Lonely Artist Club had the pleasure of sitting down with multimedia artist Patricia Perman to discuss her craft and creative passions. Let’s jump in…
Thanks for meeting with us Patricia. First and foremost, we want to talk about your art. What subjects and mediums do you work with and how did you come to find them?
Tough question! I like to work with many different subjects, but my passion is portraits. For my portraits I like to switch between mediums. I draw with acrylic markers on paper, use acrylic paint on canvas, add collaged elements, embellish with gems, and often finish with a coat of resin. The first time I drew these portraits was when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I have no idea where they came from, but I've been drawing these types of faces and eyes ever since. They have evolved over the years, but always look similar.
"I drew these portraits was when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I have no idea where they came from, but I've been drawing these types of faces and eyes ever since.
We want to hear more about your multimedia artwork, but first can you tell us a bit about who you are outside of your creative work?
I was born in Germany. After school at around 20 years old, I wasn’t sure what to do next so I decided to work as a nanny in New York City. Even though it was quite a culture shock coming from a small town in Germany out to Queens, I loved living in the US right away and decided to make it my home. I spent the next 4 years in Germany doing an apprenticeship and working in Business Management before I packed up my bags and moved to the United States for good. I spent some time traveling in Florida, but ended up settling down in Los Angeles, California where I’ve been ever since… 24 years. At almost 50, I am half German and half American - at least that’s how I feel.
I met my husband a few years into living in Los Angeles and we have a 12 year old daughter. My day-to-day is centered around the two of them - we do pretty much everything together. Especially in the last 9 months. After 20 years in the corporate real estate business, I decided in March to take some time off and focus on myself. I needed a break to reassess my life and get ready for my next adventure. My planned year off is almost up - so we’ll see soon what’s next! Any free time goes to my art. I love creating as often as possible and also love to read about and see other artists’ art.
"Any free time goes to my art. I love creating as often as possible..."
Almost every artist, at one point or another, experiences a creative block, right? Would you mind sharing your personal experience with managing and overcoming creative blocks or ruts?
Yes, for sure! For me it always comes in waves. If I am on a high, I create daily and in masses. I might make a collage, work on a portrait and start trying out spray paint - all in a day and nothing can stop me. Then a few weeks later, it starts slowing down until all of a sudden I haven’t touched a brush in a week. It makes me mad. I love creating and I hate when I am not motivated enough to work on my art. I am not sure why this is happening, but I somewhat have given up and try not to pressure myself too much. If I am on a low for too long though, I have to actively get myself back. I start cleaning my art table, organize my paint, sharpen all the pencils, buy some new art supplies, or set myself simple assignments like making a collage with 3 pieces of paper… and at some point, my daily art routine starts picking back up again. From what I have heard and read, it’s important to show up for your art on a daily basis and at least fart around a little - no pressure, just do something!
"It’s important to show up for your art on a daily basis and at least fart around a little - no pressure, just do something!"
Creative blocks are challenging to overcome. Is there another aspect of your work as a multimedia artist that is equally, if not more, difficult to manage?
For me, the hardest part is figuring out how to take an idea and create it so that I am satisfied with the final product. I am a little obsessed about clean lines, perfect cuts, no bubbles in the resin, every gem in the right place, etc. I see every imperfection and it can drive me nuts. That’s why using other mediums like my collages of ripped paper or abstract paintings help to get away from my perfection obsession. The process of these is also very different. When I draw portraits, I think about every line, keep a steady hand, and breathe slowly so I don’t mess things up. When I paint abstract paintings or make paper collages, I am careless, messy and don’t think too much. I believe it's good to try different things. I learn from every project as each comes with a new challenge. It feels good when you finally figure out that challenge.
"When I draw portraits, I think about every line, keep a steady hand, and breathe slowly so I don’t mess things up. When I paint abstract paintings or make paper collages, I am careless, messy and don’t think too much. I believe it's good to try different things."
This next question is a bit more candid. Do you have any fears surrounding your art?
I struggle with moments like ‘why bother making art,’ ‘what’s the point,’ or ‘nobody likes my stuff!’ I think these fears are normal for anyone who puts themselves out there to be criticized, but I always remind myself that art is subjective - I can’t control what people think of my art. Most of the time I am also wrong about which piece of my work people will like. It’s never the one I like - Ha!
"I think these fears are normal for anyone who puts themselves out there to be criticized, but I always remind myself that art is subjective - I can’t control what people think of my art."
What are your thoughts on social media and its effects on art and artists? Is there any part of social media that you wish you could change?
There are definitely pros and cons. Looking back it was hard getting my art out there before social media. Galleries were your main road to success and they seem to play their own games. That has all changed. Now everyone can be an artist and you are almost guaranteed to find your audience on Instagram - people who really like your art. You just have to stay away from thinking you need ‘likes,’ ‘followers,’ or to create ‘content.’ Just do your art and stick to what makes you happy. It’s too hard to control Instagram or create content because you think that’s what people like… you just don’t know. Just stick to what you can control and post stuff you feel good about. Of course this is easier said than done, but if it applies to most of the time, that’s already pretty good.
"You just have to stay away from thinking you need ‘likes,’ ‘followers,’ or to create ‘content.’ Just do your art and stick to what makes you happy."
Lastly, before we say goodbye, what advice would you give to other artists out there?
I like to read about all kinds of artists and their habits and routines. How they've gotten successful - there is always one nugget that helps me move forward in an area that might not be working well yet for me.
Thanks again Patricia for sharing your work, your story, and your thoughts on the current digital landscape. It was truly a pleasure chatting with you. Wishing you all the best as you continue creating your collaged portraits and beautiful abstract works.
If you want to learn more about Patricia Perman, check out her socials:
Instagram: @patyperman_art, patyperman