I first discovered Patrick Vale's work while sourcing muralists for an installation in our entryway. I became entranced by the organized madness of his large-scale cityscapes—the attention to detail, consistency, and sheer patience they required to complete. Pat embedded himself in IDEO's San Francisco studio for more than a week—morning, noon, and night—to create an alternative map-view of San Francisco. I caught up with him to get the backstory.
Artist from Bristol, UK, currently living in NYC.
I draw and paint every day. It is hard to pinpoint how I learned to draw, but I have been practicing since I was a young lad. I would always draw what was around me.
As I got into my early teens, I really got immersed in depicting the urban environment. This was fueled by picture books that my dad would bring back from trips to the US. American cities didn’t look like UK ones.
I went to art college, but I largely stuck to my guns and just made the work that I wanted to make. To be honest, I’m making it up as I go along.
IDEO San Francisco mural, 2017
My sketchbooks from the last 25 years and a giant Spitfire that I made and had hanging in my old studio.
I am normally juggling three projects, so I try to split up the day and do a few hours on each.
I tend to do the large-scale work in my studio apartment, and then I have a desk in a shared studio where I do smaller jobs.
So I guess I work in two to three hour bursts, and then go do something else. Obviously, if there is a pressing deadline, that goes out the window. I do 12-plus hour sessions sometimes.
In the garden of Ebineezer Goode, 2016. Another piece from LA. I made this painting on the iPad Pro, sitting in my Airbnb host's garden in Los Feliz.
Go running, to the gym, or for a pint. Talk to a friend and then go out and draw something. Or just start something. Sometimes I think too much.
I also keep a small, pocket-sized sketchbook on my person, so that when I am traveling about the city I can draw people and things that catch my eye. It is a lovely way to see stuff. People spend so much time looking at their phones these days, they miss out on so many things that are happening in real life.
Pull-out spread for Surface Magazine, 2016. A collage of sketchbook drawings I made on location while traveling around NYC.
I’d like to watch a cricket test match in the Caribbean.