Meet Local Artist Patty Larrik

I have always combined teaching with making art. It is important to do both. I was a K-12 art teacher, a curriculum and program designer and an arts administrator at San Jose State and for the Palo Alto USD. The foundations of my own art were formed at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State. However, I probably learned the most from teaching strong-minded and talented high school students and naturally creative little kids. (Oh, to be so free!) It was my students that helped me understand how to think about making art and why art is so important.
My art alternates between representational and abstract images. One informs the other. Representational art, like a novel, creates an emotional response and invites conversations about meaning. Highly abstract or non-objective images are, for me, about the ?grammar level? of art. It is essentially art about art. My current ?not a tourist? series is about unusual views of places I have visited. Sometimes landscapes, more often cityscapes, or engaging interior spaces. Even though figures are not usually present, these places reveal much about the people who built and inhabit them. A bit surrealistic, the pictures provide multiple possible narratives for the viewer.
A successful match of methods and materials to message stimulates new ideas and new imagery. For in-the-moment, painterly images, particularly my series featuring folk art and arcade figures, high fashion manikins, dolls and animals, I make monotypes, the most fluid, forgiving and immediate method of printmaking. It is basically painting with ink on a slick surface and printing it only once. When color and mood are essential, watercolor is my choice. It is the least forgiving yet a magical method. And for my most studied and detailed ?scapes?, I like my version of mixed media, which combines elements of drawing and painting and uses materials that do not usually go together, i.e., pencil, black lithography crayon, solvent and watercolor to heighten the drama. I always learn new things through the extension of an idea and the methods used to make it into art.

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