt?
The process was indeed a saga! It started off somewhere distant to where it ended, open breifs are liek that. But as one tends to work on something over a period of time, old ideas ferment and new ones come out of nowhere. And when you get up to speed, some ideas take charge quite quickly. All the elements seem to have a relationship with one another, and when the relationships seem credible then they earn their right to stay in the composition, then suddenly it’s all over. That’s typically what happens
You work a lot with the New York producer / pop musician Young Borra. How did this partnership come about?
The illustrator Allison Felice recommended me to him when she was on maternity leave. Her work is seriously impressive, you should check her portfolio out and her podcast is fantastic too. It was a real honour to have one of my heroes reach out to help me out totally out of the blue. And it’s been a great working relationship with Jonas and I since, as he’s very happy for me to just go wild on the images. I look forward to making more.
How would you describe your work?
Right now I’m very happy with it actually. After a while one seems to produce a visual language, and that language becomes more sophisticated over time, and that goes for everyone, not just me. So right now I’m happy making surrealistic landscapes. They seem to exist in a similar universe to ours. I am just trying to create more and more credibility in this universe and texture it. It’s a kind of cinematic realm but without any sound. It’s hard to write, words are probably a bit at odds with the laws of that universe, so I’m just uncovering layers of it one image at a time.
Your work often creates imaginary and dream-like landscapes and scenes. How do you come up with these?
I don’t unveil a plan all at once, it’s not particularly well planned. But often there’s an object or idea that anchors you down enough to start. It might be a chair, or a piano or a vase (vases often feature in the genesis stage) and then once you’ve made a piano, then you have to draw a person to sit at it, then you notice that something has caught that person’s gaze, so what is it? So, you draw a greyhound. It’s like that. Which is why I leave preparatory drawings for clients as un-promising as I can. Inspiration and intuition has to be able to play and guide the process.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
Yes, the company that makes paper wallets have asked me to produce a wallet…made out of paper. They’ve worked with some huge names including Ai Weiwei so naturally I’m very pleased they asked me. I’m also working with photographer (and friend) Brendan Barry on producing a guide to making Camera Obscuras.
What has been your favourite thing to work on?
I made a short with the BBC last year, which was great to see my work animated and generally, seeing your work in newspapers is great but I’d say that I particularly liked working on a book cover with Little Brown last year. I love books, as objects as well as a portal for ideas. But I’m obviously looking forward to seeing this t shirt, it was an honour to work with Clwb Ifor Bach, it’s obviously a legendary Cardiff spot so I was very honoured to be asked to work with them.
How do you keep creative?
That’s really not a problem. I’d flip my wig if don’t get the chance to make on the regular. The problem now is to stay focused at one particular discipline at a time. I’m learning how to paint, so it’s a balancing act between putting the time into my commercial practice and learning a new medium and expanding my practice in a new direction.
Patrick Cullum’s T-Shirt is on sale now via our merch shop.