Friday, June 1, 2018

INSPIRE ME! Patrick McGrath Muñiz, June's Artist of the Month

By Ernest Disney-Britton
“Holy Combo I” by Patrick McGrath Muñiz is one of 50 pieces showcased in “GenNext: Future So Bright,” an exhibition of works by 20 artists opening at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art through Nov. 25, 2018
Painter Patrick McGrath Muñiz is the master of fusing religious iconography and American commercialism, and that's why Muñiz is June's INSPIRE ME! Artist of the Month. He's a recent discovery, having just finished a solo exhibition at La Luz De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, and we are totally consumed. His “Holy Combo I” is a perfect example of why we're fans. In the 2016 painting, the artist pairs bare-torsoed Christopher Columbus next to the Burger King sharing a Whopper, fries and a shake. In the background, St. James, the patron saint of the Spanish conquest provides a kind of religious blessing. “Holy Combo I” is one of 50 pieces showcased in “GenNext: Future So Bright,” at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Santa Fe, NM through November.
ADORACION CAPITAL (2014) Oil on canvas 30 x 30 inches.
As you know, usually, we secure our own interviews with INSPIRE ME! artists, but in this case, I found the perfect one already in Art Illustrated from October 12, 2015 but with updated images from his website. I am sure you are going to like it, and you'll discover that Patrick McGrath Muñiz is one busy artist. In addition to the group show at Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, he is also in another group who in Seattle, WA at True Love Art Gallery (Through June 10). Other upcoming shows (solo and group) include: Albuquerque, NM at 516 Arts (August); and in Houston, TX at both The Jung Center (November) and Vaughn Mason Fine Art (December). I also invite you to follow-him on Twitter like I do, and visit his website to check-out his paintings, and for exhibition information.

October 12, 2015
Artist painting in his studio
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Patrick McGrath Muñiz and I’m a artist from Puerto Rico now living in Houston, Texas. My work consists primarily of oil paintings on panels, retablo triptychs and canvas.

2. Why art?
Humans have been painting for at least 40,000 years, far longer than doing agriculture and building cities. I find the art of painting as a link not only to our ancestral roots but as a path towards a spiritual connection with nature and with who we are in the world. My work is concerned with history, empire, colonialism, religion and how these are mirrored in our current consumer culture. For me, painting seems to be the best method to approach history and link these narratives into one story.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I don’t ever remember wanting to be an artist in my childhood years but rather enjoyed drawing and creating more than any other game or toy. When I was old enough and it was time to decide what to study in college, I had no doubt in my mind that all I wanted to do was to create art. The problem was that I could not make up my mind as of which artistic discipline to concentrate on. I went from graphic design, to sculpture to digital design to painting. Since 1996 painting has been my favorite medium.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
My favorite subjects in art have been religious iconography, mythology and mysterious imagery with hidden meanings found in the Tarot, Astrology and Alchemy. I’ve worked with acrylics, encaustic, tempera and gouache but I always find myself going back to oil paints.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
For me painting is becoming more and more the end result and not something I instantaneously come about in my studio. I prefer to study my subject, do some research, write and find interesting connections between different narratives through history before I even start to work on preliminary sketches for my paintings. The process is multilayered so the work in the end reflects a multiplicity of meanings and stories that are all connected by a central archetypal theme.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
The Spanish painters Diego Velasquez, Francisco Goya, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Jusepe de Ribera as well as Puerto Rican colonial painter José Campeche are among my favorite artists.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
The best responses I’ve had for my work come from people who appreciate figurate art with good craftsmanship combined with social awareness, a message relevant to our times and a cause to which they can identify with.
8. What do you like about your work?
What I like about the work I create is it’s polysemic nature and ability to mean different things to different people. Even though there is a specific purpose and message behind my work, there is always space for re-interpreting and projecting more meaning into the work.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
The best advice I can think of giving to other artists out there is to be always honest with yourself and your art, be diligent and disciplined and let your best work be seen by others as much as you can.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
In 5 or 10 years I see myself showing my work in more museums and shows in the U.S. and abroad and publishing a book and my own deck of Tarot cards. In 15 to 20 years I can see myself teaching art again.
"Alba's Dream" by Patrick McGrath Muñiz in "Puerto Rico: Defying Darkness" (August 11 - October 20, 2018) 516 ARTS, 516 Central Ave SW Albuquerque, NM
Patrick McGrath Muñiz
Tel: (912)306-4064