Joining Hearts meets Warhol in ‘Popped Art 2’

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Gay Atlanta’s own Patrick Hanson has been working around the clock for months. Now the painter and sculptor is almost prepared for his next unveiling. We chat in advance of the “Popped Art 2” debut to benefit Joining Hearts.

When loyal followers of his work step into Cherrylion Studios on Saturday, they’ll find the continuation of a show Hanson (top photo) held a couple of years ago. Part 2 is a dynamic showcase featuring paintinsg and sculptures derived of miscellaneous media and multiple construction mediums.

A talent like no other, Hanson gives ordinary objects the magic touch, breathing new life into something that once was, and molding diversified mechanisms into a new piece that leaves viewers basking in the glow of his creative genius. In “Popped,” he explores iconic images and celebrities in new ways (second photo).

Never one to shy away from a charitable good cause, Patrick donates a portion of proceeds from Popped Art 2 to Joining Hearts. It’s a good habit worth keeping. Hanson’s works for Joining Hearts also include the annual live-paiting event Affair of the Art, as well as proceeds from last year’s Hanson exhibit, “Dips of Depression,” which wowed the crowd with abstract awesomeness. Fans hopped on Hanson years ago.

Taking a few minutes from preparations for Popped, he reveals a sneak peek of the big night, explains how Andy Warhol has been his muse, and tells us why partnering with Joining Hearts means so much to him.

When did you first discover your passion for painting?

I think some people are genetically inclined or have a disposition for it. Growing up, I always liked painting, drawing, construction and making a mess. I have a degree in fine arts with a concentration in sculpting and I really enjoy creating things that are more 3D than painting.

As a kid, taking apart stuff and finding out what makes it tick has always been intricate in my love for sculpture. Since I moved to Atlanta and don’t have a large studio, I have been focusing my painting into a more sculptural realm, adding a lot of depth, layers and textures. It has always been a part of me.

As early as I can remember the running joke in the family was, “Well, we know those are Patrick’s toys because they’re covered in paint!”

Where did you find the inspiration for Saturday’s show?

My usual forte that I am most comfortable in would be abstract art. However, I have always enjoyed figures, especially in pop culture. I didn’t actually dive into until about two years ago, when I began working with pop art or pop art inspired pieces, similar to Andy Warhol and what he did working in collage or using a multi-print of something. So, I layer all these ideas of pop art.

Andy was obsessed with celebrities and wanted to be famous so bad. He would hang out at Studio 54 and all these celebrities would flock to him due to the niche he had created for himself. That is really interesting to me. I kept thinking about how into that lifestyle he would be today and how much easier it would have been for him to become a star, without having to actually have the connections he made back then. That is sort of where the idea for the show came from.

For spectators who haven’t seen Part 1, what can we expect?

This show mainly has a subject matter of figures. There’s only two or three pieces that aren’t. It is my take on thought-provoking ways to make legendary icons into something else. For example, my Marilyn Monroe piece is broken down into a three-colored image with a multi-level presence consisting of tiny, tiny squares.

I have also used a bunch of mixed media, like my Tina Turner comprised of broken records. The texture and levels of using an item at first glance and not knowing what it is but then coming closer and realizing the source is really fun. It really engages the viewer, which can be difficult to do nowadays with cell phones allowing for instant gratification. If I can captivate people with my techniques, then I feel as if I have successfully completed a show.

What is the time process like when you commit to an intricate piece like that?

It is a passion of love for sure. But man, at times it is completely daunting, especially when a deadline is looming over you.

I do all my sketching on Photoshop, I’ve never been one for hand sketching. My computer crashed recently and I lost all of my sketches. That has been really stressful, especially considering that I take my time and think long and hard about how to bring a concept into a physical medium. I had to start from scratch and recreate what I had already done.

I also had this idea in mind to do Joan Crawford made completely out of wire hangers. I’ve had that idea in my head for about a month and a half. Brilliant! But I’ve only just been able to start work on it. So, all in all it can take a lot of time.

Do you work full-time as well?

No, this is my life. I have completely devoted myself to my art. It is very scary. When I try to explain to people who don’t really understand is I have to sell my pieces or otherwise I don’t eat (laughs).

You know, it’s different with people who are paid and also make commission, but my income solely relies on selling as many pieces as I can. I have basically been working 12-14 hour days, nonstop to have everything completed in time for the show.

Why did you decide to partner with Joining Hearts again?

Joining Hearts has been an amazing charity I have worked with for a very long time. I have known a lot of people that have had to deal with HIV or being homeless, to no fault of their own, because treatment can be so expensive they can’t afford it. But there have also been many success stories.

This guy I know named Kevin has spoken at many events about how just one helping hand has made such a difference in his life, going from being alone to being okay. I mean you never really know what it is like until you have hit rock bottom and don’t have anywhere to go. It is crazy to think that because of a sickness you could end up on the streets. And I have felt a real kinship with JH for all the work they do.

So what’s next? Any long-term goals?

I really want to get into more visual and technology-based media. If I could figure out a way to make interactive art that is sort of analog captivate people, that would be my ultimate goal; have people look and just enjoy it.

People always talk about how expensive art can be, what they don’t realize is how expensive the media needed to create actually is. If there is a piece that touches you and you love, then a price tag shouldn’t be a factor, as long as you’re living within your means.

When art speaks to you it is an amazing thing. I want my art to be different than anything else out there. I am constantly trying to create the uncreated.

“Popped Art 2” debuts with a reception on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Cherrylion Studios, 7 p.m.


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