For THE SOAK UP episode 14 we got a few words in with illustration legend Patrick Schmidt.
VATC: Paddy or Patrick? I’ve seen both.
Patrick Schmidt: Everyone calls me Paddy but illustration design wise I’m Patrick.
VATC: There are literally dozens and dozens of well-known artists called Patrick Schmidt, which makes it hard to research you specifically. I spent a good 30mins reading one interview about a guy who does illustration and graphic design only to find he was a half-Mexican born in Saudi. His illustrated self-portrait looks like you too. That’s more an FYI than anything.
Patrick Schmidt: Yeah, I thought it was only me and my uncle, then when I was trying to sort my website, I realised there was bare Patrick Schmidts.
VATC: How did this all begin?
Patrick Schmidt: I guess from early, I’ve always been drawing. My Mam did Art & Dad could draw fish, and they always supported me. My great uncle Bertus Schmidt was an amazing Artist in Rotterdam and he really encouraged me, giving me his really nice, expensive paper. Later, when I was at Uni, I met ‘The Cloud Commission’ and without a doubt can say that I wouldn’t be doing what I would be doing without his support and encouragement – he introduced me to so much and let me share his studio for nothing.
VATC: Talk to me about Brothers of the Stripe and what it means in 2022? What are your artistic affiliations?
Patrick Schmidt: Carlos/The Cloud Commission was the intro here originally. We’re trying to cook up a little reunion but that’s probably gonna be later 2022. Other than that, artistic affiliations, I have lots of friends doing cool shit, some are best friends some are people I don’t see enough of and obviously you bump into people you know through people who are also mainly nice and I really love/respect their work.
VATC: For someone discovering you for the first time, how would you describe your work?
Patrick Schmidt: I would say it’s daft and has playful energy that that’s a bit like my personality.
VATC: What on earth is going on in your mind?
Patrick Schmidt: I dunno. Hard to say sometimes, sounds cliché but honestly anything I see can trigger an idea and then that evolves.
VATC: There are tons of consistent motifs in your work – Dali-esque melting, wild animals and tigers, cheese, plants and trees, lots of boobies, 90s nostalgia… what does it all mean? Where does it all come from? Are they symbols or is that overthinking it?
Patrick Schmidt: I think the last one kinda answers part of this question, I guess. The other part is, I just liked drawing lots of those things and maybe in a way they’re an homage to some of those aspects unconsciously.
VATC: Your early colour pallets appeared to be quite pastel, then around 2014 sudden colour splashes appeared, and now it’s practically technicolour. Have I made that up, or was that a real and conscious development?
Patrick Schmidt: I think you end up trying different things generally, but you also can’t help but get influenced by what's out there.
VATC: Is it important to have fun?
Patrick Schmidt: 100%
VATC: Is it just me, or do many of your characters have quite dark, sly smiles?
Patrick Schmidt: Just You… Maybe, but its unintentional.
VATC: Is there any element to your work that you feel people sometimes miss?
Patrick Schmidt: Think there will be always things people will miss but I mostly an open book.
VATC: Where does your influence sit?
Patrick Schmidt: Philip Guston, Russle Maurice, Horfee and a whole mess of tattoo/Graffiti artists.
VATC: You seem to be quite fascinated by characters. Were you into comics as a kid? Beano fan?
Patrick Schmidt: I liked the Beano and I loved watching cartoons.
VATC: What do you think of the rip-off Disney characters on low-grade piers and ice cream vans?
Patrick Schmidt: I think they’re wicked, I properly buzz off them and can be better than the original.
VATC: Who are some of the artists that most inspired you?
Patrick Schmidt: Apart from the ones I mentioned before, I just love seeing different styles and techniques and that inspires me and my work the most.
VATC: What life experiences inform your work?
Patrick Schmidt: Your first response is never your best.
VATC: You’ve done some cool stuff with Malarko. Some of your other fave collabs?
Patrick Schmidt: Malarko is my brother and when we do stuff it’s mostly for fun or we’re hanging out. To be fair most collaborations are fun and my favourite, until the next.
VATC: What should we expect to see next?
Patrick Schmidt: I want to do more painting but I have a few other fun ideas I want to actualise stuff that I’ve been meaning to do for ages.
VATC: What would be a dream future collaboration?
Patrick Schmidt: I’d love to do a collaboration with a luxury fashion house.
VATC: Is there a burning artistic ambition that you’ve yet to fulfil?
Patrick Schmidt: Solo show –life just keeps getting in the way!
VATC: Would you ever try to make a cartoon? I imagine it being a kind of Jiří Brdečka (or other bizarre Czech 1960s stuff) affair. Which would be ace, by the way.
Patrick Schmidt: Yeah, love that trippy weird style, and I’d love to create something along those lines. I would just have to work on my animation skills.
VATC: What do you reckon to NFTs?
Patrick Schmidt: Bit of a bubble, harder to make money from them than I first thought, but would love some of that Crypto!
VATC: Which young or under-the-radar artists should we be aware of?
Patrick Schmidt: Dunno if he’s under the radar, but Alfie Kungu is the man!
VATC: Is corporate/professional graphic design the Bruce Wayne to your illustration Batman?
Patrick Schmidt: Yeah, ain’t nothing going on but the rent, but actually have quite a creative job that benefits my own work in terms of experimenting with style and allowing me to not be as one dimensional.
VATC: What did your art teacher think of you?
Patrick Schmidt: Probably not a lot, don’t think he was that arsed.
VATC: Did your parents keep any of your school art? And if so, what was it?
Patrick Schmidt: There’s honestly so much shite in my parent’s garage, I dread to think, I cringe about stuff I did not that long ago.
VATC: What advice would you give to an 18-year old you?
Patrick Schmidt: You’re lit and don’t worry it will all work out (that should be everyone's mantra!).
VATC: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Patrick Schmidt: Mr Zee – North East Graff legend – Like in impressionism if you just hint at certain things when painting your brain makes the rest up.
VATC: If you had the world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?
Patrick Schmidt: Fuck knows – IDK stop voting Tory! (British version) Look after each other!
VATC: Who would play you in a movie about your life? And what would it be called?
Patrick Schmidt: Not sure. Someone with a round head. I’d probably like it to be Stephen Graham.
Done reading, now go check out Patrick's Spotify playlist here.