I recently visited the studio of Patrick Mauk, who I met through his job at the Dayton Visual Arts Center. I asked Patrick how long he had worked at DVAC.
“I started working there part time in 2004. As the organization grew, I became a full time employee and my responsibilities expanded. Now I am the Gallery Manager. I also oversee the exhibition design, preparatory duties and assist with all things related to the gallery.”
Patrick’s studio is in the same building as the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative.
I climbed the stairs and Patrick met me at the top.
The studio is HUGE. I asked Patrick how long he had worked there.
“I moved in about 10 years ago. Over the years I have shared the space with several artists, but cleaning up after they moved, and then finding some other artist to share the space got old. I finally decided to take the whole space myself.”
One of the nice things about having this space is that Patrick can keep and display a lot of his older work. As I looked at the art, Patrick reminded me that most of the art in his studio was leftover from shows, or possibly related to new work being created.
I am glad that this piece didn’t sell at one of Patrick’s shows. It looks like it belongs here.
I knew that Patrick had a degree in printmaking from the University of Dayton and an M.F.A. in printmaking and painting from the University of Cincinnati. I asked him to show me some of his prints. He said he wasn’t working on any prints right now, but he showed me some older prints he had stored.
Then Patrick showed me some recent sketches. He had friends send him selfies which he then sketched. Patrick said “I am not sure whether this is the beginning of a body of work or if I am just playing around. Time will tell.”
As Patrick started work on a painting, I asked him how he would categorize himself as an artist.
“I don’t believe in categories. I am trained in printmaking and painting, and I have taught drawing and printmaking at numerous places. But I don’t label myself a printmaker or a painter or a drawer. I don’t want to be hemmed in by categories. I think of myself as a maker. I make art.”
As Patrick worked, I continued to explore the studio. For some reason the studio seemed to be filled with mirrors, so I could easily keep track of his progress as I explored.
As Patrick’s painting neared completion, I asked where he found his inspiration.
“In a recent show at Sinclair Community College, my work started with a recognizable image – a fence for example – and then veered into an abstract image. In this series the only commonality is these holes. With some you can see underlying shapes through the holes but with this one you just see holes. I couldn’t tell you exactly what they mean, just that I like them.”
A few minutes later Patrick took the painting off the easel and hung it on his studio wall. Then he relaxed, looked at the work, and thought about whether it was done or needed more work.