'Seven' by Pat Vale

Paul Smith Wooster Street celebrates the work of a local New York artist with British roots in this new exhibition of intricate urban observations, viewed from the tops of tall buildings and street level.

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Pat Vale is an artist and illustrator from England and has immersed himself in the task of documenting the great city of New York. Pat rocketed to international attention in 2012 when a time-lapse video showing the painstaking production of his Manhattan skyline drawing, Empire State of Pen, went viral. Since then, he has become something of a cityscape specialist.

In this new exhibition, Pat aims to capture the optimism of New York coming back to life as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift. This positive outlook is reflected in a new collection of works that observe New York from different viewpoints. Drawings made with ink on paper, such as Chinatown, have been created impromptu as Pat explores the city on foot, moving between his studio in Brooklyn and Paul Smith Wooster Street.

As a complement to the more intimate ground-level works, Pat has created a series of new cityscapes that return to his more familiar viewpoint. Seven, which gives the exhibition its title, and View from Bowery Roof (2021) are acrylic works, while a trio of watercolours titled Lockdown Roof, explore the same view changing through the seasons.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I don’t have to look too far, luckily. I love to draw whatever is in front of me. You can draw the same subject a million different ways. I take great pleasure from exploring this."

How does music feed into your creative process?

"At certain times of day it really helps me focus and get into a rhythm. But I also need silence or an open window and the sound of the city. I also like spoken word radio and podcasts."

What makes you happy?

"Drawing and knowing my family and friends are doing well. I’ve also taken great pleasure teaching and mentoring over the years and would like to do more of it after the pandemic lifts. I also love seeing a dog carrying a ball or a big stick to the park, and people effortlessly travelling on skateboards sipping a coffee (especially on the roads here in NYC)."

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Featuring: Pat Vale