Patrick W. Welch
|Patrick W. Welch|
|Born||Patrick W. Welch
July 1, 1965
|Died||October 16, 2008|
Patrick W. Welch (July 1, 1965 – October 16, 2008) was an English painter, illustrator, cartoonist, and art professor who lived in Chicago, Illinois, United States. He billed himself as "Patrick W. Welch, Painter of Hate," a spoof/homage to Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light.
Welch was born in Billericay, England, and attended state schools. He earned a BA in graphic design from the Norwich School of Art in 1987 and an MA in illustration from the Royal College of Art in 1991. In 1993 Welch gained cult status for "The Hippogryph Files," a series of graphic short stories that appeared in The Baffler, Pulse!, and numerous comics anthologies, as well as being printed as postcards. Welch shared a London studio with illustrator Mikey Georgeson, better known as The Vessel from the indie-pop band David Devant & His Spirit Wife.
In 1995 Welch moved to the United States with his American wife, Carrie Golus. During the 1990s Welch and Golus co-edited a short-lived comics anthology, Thurn & Taxis.
Welch taught sequential art at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, from 1995 to 1998. In 1998 Welch moved to Chicago, where he became a professor of media arts and animation at the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago. Beginning in 1998, Welch collaborated with Golus on a series of non-fiction political/social comics for the alternative weekly newspaper Newcity as well as a comic strip, "Alternator," which ran in The Stranger, UR Chicago, and other alternative weeklies.
Beginning in 2001, Welch began to gain recognition for his painting. His solo painting exhibitions at Gescheidle Gallery in Chicago, where he was represented from 2002 until his death in 2008, included Revenge: The Miniature Hate Paintings of Patrick W. Welch (2002), Patrick W. Welch versus The Village of Schaumburg: Miniature Redemption Paintings (2004), Art Destroys: More Miniature Hate Paintings and Mini-Insult Blocks from Patrick W. Welch (2005), and I now know more than you ever will (2008), which was his final exhibition.
Welch's paintings were often autobiographical, combining violent subject matter with black humour. He is perhaps best known for his "Miniature Hate Paintings," which evoke a strange combination of childhood nightmare and adult neurosis, drawing on references from contemporary fine art, comic books, and science fiction. His "Miniature Insult Blocks," painted on 1" x 2" blocks of wood, detailed English playground childhood insults in, according to Welch's description, "the saccahrine colours of boiled sweets."
Commenting in Chicago's Newcity critic Michael Workman writes:
"Welch has been on a ride into the infinite regress of his distaste for human existence for years now, and it's a testament to his obduration that he's managed to keep lively each self-reference as the fecal discharge of famous mainstream artists. Most successful, however, are the grid of even tinier acrylic panels, "Mini Insult Blocks" as he calls them, each emblazoned with an insulting word such as plonker or bumbandit. Every time I encounter these paintings, it's never the frothy sense of loathing that wins me over, but the undeniable, laugh-out-loud funny humor of them all, an aspect of the work that no doubt has the capacity to elevate them even further into that stratosphere of the imaginary world beyond."
Though not a naturally gifted sportsman, Patrick determined in the 1990s to not only learn the game of soccer but become, for a short time, one of its most feared and respected exponents on the London amateur scene. From 1991 to 1995, initially shod with Wellington boots, but progressing to professional-level footwear, he was a battling midfielder noted for aggression rather than celerity, appearing for the Sao Paolo XI at Hurlingham Park. After his transfer to the States it is believed he never played again.
As a teacher at the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago, Welch was well known, liked and respected as one of the most notable teachers in the Animation department. Classes he had taught included Acting for Animation, Story-boarding, Drawing and Characterization, Character Design, Advanced Life Drawing (occasionally) and Portfolio classes. Welch taught alongside Lindsay Grace at the school.
Part of his popularity may have been due to his delightfully morose personality quirks. He was known for his self-deprecating humor and detached, bleak outlook on the world, while maintaining a generally positive disposition in spite of it. While generally portraying himself as a pessimist in regard to society at large, he was undeniably an optimist in regard to the ability and potential of his students. Welch was in the habit of indicating an imminent break to the students attending his lectures with the words "Come on everyone, these cigarettes are not going to smoke themselves".
In 2006, Welch started an art movement collectively known as the Micromentalists. The general philosophy of the group was that art need not be "monumental" in scale to be important, and has been described as "pseudo-Marxist". Welch's purpose in putting together the Micromentalists was to start an art movement based on this philosophy. Founding members included artists Bill Drummond, Steve Keene, Paul Nudd, James J. Peterson, and Eric Doeringer.
The group became known not only for its premise of small art, but also for its commercial practice of selling art at lower prices, adjusted for the income of the buyer. Their first shows were mentioned in Chicago and national art media for these reasons and for the participation of notable artists such as Drummond and Keene.
In 2011, Cara Walz embraced the micromentalists' belief in the artist as retailer outside the gallery system (which, for the most part, caters to wealthy collectors). She sells small, affordable art online under the pseudonym "the micromentalist".
Publications and reviews
- New American Paintings, Open Studios Press, Boston, MA
- Stabler, Bert. Giving it All Away, The Chicago Reader
- Waxman, Lori. The Micromentalists, artforum.com, March 13
- Austin, Jake. Let's Get Small, Chicago Journal
- Kelly, Dan. Micromentalism and Patrick Welch, Gapers Block. http://www.gapersblock.com/detour/micromentalism_and_patrick_welch/
- Kaufman, Justin. Hello Fellow, Hello Beautiful. WBEZ Chicago. https://web.archive.org/web/20080420075319/http://www.wbez.org/content.aspx?audioID=13454
- Workman, Michael. Eye Exam, Border Patrol, Newcity, December
- The Basil H. Alkazzi Foundation: a celebration of twenty years association between the Foundation and the Royal College of Art, Royal College of Art Press, illustrations pages 60 and 61
- Sill, Robert. think small!, Illinois State Museum Society, (catalogue), page 17, 64, illustration page 52
- Camper, Fred. Hated/ Liberated, Chicago Reader, Section 1, page 26, September 20
- Sanders, Seth. An Artist's Revenge, Chicago Reader, Section 1, page 9, September 13
- New American Paintings, Open Studios Press, Boston, MA
- Smith, Ulysses. Chicago Reader, interview, Section 1, page 30, January 18
- Keller, Julia. 9/11 adds new urgency to strips, Chicago Tribune, review/interview with illustrations, Tempo, Section 5, December 27
Crouse, Charity. Exhibit Explores America's Fascination with Guns, Streetwise, Street Scene, December 17
- Hawkins, Margaret. Gallery Glance, Chicago Sun-Times, Section N5, June 15
- Keller, Julia, Sketchy Reports, Chicago Tribune, review/interview with illustrations, Tempo, Section 5, pages 8–9, June 20
- Green, Nick. For the Love of Comics, Chicago Social, interview with illustration, page 30, June
- Mason, Robert. A Digital Dolly?, Norwich: Norwich School of Art and Design Press, Norwich, Eng., pp. 44–45, 54; illustration 22
- Vengas, Margarita. Georgia Guardian, review/interview with illustration, May 21
- Austen, Jake (February 21, 2007). "Let's get small". Chicago Journal. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- "Micromentalist Exhibition". Style Chicago. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- "Critic's Picks". Artforum.com. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
- Stabler, Bert (March 23, 2007). "Giving it all away". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2007-04-20.