We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick McGrath-Muñiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, what are you inspired by?
Inspiration for me comes mainly from past memories, from world history, ancient myths and the amalgation of these elements in art.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being fully bilingual, half Irish American, half Puerto Rican with a Roman Catholic background and having grown in Aguadilla, a small coastal town in the island of Puerto Rico during the 80’s and 90’s gives me a unique perspective as an artist. I have now lived in Houston,Texas for the past six years and in the continental U.S. for 16 years. In a way, my background and life experiences allow me to see the world from the dual perspectives of colonized and colonizer. Puerto Rico is the oldest remaining colony in the world. It was a Spanish Colonial possession since 1508. From 1898 to his day it has remained a non unincorporated U.S. territory, also known as a “Commonwealth” but most people in the island recognize this as an euphemism for “Colony”. Much of the colonial experience has influenced my work. My paintings combine Spanish Colonial Iconography with American Consumerist Propaganda, reflecting of this dual cultural heritage. The work responds to our capitalist and consumerist society by tracing its origins to the time of Columbus by emulating earlier painting techniques, indoctrination strategies and devices from the time of the conquest of the Americas.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First of all I’d tell my friend to wait until it is safe to travel given the current pandemic. Under normal circumstances I’d take my friend to visit the Brazos Bend National Park. On our way back up on 99 we could stop by getting some delicious pupusas from El Salvador Pupusas y Mas. Near the Houston area I would definitely take my friend to the Houston Fine Arts Museum with its new buildings and the Houston Zoo as well. We could have lunch at The Hobbit cafe. They have my favorite veggie burger and some of the finest beers in town. After that we could even stop by my favorite art gallery Heidi Vaughan Fine Art on River Street. Next day we could go and visit The Menill Collection, eat ramen soup at YINJA Ramen bar and go for a walk at Discovery Green. I can think of other fun places to check out, from a walk on Navigation Blvd to the Galleria Mall. From the Ren Fest in Todd Mission to the Silos at Sawyer Yards, there’s plenty to see and do in town.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shout out to my dearest friend Cesar Villanueva Cordero (1959-2020) He may no longer be with us in this world but he lives on in the hearts and memories of those who knew him and will always live in my art. Cesar gave me my first job opportunity painting murals when I was just getting started with art. He has been a big influence in many of the ideas behind my work. His unique sense of humor, curiosity and extraordinary imagination inspired much of my work early on. I am deeply grateful for having met him when I was very young, growing up and going through so much in life together. I am also profoundly grateful to my whole family, to my mom, brother, sister, my wife and son. Something I’ve learned is that we are in this life for a very short time. Be grateful and cherish every moment with your loved ones.
1. FIRE RABBIT (2018) Oil and gold leaf on panel 24 x 30 inches. Available at Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM. 2. ALBA’S DREAM (2017) Oil and gold leaf on canvas 24 x 30 inches. Private Collection, 3. SAUL GUATU (2018) Oil and gold leaf on panel 24 x 30 inches. Available at Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM. 4. CORPUS CRUCIS (2018) 7 (12×12) oil and 23 karat gold on panel. Available at Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM. 5. MOTHER OF NINE (2020) Oil and gold leaf on triptych panel 24 x 36 inches. Private Collection. 6. DIASPORAMUS (2018) Oil on canvas 44 x 64 inches. Available at Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM. 7. CRUZ Y FICCION(ES) (2018) Oil on canvas 42 x 80 inches. Available at Evoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM. 8. THE DISNEYRICAN DREAMER (2013) Oil on canvas 24 x 30 inches. Available at Heidi Vaughan Fine Art, Houston, TX.