Pat Perry is from Michigan and is committed to real things. He likes to draw and paint and play and run and write. Although he is happy to be able to speak and have an audience through his artwork, he does his best everyday to listen and learn from the world he lives in. His work will be featured in Issue 25.2.
Selina Hammond: You’ve created an entire series based on Alaska that includes illustrations, sketches, and photography. The series also seems like a slight departure from your other personal work.What is it about Alaska that is different from everything you’ve done before?
Pat Perry: One huge difference is that the work from Alaska was all made in one month. It was focused more on Katmai and being in the wilderness than the emotional baggage that I’ve tried to stowaway into some of those other drawings and paintings. I didn’t have any way to communicate besides checking my email once a day in the ranger station. That made it impossible to get cluttered with all the noise of my life back home. I’ve never felt so content and present, and that probably made the work a little less dark.
Hammond: You’ve also been working on a large project—double the size of the Alaska project—that details your trip across the North US. What inspired this project, and how is it currently coming along?
Perry: It’s coming along steadily. I have no interest in rushing it at all, especially the story. I was inspired to make the project because I thought it would be useful. It’s one of the few things I’ve found that is more about what you can get rid of than what you can get. There are still dreams and still things that move slowly and still things that remain unmolested. Lots of us have had great trouble finding satisfaction in the things that most find completely satisfying. The more we make that apparent, the less normal those shallow, unsatisfying, dominant trajectories become. That’s why I’ve been excited to work on this project; it gives one small, weird example of an alternative. It focuses less on critiquing dominant culture and more on the magic that lies beyond it. Mostly though, its about dirt, drinking and driving, and being cold.
Hammond: Are there any books that have played a part in your illustrative style or have impacted your creative sensibilities?
Perry: Like most people probably, books affect the way I see things more than the way I make things. That being said:Society of the Spectacle, Metaphors We Live By, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, People’s History of the US, andWalden. I’m trying to balance out reading heavy books that are about being human with books that more just celebrate being here at all. Reading constantly pushes me to shoot for that graceful precision that is necessary if you want to make things that matter and also make things that are beautiful. I can’t handle too much of just one, and the best of books, art, and music always find a way to have both. It takes a lot of cleverness and wisdom, so I guess I’d best keep reading.
Check out more Pat Perry here.