Brendan Patrick is a blind painter who lost his sight due to complications from cystic fibrosis. He tells SEEN what it’s like being a blind artist and where he finds inspiration.
By Stephanie Steinberg
Photography by Justin Milhouse
Name: Brendan Patrick
1. How long have you been in Metro Detroit?
2. How would you describe yourself in a sentence?
I have a quirky and cheesy sense of humor, which reflects my disposition in life. And I believe you can see that in my work.
3. What age did you start doing art?
As far back as I can remember. I didn’t exactly have any friends. My pencil and notebook were my best friends growing up.
4. What medium do you typically work with?
My main medium is acrylics, and having no vision, I use puffy paint to raise my lines so I can feel them, almost like a coloring book.
5. How would you describe your artwork?
I think it’s interesting being blind, in which I have never visually seen my work. And that is part of the joy of my process. It’s hearing people’s interpretation.
6. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in every aspect of my life. I play bass in the punk band called The Wretched Sights. Growing up buying new records, I found the album artwork to be a big influence. A lot of old monster movies from the ‘80s, such as “The Dark Crystal,” “Garbage Pale Kids” and “Little Monsters” played a big role on the development of my work.
7. What’s it like being an artist in Detroit?
I believe it is a wonderful city that I am proud to be from. And I can draw inspiration from every crevice and corner of the city.
8. What’s one of your favorite pieces you’ve made?
I have an R2-D2 painting that I have done that people seem to enjoy. Being blind, I used a model and felt the proportions for a few days before I tried to apply it to a canvas.
9. Who’s one of your favorite Detroit artists?
I have a few that I’m very lucky to call my friends and my influences: Tom Beste, Kari Musico and Tim Jenkins.
10. Who’s one of your favorite artists in general?
This is the hardest question on the list to answer. I don’t know if I can pin it down to a favorite.
11. Where can we find your work?
You can follow my Facebook page Brendan Patrick. I always have upcoming shows that I post on my page.
12. Do you have any upcoming shows?
I have a few in the works, but nothing is set in stone. Contact me if you’d like to book me.
Read about more emerging artists in SEEN’s Art Issue.