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Scott Patt: Bigger. Smaller. Funnier.

Stay Wild

SCOTT PATT was a professional in the action sports and apparel industry with experience working for Hurley, Nike, Converse and other huge brands. But right now, Scott Patt is an artist in the middle of a year-long daily painting series titled “ Bigger. Smaller. Funnier.

Did you really make a new painting every day, or did you work ahead to buy yourself some time?

Most of the time, I’m making a new painting every day. It can get pretty insane. Everyday, I’ve got a new deadline. But in the spirit of the project, I like to create work that documents what’s going on in my life, our lives, and relevant things around us. It feels more alive that way. That being said, some of the dates are planned out around life stuff and ideas inspired by things I’ve collected in the past: photos, ephemera, or simply parts of conversations overheard.

Usually two to three times a week I’ll sit down and cull together my scraps and ideas into my sketchbooks. I’ve got lots of active lists of ideas that I haven’t fully fleshed out and certain images I want to use but don’t know where or how just yet. Ultimately, concepts are selected by how I’m feeling on a particular day or what day of the week it is. Mondays are usually ballbusters, so I’ll put something up to help inspire myself and others or give ‘em a good laugh to get the week going. Wednesdays are about humpin’. Fridays require a little something to inspire stayin’ wild, whereas Saturdays and Sundays can be more about the Zen. Regardless of the day of the week, there is always a story. Even if it’s just a couple words, there’s a reason behind each piece. Many of them relate to really important moments in my life or things that have happened to me. I’ve got a lot of trust for people, so that naivety has gotten me into some pretty interesting situations wherever I’ve gone. It makes for some pretty great stories.

It was also really important for me to treat the concepts and works less precious. I’ve done a lot of fetish finish art, pieces with absolutely pristine surfaces and high gloss, which I love. But I wanted to approach this from a less precious place and treat the pieces as sketches or works in progress. In some ways, the project is about letting people into a very intimate part of a process I normally don’t like to share because it has flaws and isn’t fully finished. It’s really opened me up to just trying shit, and it’s become a great mechanism for vetting ideas for future collections.
Some of these seem pretty rebellious—like you’re pushing against yourself or at least against the things you love and hate about pop culture. What do you hate about yourself?

I hate a lot about myself. But that’s kind of why I’m doing the project. And it’s a lot of why I make art. I have a hard time letting go of stupid shit I’ve done in the past. I’m always rehashing shit in my head. Art for me is a release valve to try to process some of it and let it go. I started the project to do something bigger, smaller, funnier. Bigger—doing more of what I desire to do and making things more meaningful. Smaller—doing less of what I don’t want to do and cutting out the shit. And Funnier—simply laughing and smiling more. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something, meaningful, worth sharing and ridiculous. I wanted to make a massive body of work/sketches/ideas that reflect life, exhibit it in new ways, connect on a larger scale and do it in a (reasonably) intelligent way. But I needed it to be epic. I wanted a quest that would stir shit up, push me and help guide me to more meaningful work. It’s working so far, although I like to drink whiskey while I paint, which means I’m drinking a lot of whiskey.

It’s important to note, I do love a lot of things about myself, too. But you didn’t ask that question.
Did all those years of working for big companies make you better or worse at making art?

I’m open to the fact that working at corporations completely ruined me as an artist.

Having worked for smart and successful companies helped me see things holistically as it pertains to art as an expression and a business.

I use to work as the global creative director of footwear for Converse. That experience was amazing for many reasons, but one of the greatest things about that job was coming to understand the concept of democracy in regards to the things we connect to. Next to Coca Cola, the Chuck Taylor All Star Sneaker is probably one of the most democratically consumed objects on our planet. What’s special about the Chuck is that what it represents is accessible to everyone. Everyone can go out and get a piece of “fuck you” at a reasonable $50 and make it what they want. Or, if they want something more exclusive for their sensibilities/ego, they can go out and get the super limited edition X. It’s high and low business, and everyone can play! I love this!

Artists have been pioneering this business model for the last 20 years as commercial digital networks continue to broaden. It’s a great complement to the gallery system where artists can grow their base and introduce new people to their work through accessible price points, while still creating limited larger works and projects for patrons and gallery partners, etc. It’s simply about creating a well-rounded business model as an artist.

The idea of democracy is equally important in relation to the growth of an artist’s community and support network. I had been thinking a lot about how, as an artist, I can spend four-six months getting ready for a show, in a studio, alone. Then I have an opening for one night, where if you’re lucky, a couple hundred people see the work, and then for the next 30 days, you get the occasional local, tourist and the clientele of the gallery. That’s amazing, but it isn’t tapping into the full potential of what new media can do in regards to building connectivity with other artists, fans, patrons, new galleries, etc. I loved the idea that Bigger. Smaller. Funnier. could be a living gallery that starts digitally via Instagram, Facebook, scottpatt.com and Big Cartel. Then it has a second life which would reside in a gallery in conjunction with new larger works stemming from the over 365 sketches throughout the year. The opportunities for an artist’s works are only getting broader and that’s a good thing.

See more of Scott's work HERE >>>