“Art taking over my life…I never saw it coming.”
William Gene Patrick was a young Biology student in the early 80’s, on the path to becoming a large animal veterinarian at Michigan State University, when art found him.
“I did a two day trip to New York City starting with $50 in my pocket, two loaves of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a reservation at the YMCA on West 63rd Street. I visited 75 galleries in one day. Elevator doors opened to galleries containing the best art in the world. The artworks didn’t pour over me, they penetrated me. I “knew” like the first glance at the love of your life, this (Art) was “it” for me.”
In one of these galleries, Patrick saw a humble-looking, elderly gentleman sitting in a corner. Patrick says he had a “gentle, sagely look combined with the roughened knowing of a construction foreman.”
“I felt his eyes following me. I was in my early 20’s and he was looking at me as a father would look upon a son. As I felt him observe my reactions, I imagined he might have experienced the same emotions as I some 60 years prior.”
A few years after his trip to New York City, Patrick heard news that Henry Moore had passed away.
”I was familiar with his work, but not his face. I was shocked when I saw his picture in the news. I believe Henry Moore was the gentleman sitting in the corner of that gallery. In a flash, I realized my brush with dedication and joy. Moore’s life was spent in service. What a gift, what a blessing, to have received an approving glance and shared a moment in the world of art with Henry Moore.”
Patrick did not follow the typical artist’s educational path. He was initially mentored outside of the classroom in apprenticeships. After 12 years of painting and exploring various media, he recieved a scholarship to study Sculpture at Eastern Michigan University.
“I would never be the artist I am today if university education had been my only option.”
In 2003, Patrick followed his heart and dedicated his life to making art.
“ I return to this statement and it always works .... that success can corrupt, while usefulness can only exalt.... Just be useful. Each month the money appears and bills get paid. As a result, this “miracle a month” has developed into an understanding that nothing ever stops someone from being useful and art is useful.
“Now I don’t only expect miracles, they stack up. This has made me an enormously lucky man, in all espects... Blessed to be making art and grateful that so many people have believed in and supported enthusiasm”.