By Kelly Cannon
At first glance, the work of Patric Bates intrigues the viewer. His pieces in watercolor and pen seem like something out of a dream. Muddied reds and blues splash on the pages, reminiscent of free floating water stains, are in stark juxtaposition to the tiny lines that are the signature of Bates’s work. In a world of economic crisis where art is seen as a “get poor quick scheme,” artists like Bates still try to make a living from selling their creative output and if they’re lucky, they have the opportunity to present their work in their own art show.
On Dec. 9 The Hive Gallery in Salt Lake City will be hosting an art show that features Bates’s work. Bates, who is a senior in the BFA program with an emphasis in painting and drawing, sold prints and originals at The Hive over the summer. In August, he was approached by one of the proprietors of The Hive, Emily Edmunds, who asked if he’d do a show in December. This will be Bates’s first show and will feature 20 watercolor and pen works, four books of illustrations and paper dolls. Prints of his work will also be on sale for $10. The show will also feature the bands Ferocious Oaks, whom Bates’s designed the EP cover for, and Pebble Blaqk.
Bates’s work is influenced by surrealism and art nouveau, a style that was prominent in Western Europe and the United States from 1890 to the advent of World War I. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, art nouveau is characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.
What makes Bates’s work definitively his is not only the style of his drawings but in the intricate and precise detail manifested in the line work done in pen. He creates realistic interpretations of people combined with unnatural beings that are odd but intriguing. Many of his drawings have a surrealist Charles Dickens vibe to them, images that hearken back to the past but a past much different than our own. There is a poignant melancholy or sadness in all of his work, like a haunted dream but not a nightmare.
Bates’s, whose career aspirations are to do illustrations for books and magazines, has a style that is uniquely his, one that looks deliberate but is almost accidental.
“I draw things before I really know what it’s going to be,” Bates said. “I just draw things automatically.” Bates’s has been working on the show since the beginning of the semester. “If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right with this show,” Bates said. “And I have faith in this show.”