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Chopping Block: Lou Patrou

A self-taught artist and native New Yorker, Lou Patrou's career has spanned nearly four decades.  You can understand our excitement when we got a chance to hear the inside scoop of his creative process, inspirations and what he does when he's not painting.

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lou-patrou

POW: Looking through your works, I see a variety of styles and patterns. How would you describe your art?

Lou: My descriptions of my art have changed over the years just as my styles have changed. I guess the category would be a mix of pop surrealism, design and contemporary. I do an awful lot of faces and often work designs and patterns into them. I am intrigued with distilling down shapes and forms and puzzling with colors. I don't do illustration jobs, so I have no agenda or deadlines and am completely free to follow my own ideas. I might explore one type of look or I might do a series, I never know.

POW: You’ve worked in a number of industries, including television and motion pictures, to product design. Did your previous work inspire your current art?

Lou: Across the years I worked in any creative fields I could find and I have always strived to keep that all separate and clear of my art. Everything a person does influences everything else, whether you are aware of it or not. I notice that I include certain shapes and textures that are implanted in my mind from everyday sights, like subway signs or architectural elements.

blueflowers-bb583e09d5-crop-4x5.jpg.thumbnail_3Blue Flower by Lou Patrou

POW: Do you recall the moment you decided to concentrate on fine art?

Lou: When I moved to New York in 2000, I decided it was time to start showing all of the work I had done over the years and finally start promoting myself as an artist.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 1.02.48 PMSilvie Plaid by Lou Patrou

POW: I particularly love the Sylvie and Hank Plaid wood prints you collaborated with us on. What was your inspiration for these two characters and how do you go about re-imagining them as frequently as you do?

Lou: Hank & Sylvie were first imagined as a 1950s salt & pepper shaker style matching set of male / female characters. The original drawings are done in black & white pencil on 50" sheets of paper. I remember being obsessed with making the shapes and gradations very smooth and clean. I incorporated some nice elegant designs into them. They were scanned and colorized for this print and their backgrounds changed. Hank & Sylvie will be made into a collectible ball point pen early next year, limited to 500 pieces. It will be sold in a signed numbered artist case and the metal clip will be a polished silver sculpt of Hank.

Screen shot 2014-09-19 at 1.04.41 PMHank Plaid by Lou Patrou

POW: What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an artist?

Lou: It has always been about the satisfaction of the creative process for me, coming up with an idea and seeing where it leads.

POW: When you are not painting, what other activities do you partake in that make you happy and inspire your creativity?

Lou: I go into Manhattan for a city experience and also like to take a walk through the woods, and then there's always music!

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For more information on Lou Patrou, please visit http://www.patrou.com/