Speaking with Patch Whisky

May 9, 2013

Currently based in Charleston, South Carolina, Patch Whisky is best-known for his zany, wildly appealing characters that surface both on and off public spaces. We recently had the opportunity to speak to the wonderfully talented artist during his visit to New York City.

Patch Whisky

When did you first start getting up?

I tagged some in the late 90’s, but I wasn’t serious about it at the time. Then three years ago, when I moved from West Virginia to Charleston, I met Ishmael, and that changed things. I began painting in public spaces.

What inspires you to keep doing it?

The street is the most important canvas. It is for everybody; that’s the beauty of it.

How does your family feel about you’re doing?

At first, they said, “You need to get a real job.” Now they love it.

Patch Whisky

Have you exhibited?

I’ve shown work at the Museum of Sex in NYC, the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina and galleries all over the country. I’ve shown in a range of places — from flea markets to street fairs. I once stumbled across one of my pieces at a yard sale. That’s when you know you’ve made it. Ha! Ha!

That is funny! How do the graffiti writers respond to what you do now on the streets?

Well, they haven’t tagged all over my stuff, so I take that as a good sign. Even though I don’t write, I definitely pay attention to what is going on with writers. We share the same love and mission, and some are my good friends.

With whom have you collaborated?

En Masse, Ishmael and Dustin Spagnola

Patch Whisky

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

It’s important. You do something in New York, and it can be seen all over the world in seconds. Having such a large audience keeps you on your toes!

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Da Vinci, Picasso, Jeremy Fish, Jeff Soto and Skinner.

Do you have a formal art education?

I graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2004.

Any thoughts about art school. Was it worthwhile?

Definitely! It was great being with other artists and sharing ideas. Many of the artists I met back in art school became my close friends.

Patch Whisky

What is your main source of income these days?

I have been a full-time artist for about ten years now. I earn money through gallery sales and though commissions for both indoor and outdoor murals.

What’s your impression of New York City?

What a tasty little treat New York City is! It’s everything I could have dreamt of.

Where else have you painted?

I’ve painted all along the East Coast — from Miami to New york City.


What are some of your other interests?

I love to watch wrestling and play video games

What’s ahead?

Traveling and painting all over the world.

Photos by Tara Murray, Lois Stavsky and courtesy of the artist

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