New digital art series on A Line (Blue): Artist Dave Van Patten

Metro Art has been piloting a new digital art series, and the inaugural exhibition is launching at the A Line (Blue) stations. More People Than You Know features portraits of transit patrons created by local artists. To celebrate the upcoming reopening of the refurbished rail line, we are featuring an interview with each of the commissioned artists. Make sure you look for these portraits displayed on the newly installed digital customer information panels. This is Metro’s first transit corridor with this new cultural amenity.

Lives in neighborhood: Rose Park

Where do you live and work?
I have been living in Long Beach since 2000. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where I started in animation but switched to English after my first year there. I was also pursuing music while I was in college. After graduating, I decided to wholeheartedly focus on art again. I now work as an illustrator and a muralist. Long Beach resonates with me because this city has an intimate art scene. I feel that there is a communal spirit here. I have met many artists and musicians who are fueling the originality of this city. Part of my current art practice is to continue my lifelong interest in illustration — a discipline that can effectively express my stories, ideas, and philosophies.

What is your primary medium? How do you work as an artist?
As a muralist, I use acrylic paint; and, as an illustrator, I use pen and ink, watercolor, marker and/or gouache. Sometimes, I work digitally. With this process, I would draw the outline of invented characters on paper, scanned the composition, and then paint in the colors digitally.

Do you have a connection to the Blue Line?
I have a deep connection to the Blue Line because I worked in downtown Los Angeles six days a week from 2013-15. I pretty much lived on the Blue Line. It was convenient, allowing me to read and draw during my commute.

How did you approach the Metro’s More People Than You Know portrait project?
I hope that my portrait evokes the feeling of unity; I wanted to depict a female face that was created with various quilt-like, digital collages. The composition serves as a metaphor for how a community is established. The swatches are stitched together to signify a whole. I want to convey that we are all interconnected. In our current socio-political climate, it’s important to eliminate the “us-versus-them” mentality in relation to race, religion, and politics. We need to make a concerted effort to work and live together harmoniously.

What are you working on now?
I am creating science fiction inspired drawings for an upcoming exhibition. It’s surrealistic, very much akin to my other works. I am also working on a big mural in Long Beach.