Channeling bold colour, patterns, and montage, Patrick James Bravo experiments as he creates, sharing a playfulness that straddles both adult and child-like states of mind.
“My art and my life merge together in my creations both on the walls and on the streets, where I try to share my playfulness with people,” says Bravo, whose work often extends beyond the canvas, to public art instillations across the city. “I try to interrupt someone's routine, I try to give someone a smile.”
Hailing from a small town in Italy, Bravo's mother gave him a one way ticket to England when he turned 18. Over the last seven years he's travelled to Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand before landing in Vancouver just over two years ago to attend Emily Carr.
These travels and the diverse cultures and styles he encountered now influence his art, which fills both high and low art domains, and is focused on the response of the audience. “All I care about achieving at any given moment, even if just for a second, is to make you feel that spark we all had while growing up when we didn't care about anything except enjoying ourselves.”
Many of Bravo's works on canvas start with a random gesture—often a brush stroke—and then by staring at the result he abstracts some essence inside of it to play with. His work, he says, evolves into something with a higher meaning with a hidden message inside.
Off canvas, Bravo's interactive works harness the unexpected, like at Vancouver Folk Music Festival last summer when set up a tent filled with colourful balloons (which he had to refill each morning).
“There's a big conflict, some people hate balloons and some people just love them,” he says. “It was the idea of using a found object, a recognizable object, that brings people back to memories of their youth. There's a very surrounding element about them, too.”
Vancouver's many gallery openings and artist community continue to inspire Bravo and push his artistic boundaries. In a recent collaboration, he and a fellow artist worked on a piece alone and then left it for the other to continue. They passed the work back and forth—not saying a word to each other about it—until the end result was something far removed from what either had envisioned.
“I travel quite a bit, and I've had different experiences in different communities, but Vancouver is unlike any of the others; it's new, refreshing but different,” he says.