Patrick J. Burns

May 4, 2017 by Laura Gomez


Artist Interview:

Name: Patrick J Burns

Age: 29
Birthday: November 13, 1987
College: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How would you define yourself as an artist? I would define my art as being both conceptual and interdisciplinary in nature. I explore a multitude of materials, themes, and aesthetics while simultaneously diving into my own personal history and how it connects to American culture today.

Why art? How did you get involved with art? I’m an artist because the act of creating something with my own hands and birthing it into existence brings me fulfillment and joy. There aren’t many professions that provide autonomy over one’s life, but being an artist is one of them.

What art do you most identify with? I really love painting and the different ways to express one’s self through that particular medium. That being said, I’ve lately been very interested in social practice, installation, and sculpture. The idea of curating an experience for an audience really appeals to me.

What does “being creative” mean to you? Being creative simply means creating. I don’t always feel creative, but if I keep pushing myself, I can leap over those creative hurdles to make something I am really proud of. There is a lot of failure that comes with being an artist, but it is only through those failures that you grow and start to create solid work that speaks to both yourself and your audience.

What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative? The only way out is through. Keep painting! Keep Making!

What are you trying to communicate with your art? I try to communicate and speak to the American zeitgeist through my work. What is American culture today? How did we get here?

What is American art? What aspects of American culture are vastly unexplored in contemporary art?

What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually? Visually, I present my work in a pop art/kitsch manner, but if audience looks past the topical presentation, they will find something rich in cultural context. In short, I want to make work that, visually, grabs the viewer’s attention but also challenges them to think critically about what they are being shown.

What themes do you pursue? American Culture and exploration of personal history and how it relates to the greater culture within American society.

What inspires you to work? The challenge of creating something different and unique while also having art historical context.

Color: Green

Book: The Things They Carried

Movie: The Dark Knight

Food: Tacos

Quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Teddy Roosevelt

Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project? How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start? It depends on the project. Sometimes I have a very clear idea of what I want and everything I do after is trial and error trying to bring my vision to life. Other times I just start painting and see where it takes me. Both modes of creation are fulfilling and I try not to tether myself to too strongly to either process.

What Role does the artist have in society? It depends on what kind of artist a person would like to be. Social practice seems to be where contemporary art is headed. With purely visual subject matter being so saturated, it is important to tether what you make to some type of cultural comparison or allegory. Though, at the root, it is the artist’s job to make their audience feel something. Anything.

Do you suffer for your art? Greatly!!!

What do you think about the art community and market? It is an interesting beast. It doesn’t function like a typical market and seems to have more ebbs and flows. In regards to the community, there doesn’t appear to be many “movements” anymore as well, i.e Cubism, Expressionism, Realism. In the age of information, it is easy to see that almost all movement are moving forward concurrently and parallel with one another.

Should art be funded? Why? Definitely! It is important to preserve and protect our culture and the best way to do that is by funding public museums and art programs.

What famous artists have influenced you, and how? Right now I’m really into David Hammons. His work is really spectacular. the way he elevates the everyday object into high art is very impressive. On Kawara is great and I speak a lot about his work in my own. In regards to just painting, I really like Cecily Brown, Dana Schutz, and Nicole Eisenman. I am also very much inspired by Basquiat. The cult of personality that surrounds him is fascinating to me.

What other interests do you have outside of art? I played football in college and still like to watch with friends and family. Other than that, I like to go out and meet new people and hear their stories. It helps me glean perspective on my own life.
I’m also really into sneakers. I couldn’t afford nice ones as a child but as soon as I started making money I began buying them. Nothing like a crisp pair of Jordans.

You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art perfomances today?
I think these are all valuable in the context of art history. Painting and sculpture aside, I always ask myself, “Where does art go from here?”. I believe that much of the answer to that can be found in installation and performance art.

How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art? Probably be bar tending at bowling Alley in West Virginia. Or selling some god awful insurance. I couldn’t see it being a fulfilling life.

some short questions now…

Define your art: Neo-Americana

Art Fairs: Context Art Miami, (e)merge Art Fair DC, SOFA Expo Chicago

Cities: Currently living in Chicago

Music: Trap, Country, Jazz, with a dash of Rock N Roll

Cars: Kind of obsolete living in a city

Who are the artist’s you admire the most? Basquiat, David Hammons, Jeff Koons

What are your next projects? I’m working on sculptures that depict the dynamic between beauty and brutality in American football. It’s a pseudo religion in America and I want to speak to that in my work.

Define Klassik Magazine for the audience? Awesome!