PatLaro, the Painter of One Thousand Canvases
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Pat Larochelle’s wall-sized art first caught my eye with its bold and vibrant colors. His canvases look like windows onto an abstract parallel universe. Some of the shapes he paints at times remind me of deep ocean scenes or starry skies, sometimes cavernous organic shapes or even symbols from another civilization. The fruit of the artist’s imagination stretches and takes over canvas after canvas, evolving and changing colors, subject and mood but keeping the same intensity. Each of the paintings is connected to the next, creating a seemingly never-ending series of artwork. The abstract forms, juxtaposed and superimposed onto colorful backgrounds seem as if three dimensional and in perpetual motion.
Totemic Pareidolia is the name of Patrick Larochelle’s grandest project to date. The Montreal based artist, also known as PatLaro, has already completed one hundred of his imposing paintings, which represent only a tenth of his fully finished project. This long term enterprise should, once finished, count no less than one thousand canvases, which when put one next to the other, should add up to a metric count of one kilometer (0.62miles).
PatLaro has a background in art direction and a twenty-five year career in advertising behind him, which led him to traveling and residing around the world on multiple occasions. Eventually, in 2013, after a five-year long work stint in Saudi Arabia, he decided to start his ambitious project, putting his passion for painting first.
Totemic Pareidolia is a series of abstract artwork inspired by psychological stimuli as well as playing with the notion of personal perception and also exploring the symbols and beliefs included in our spirituality.
PatLaro’s original inspiration came from “a research of a visual language based on rather simple shapes several years ago.” The artist explains that he then “wanted to develop this language into more complex universes”.
But back then the Quebecois was having trouble finding the right context or motive behind creating on a regular basis. With a busy schedule in art directing, little time and energy was left for painting. From there came his inspiration for the 1km project which gave him the direction and ultimate motivation to ”just do it.” The artist speaks of that objective as a liberation, as a strong enough incentive to keep going without questioning his project at every step of the way: “one thousand canvases [...] as a goal has pushed me to produce, as simple as it sounds.” As a hard worker myself, constantly focused on achieving creative goals on a daily basis, I cannot help but to admire the drive of the Canadian artist.
I asked PatLARO the question that I had in mind since the first minute I read about his ambitious project. Isn’t it stressful to know there is still so much more to achieve ahead? What about a potential “painter’s block”? Currently, the artist has completed one hundred pieces in the span of five years, which was less than he had planned during that period of time due to his simultaneous career in creative direction. Regarding the future of Totemic Pareidolia, PatLaro adds in a light hearted way “I plan on working on this project until my death, so I still have another thirty years to get to the end”.
The artist plans on exhibiting the paintings in ten phases, while replacing the sold ones by giclée prints to be able to showcase the entirety of each phase at once. While Larochelle does not exclude the possibility of “changing medium or style in the future, without giving up on the concept of series and sequences” the artist is open to witnessing the project change overtime as “life experiences accumulate and times change”.