Getting Down with Patrick Gothard

Sep 23, 2014


Patrick Gothard ArtWalking up Patrick Gothard’s driveway, it’s clear an artist lives at the end. Not only is it located high up in Altadena, where pine needles line the streets in all seasons and painted rocks mark house numbers, but the yard is filled with empty easels and paintings are scattered underneath the carport. A cat sits and observes, curled up on the gravel. A voice calls me in, through the screen door.

Patrick Gothard is seated on the couch, relaxed, white hair lazily blowing as the fan passes by him. His glasses rest heavily on his nose. His cargo short-clad legs are planted firmly on the ground. Behind the futon and around the room, barely an inch of wall space isn’t covered in arts of various mediums, sizes and styles, from the abstract and vividly colorful to the strictly representational and muted; Gothard clearly knows no boundaries.

We sit and chat about Hometown Pasadena for a minute. His voice is strong and gruff, yet many of his sentences trail off, the words coming less frequently, until he lifts his hands, slaps his thighs and says, “Well, you know.”






Gothard was thirteen when he first started painting. His job at a candy factory netted him enough cash so that he could walk down to “Standard Brands” on Fair Oaks Avenue, a hardware store that happened to sell art supplies in one aisle, and spend his money on brushes and paints. He converted his basement into a sort of studio and began his work. His family resisted, he said, due to the classic dilemma of money. However, as Patrick puts it, “the more I was told ‘you can’t,’ the more I said ‘I am.'” Money was of no issue to him, and art was fast becoming an important identity and a welcome hobby. Besides, he says, “Money distracts from genuine art.”

When asked to describe his art, Gothard pauses. His eyes drift over the paintings on the wall opposite him, searching for a term, a statement. “Well, I’m not educated” he tells me, and describes schooling that ended in the eleventh grade without much of a focus on art. Because he was self-taught, says Gothard, he never placed restrictions on himself, never locked into a style, and therefore can paint whatever way feels right for the subject.




While describing this, Mary, his wife who sits and watches with admiration, chimes in. “It’s emotional art!” she says, smiling. Like her husband, white hair frames her face. She describes his works as series, each based on a current event or political message Gothard wants to express on a typically polarizing subject matter. War. Censorship. In Mary’s words, Gothard “only paints politics when he disagrees.”

The idea of a series is important to understanding Gothard’s works. Among the hundreds of paintings throughout the house, motifs will be found across multiple paintings. Even his fully abstract works have companion pieces that follow the same principles of design. Some are placed together on the wall, others are scattered and hidden. He gestures to a collection of trees painted in soft fall tones.

He tells me that his work often frustrates him. He forces himself to finish paintings he’s initially, “pretty disappointed with, but that’s what the series are for.” The next painting will often work as an improvement on the last. To Gothard, the series is a process to ultimately achieve the image in his head.




Eventually the conversation turns to his beginnings in the Pasadena art scene. Although he’d been painting since his teens, “only forty paintings a year,” Gothard hadn’t sold many. Early on, a friend had told him that in order to succeed, an artist needed a body of work. In 2004, he decided to quit his job as a housepainter and become a full-time artist, and by then, as Gothard puts it, “I looked around and said, I got a body of work, now I just need to sell them!”

He bounced around gallery spaces and affiliations with other local artists for around two years until he and Mary decided to put on their first “Open Studio” show. The premise was simple: open their house as a gallery to generate interest and foster connections. The yard, the walls—not a surface on the property didn’t in some way contribute to the show. Close friends who were expected to show up brought others with them, and word spread. Each studio show got bigger and bigger. Their circle grew.




In the eleven years since Gothard began selling his art, some 360 paintings of his have been sold. This shocking number doesn’t faze him. “I wouldn’t say I’m famous, and I don’t want to be.” Fame or not, Gothard is clearly popular, evidenced by a story he tells with a smile:

He googled his name once and found a man on MySpace who was trying to contact “the artist Patrick Gothard” in order to meet him and buy from him. The man had extensive knowledge of his past works, and eventually Gothard got into contact. After nearly six years of correspondence, the man bought a painting, which Gothard sent, “all the way out to Hamilton, Ohio.”






Patrick Gothard lives among his own art and, more importantly, lives his own art. His wildly varied series are each a slice out of his own life, a story, a flash of inspiration. From humble beginnings in a candy factory, waiting every day to pick up art supplies, to making and selling hundreds of paintings in just over a decade, Gothard chooses to live the life of an artist, and through being prolific, persistent, and possessing an innately affable personality, Gothard ensures his success in a place like Pasadena.


To see more of Gothard’s work visit Gothard Art.





When they first moved to Altadena, Mary and Patrick agree, it felt immediately, unmistakably, “just like home.”




Gothard Art_a











Open Studio Days

Open Studio Days





4 Responses for “Getting Down with Patrick Gothard”

  1. Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful write up on Patrick Gothard! The images and the article were excellent!! Thank you!!

  2. What a great article! Thank you, Hometown Pasadena!

  3. Patrick and Mary are close friends and dear, dear people. I have been fortunate to be able to work with them on the Open Studios project. I have been a HUGE fan of Patrick’s work since I first saw it. I feel that he is one of the most “Important” artists of our time, and an unknown treasure. I just hope his work gleans the attention that it deserves.

  4. We bought one of his early pieces at the last Open Studio: real white socks attached to a painting of a wooden floor. Reminded my wife and I of our teenage son.

    Thank goodness the socks don’t smell…:)



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