Gay Atlanta artist layers ‘Dips of Depression’ for Joining Hearts

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Whether it’s through his great artwork, his years as a giver to some of gay Atlanta’s favorite charities, or his friendly, smart, sexy, talented reputation, you may already know Patrick Hanson. Now we go deeper.

Hanson unveils his latest works during a Saturday opening reception for a collection he calls “Dips of Depression.” The title is partly an abstract expression of his own mental state as well of others who may be misunderstood or ignored. It also refers to the literal dips and depressions of texture that Hanson explores in the paintings.

“Most of my work is painting with a sculptural twist,” he tells us. “Most works have a lot of texture and tangible elements even when the surface is flat.”

Hanson throws some extra incentive behind the opening to get you to the show to explore his art for yourself. A portion of every sale during the reception and online presale benefits Joining Hearts, they of the yearlong gay party train barreling toward a big gay check for AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House.

Combining his work with giving isn’t at all new for Hanson. Joining Hearts is a longtime beneficiary, and in January, the artist provided a live painting/performance during Affair of the Art for Jerusalem House (photos).

We’ve been on the Hanson boat since way before then. This time, he dives deep into his “Dips” with us to expose his take on art and why Joining Hearts gets so much of his art love.

How would you describe your work and your process?

My preferred style is abstract, but I do venture into commissions, portraits and [other] subject matter. My approach is a little sporadic, but I’ll just say my major source is random inspiration – music, a color pallet, texture. Everyday, I see items and think about art uses or applications.

The works tend to manifest from idea or inspirations to applications, then to a cadence of trying to get the work to feel right in my view. It’s hard to describe, but sometimes it’s that instant recognition that, “Yeah, this is done.” Sometimes I feel I never get there and still have works in my studio that are over 10 years old.

What can we expect from “Dips of Depression”?

Every show, I try and build on things I’ve done and take it to a new place where I have not been, and also build on things that I didn’t take far enough. Shows often resonate where I am in my life as well, and wanted it to be a play on words. I have been thinking a lot of social issues of health and wellness and how depression’s highs and lows affect so many – how our mental states are so layered and complex.

“Dips of Depression” also speaks of the amount of texture and depth of where I’m trying to take my works, pushing the definition of painting blurred with sculpture. The majority of the new works are really textured, have a lot of depth and I have experimented with some new materials as simple as thread that really have been pushing my ideas in new exciting ways.

What does the collection say about our culture and its reactions to mental health?

We all could give a diary confession of how our mental state is, how complex and intricate, and what you don’t see is just under the layer of things we show to people every day in our social persona. Yet we don’t really tend to be sympathetic to people that my have those problems. There is a social stigma associated with something that is as common having a bad day.

How can art make a difference?

I see people that are scared to approach art because they feel like they have to understand art in some foreign language way. I try and relate to the art novice its like music: Why do you like a song? It speaks to you right? Well, art is the same way. You can be highbrow with it if you want and dissect it, or you can enjoy it because it speaks to you.

Why Joining Hearts? How did they get your nod with so many worthwhile organizations in Atlanta?

Joining Hearts has a special place in my heart because of its continued support of people affected with HIV/AIDS. People don’t realize how many people are affected by this and how easy it is to lose everything when your battling illness.

I think their work for our community is awesome and love that this is a way I can support them who have supported so many of us. I don’t have the funds to give them money out of my pocket or I would, but I am doing what I can to do it in a way that not only helps them but garners them even more public awareness.

I have also paired with [Joining Hearts beneficiaries] Jerusalem House and AID Atlanta directly. I’m a sucker to help out when I can when I have so many things to be thankful for.

It’s a big gay weekend. Why make “Dips of Depression” part of our gay agenda on Saturday?

For anyone who is on the fence, I can only say that it’s a trip off the beaten path and a much better one. Art is such a great vehicle for people to enjoy. Stepping outside your everyday routine and seeing something new and enjoying it is awesome and enriching for people’s lives. Even if you’re not there to buy art, you can participate in culture and be part of an event that is great for the community.

And showing support to an artist makes the night that much more successful. Yes, sales are always good and the only way I make money, but being part of a great night, showing up, sharing a link, “liking it,” all makes an impact on my day-to-day life. I’m totally self-promoted, and if I don’t get my name out there I don’t eat.

So yes, coming out make a difference and there are studies shown that if your spend moments everyday enjoying, smiling, taking in and appreciating life you can add over 10 years to your life. So come out and enjoy a night now music, food, cocktails, life, and some really great art – if I do say so myself.

What else do you want Project Q readers to know?

Please come out, or share the event and support my new works. I’m excited that I’m partnering with Joining Hearts again this year and donating portions of my pre-sales and opening night sales. If you cant attend, visit them and make a donation.

Patrick Hanson’s “Dips of Depression” opens with portions benefiting Joining Hearts on Saturday April 26 at Cherrylion Studios, 7 p.m. See more of his work online and like it on Facebook.

Photos by Sher Pruitt for Project Q Atlanta

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