• Joanne Hsieh (MissyChiao)

瞧瞧藝術 ChiaoxArt|驚悚的喜感:Patrick Wilkins

Updated: Apr 19

文 Text|謝蕎安 Joanne Hsieh

圖 Image|Patrick Wilkins


"Homo Sapiens Meets Homo Neaderthalens, (智人遇上巧人), 36"x36", Mixed media on panel, 2018

藝術家 Patrick Wilkins 是我在芝加哥藝術學院讀書時的同學。學校鼓勵我們把碩士的兩年當作是最後可以盡情揮灑、實驗、創作,而不必考慮藝術市場的現實及需求的遊樂場。而 Patrick 是我認識的人之中,從進學校前、到畢業後,從一而終像個頑童般隨心所欲地創作的藝術家。

我第一次在他的工作室門口看見一個紙盒子,是一個可以用手轉動、從笑臉到哭臉的「心情指數小盒子」,就很想認識他。近畢業時,大家被報告、教授會談、評圖大會等deadline 追著跑,中間還兼任助教、有些人還另打兩三份工;同時不斷被逼著創新、毀滅、再造的研究生們,已經到了筋疲力竭、接近崩潰的地步;我們常在休閒空擋一起吃飯聊天,建立了革命情感。 即使已經搬離芝加哥兩年,我們仍保持聯繫,當我邀請他做隔空訪談,他馬上答應了。


粗獷創作手感,來自於藍領工作經驗

來自印第安納州的一個小鎮 Elkhart,Patrick 說那裡是「全美國出產最多RV 的一個城鎮。」在大學期間及出社會後,他曾在超市的肉品部門工作,每天清晨四點到超市打理香腸、切絞肉,因此他的作品中常常出現罐頭、香腸、錘子、釘子等等,具有「加工工廠」、工業感的元素。

他擅長運用不同材質,用各種回收物、廢料,創造別出心裁的作品。油畫、布料拼貼、鉛筆、報章雜誌的混搭,加上美式卡漫風和傳統繪畫的結合,充滿一種「美國風」。突兀的畫面和媒材的運用,除了深受美國早期經典卡通的影響(例如其畫作中人物的誇張表情,)也承襲芝加哥70-80年代藝術家群 Chicago Imagists 的地下創作風格。(六零年代末期,一群不同於西岸、也不同於紐約學院派普普風的派系,畫風屬具象、有童心的芝加哥藝術群組,詳文介紹請看「The Chicago Imagists」。)


“Beef (Try)”, 「牛肉(試試看)」,48"x48",混合媒材,2018

最近搬家不久的他,分享了一些新家兼工作室的照片,正中央有一個可能有百年歷史的肉類冷藏箱,也很符合他的創作主題。(圖/ Patrick Wilkins 提供)

好比被喻為「Where America begins」的芝加哥,Wilkins 的作品就類似新工業與舊古典的結合。雖然畫風充滿濃厚的卡通和 pop 元素,在畫面中用炭筆或鉛筆描繪的細節裡,不難看出他深厚的素描功力。人物雖醜,卻用傳統繪畫中「大師自畫像」的構圖呈現;或是滑稽的角色配上古典繪畫中聖人或貴族的秘密手勢。 藍底白線的格子,黃底紅花的 pattern,刺眼的對比色、甚至有時可說是難看的配色,卻令人印象深刻。重複出現的背景,好像卡通主題音樂般具有洗腦效果,讓人硬是記住了這位畫家。


Untitled, Oil, enamel and acrylic on linen, 18"x12", 2019.

Much like Chicago, the city "where America begins", Wilkins' work is a funky mash-up of the new industrial landscape with traces of the Old World. Though the paintings are occupied by cartoony imagery and elements of the Pop, his attention and homage to classical art can be seen in the "self-portrait" style of master painters and the secret hand signs in religious paintings. The patterns, may it be the white grids on a blue background that insinuate a pool or bathroom tiles; or the orange-red floral on a yellow ground, the repetitive use of these colors and motifs are like the opening theme to a cartoon episode that is guaranteed to be filled with mischiefs and stunts.


Untitled, Oil and enamel on linem, 18"x12", 2019.

“Fun Isn’t Fun Anymore”, 24"x24", Mixed media on canvas, 2018.,構圖上完全心之所至,有種「既然這樣了,那就豁出去吧 」的粗糙勞作手感,這也是他的作品吸引人的地方。

成為藝術家的心路歷程

從小就愛畫畫, Wilkins:「我小時候很愛畫各種怪物,然後我把它們收在桌子抽屜裡直到它們爛掉。」他在印第安納的 Perdue University 讀大學期間,上過各種美術課。「我拿了繪畫、油畫、印刷、織品、金工、陶藝,各種課都上了。雖然都很喜歡,但最後只覺得自己什麼都會一點。」畢業後除了在超市打工,他每天畫畫、創作,這樣過了三年。

三年後,他決定更上層樓,申請上芝加哥藝術學院,拿到碩士。「那如惡夢般的兩年讓我收穫良多,我到現在都還在從中恢復。如果你沒有經濟上的壓力,比方說有獎學金,那麼藝術碩士學院是你可以得到很多專業幫助的地方…但是如果沒有經濟上的幫助,其實也可不必。我個人的經驗是藝術學院對我非常有幫助的,在校期間我學會 " 如何思考以及觀看藝術 ",而不是 " 什麼是藝術 "。」

看似隨興的他,對創作有一種熱情的執著,談到他藝術生涯當中最難忘的經驗,「去年(2018)夏天我去丹佛(Denver, 科羅拉多州)的畫廊展出人生第一場個展。」這場展覽賣出的作品,足以讓他辭掉當時在一間印刷工廠的工作,「那感覺真是好極了!」


Wilkins 的藝術和生活融為一體,這個角落的藏書也是他常用來參考創作的靈感來源。

"As a child I always loved drawing. I would draw pictures of monsters and save the pictures in my desk until they fell apart (I had a very messy desk.)" While studying at Perdue University for his B.A., Wilkins took every art related classes possible, "painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles, metal smithing, and ceramics. I loved all of it, but I felt like a jack of all trades. I mostly did drawings for 3 years."

And after that he decided to get his MFA, "I got my MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It was a productive but grueling two years that I am still reeling from. It was extremely beneficial for me. It accelerated my progress immensely, but also helped me learn how to slow down and think about work. And I really appreciate that they taught me HOW to think about art, not WHAT to think."

He recently had his first solo show at Leon Gallery in Denver (2018). "It was great arranging things with those guys and driving my work a thousand miles to show it. I even sold some relatively large work there. All around the whole thing was a fantastic experience! "


藝術家工作室一隅。熟知各類創作技法,Wilkins 的創作多元豐富,展現在各種材質的實驗混搭。



驚悚的喜感

「我畫生活中的一些瑣事,畫作背後通常有個故事;故事是什麼不重要,我喜歡讓觀者自己去解釋,而觀者的解釋通常比較有趣。」

在什麼樣的狀況下會特別有靈感呢?Wilkins:「特別是去參觀畫展的時候,沒有什麼比看見特殊有趣的作品,更能刺激我想要回工作室畫畫的動力了。」 創作過程中總有陷入瓶頸的時候,Wilkins 的建議是:「休息一兩天,給自己一些空間。畫一些草圖在廢紙上,不要太在意畫得好不好,畫到不想再畫、或是靈感回來為止。」


他這樣形容自己的創作過程:「我喜歡憑直覺在畫紙上作畫,我把 surface 當作 surface,而盡量不把它想成一個空間。這樣我反而能安心自在的畫下去。」雖然畫作時大時小,有時畫面佈滿各種元素,有時偌大的畫布中央只有一個小東西。但他的創作有一定的脈絡可循,比方人物的膚色,或是眼珠裡的藍色格子,都是他的正字標記。

藝術家的玩心,在隨心所欲的物件跟材質的碰撞上展露無遺。

"The paintings usually have a story behind, generally involving my life. It isn’t important whether the viewer understands the story. I find other people’s interpretations to be much more interesting." When asked what inspires him the most, Wilkins says nothing inspires him more than when he finds fresh, new, exciting work. "Nothing makes me want to hit the studio more than seeing some fantastic new work." As for his creative process, "While I do some sketching, it is generally very intuitive. I treat my surfaces as surfaces and not so much as spaces. It allows me much more freedom." The way each image is composed varies from one to another. Sometimes there is just one tiny element on a vast surface, and other times it's orders within chaos. But you'll most likely find the blue/white grids and a eerie smiley face in bubblegum pink.

人物總是有種自我解嘲的幽默表情。"What Bootstraps", 48"x36", Mixed media on muslin, 2018.

他畫中的人物長相醜陋又充滿喜感,我問他這些人是誰?Wilkins:「他們是介於人類和單細胞生物之間的東西 ... 雖然他們長得差不多但是每個都是不同的人,我喜歡用泡泡糖粉紅色畫他們。」他們臉上不外乎是人類在惶恐、緊張、或自我懷疑時會做出來的怪表情。各種人類不安的情緒,都讓人感受到一種頹喪又充滿喜感的「蛋蛋的哀傷」。現代社會步伐太快,資訊分享過度膨脹,各種光怪陸離,如何在被資訊轟炸下而仍保有赤子之心以及對世界的樂觀,如何分享正能量和自我解嘲是現代人重要的課題。


如同藝術家自己所言:「我的創作是以幽默為出發點,但是仍有嚴肅認真的一部分。我不認為幽默和嚴肅必需是二元化的。我欣賞的藝術家像是 Trenton Doyle Hancock 或是 David Leggett,他們都是用幽默的觀點去探討人類生活的掙扎和苦惱,而且非常樸實。」而這也正是他個人的創作風格與生活方式 -- 自我解嘲化解心中的苦悶和煩惱,用創作紓壓,不刻意深究或加諸多餘的嚴肅性在作品背後,讓觀者和創作者本身的想像力一起自由奔走。


I asked who these characters are in his paintings, he says "they're kind of somewhere between humans and homunculi. It’s never the same one even though they look pretty similar." They have these looks on their faces that I cant help but sympathize with.


"My work has a loose autobiographical theme on anxiety, doubt, and daily struggles. It’s not like a pity party or a coping mechanism, but more of a alternative to the odd portrayals that people put of themselves in social media generally. (My work) is definitely on the humorous side, but I still consider it to be serious. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I think the human figure is infinitely interesting. Trenton Doyle Hancock, and David Leggett are both people I look up to. They make painting that deal with struggle and humor in a very humbling way. "

"Nailed", 36"x36", Mixed media on muslin, 2019.

©2019 by ChiaoxArt. Proudly created with Wix.com