By Silva Chege
Dom Pattinson defines the mantra of ‘home is where the heart is’ despite spending half his life in New York.
During this time, celebrity admirers including Brad Pitt, George Clooney and the inspiration for his current collection, Victoria Beckham, have surrounded him.
In spite of this, international acclaim couldn’t keep the Bournemouth born Pattinson away from his roots and he has finally returned to unveil his Victoria Beckham inspired ‘Barbed Wire Love’ and brand new ‘Love is all’ collections specifically for Bournemouth Football Club at the Westover Gallery in Bournemouth.
Pattinson has long been described as an urban artist for his perfectly composed harmony between street art and fine art. With the success of Banksy’s urban art sprawling across cityscapes and lists of most coveted paintings, anyone found using printmaking, stencilling or spray-painting is automatically branded as an ‘urban artist’.
However, when asked if he considers himself an urban artist, although not entirely offended it is apparently the term doesn’t sit well with him.
He said: “ I consider myself a fine artist”. Which is understandable when you realise that his work can’t be found on any street corners, bus stops or dilapidated walls. Instead Dom uses and masters the ubiquities canvas and can be newly found in the homes of the rich and famous.
Dom further separates himself from any possible comparisons with Banksy, by adding a unique spin to his designs, each of his masterpieces carefully intersperses bright explosions of colour in and among the bold black shadows, creating a very powerful and effective contrast.
But who is the man behind the canvas and what inspires him?
With an outfit choice as perfectly curated as his art collection Dom, like his work, balances colour and neutral tones with a hint of exuberance in the form of rings and other embellishments.
Dom very much follows the new breed of ultra-confident rock star artists pioneered by Damien Hurst in the middle of the brit-pop explosion. In spite of this, such confidence hasn’t left him detached from reality.
On the contrary his feet have been rooted firmly to the ground.
Dom’s creativity is not only influenced by his inner thoughts, he is very much open to external influences: “I draw from film, radio, TV, people on the street and general conversation.”
He also counts Pre-Raphaelite as some of his biggest inspiration and counts their adherence to story telling through art as one of their most endearing qualities.
This sentiment isn’t lost on Dom as he strips his work completely of political agenda and specific references, to allow his audience “to tell their own story and draw their own conclusions from the work.”
So against influencing his audience with his own ideas, when I asked him “what do you see in your own paintings”, his once poised demeanour momentarily surrendered to meekness: “That’s personal to me”.
But eventually he did admit that in particular the painting of the girl skipping with a rainbow was partially aimed at his son to say that even in a money-obsessed world, enjoying your work and life is “true happiness”.
This predilection for allowing the audience to draw their only conclusions is a sentiment that Dom also applies to his own life. When most people see Victoria Beckham they see a Spice Girl, a famous husband and a fashion brand.
When Dom sees Victoria Beckham, he sees a warm generous character who has done and is continuing to do exceptional things for charity, particularly UNICEFF, the charity of the evening with all proceeds from the exhibit will also go to the organisation.
While other famous people are accused of not doing enough for charity despite such wealth, Victoria Beckham like Dom to a similar extent defies labels and remains very alive and alert to the world and people around her.
As for the other host of famous admirers, “I never actually met them, I only know they are fans from the newspaper. To me they are just normal people, I don’t mind who buys my paintings”.
And it’s from this parting statement that really informs and cements my opinion of Dom the man and Dom the work, sure it’s bold and vibrant but beneath the bright colours there is a real humbleness and earnestly, after all he is still just a local Bournemouth boy.