PATRICK CHURCH uses leather as a canvas
When you create to the beat of your own drum, people notice – and for Patrick Church those people include names like Doja Cat and the Clermont Twins. His unique process sets him apart from the creative crowd, along with his painting skills and high-quality leather garments.
You can browse endless unique pieces on his online shop whether they're ready to wear, made to order, or even completely custom. Talk about options, right?
Every Patrick Church's piece, including his vintage leather pieces, is treated like a blank canvas that invites Patrick to express himself on it. When you create like that, every piece tells a story. And we want to read 'em all.
We talked to him about his NYC-based creative roots, the process behind combining leatherwork with painting, his social media attitude, and more. He uncovers the anecdotal stories & feelings that his pieces convey, and the strong, accepting community mindset that helped foster him as an artist.
🖼 Scroll down to dive into his creative philosophy & an exclusive self-portrait.
If you could choose a few words to sculpt a title for yourself, what would it be? As clearly, one word, like 'painter', wouldn’t cut it.
I have been thinking about this a lot recently, as I feel the work I make as an artist and as a designer are starting to travel down different paths. Am I a designer who paints, or am I an artist who designs? Or am I just an artist, or a creative, I don’t think I can label it. Patrick Church NY blurs the boundaries between fine art and fashion.
For you, which came first? And how do these fields collide as one?
When I was really young I wanted to be a designer and I was obsessed with fashion and fashion magazines and with making clothes and putting on my own fashion shows. Then, when I was in high school, I started to fall in love with painting and realized I wanted to explore this further. I kind of fell into the fashion thing, painting and making things for myself to wear, then I met my husband who encouraged me to produce my first collection and it went from there.
What are the key differences between painting for artwork and painting for fashion?
"Making artwork for fashion pieces is different, I need more of a theme, a clear narrative to tell a story with the collection."
When I paint for myself, I guess, it's a very instinctive, cathartic process that isn’t really thought out. Tell us about your Land of My Dreams collection.
Where did your inspiration come from? And how did you go about pulling from aesthetics that came from generations before you?
I wanted to create a camp, soft, silky moment, the collection was heavily inspired by the 70s and some trips I had made with my husband to Miami. I wanted to use lots of pink and turquoise and feathers. I love the almost artificial landscape of Miami and how people aren’t afraid to be flashy in their fashion choices, and this definitely came through when making the Land of My Dreams collection. I had a vision of a glamorous woman getting ready for bed in a hotel suite at her dressing table, wearing the silk pajamas and feather robe. It was all visualized in my head before I executed it.
You’ve often used leather as a canvas for expressing your work. How does working with this material differ from painting & creating on an actual canvas?
"Leather can feel really beautiful to work onto, it depends on the texture of the leather, but the paint can just glide on and it can be a really lovely process."
However, if the leather is really grainy or too thin, it can also be quite difficult to work with. Jackets can take a few weeks to finish because of all the different surface areas you have to cover, and you have to adapt the design and size to each panel of the garment. I love working with leather and see the items such as the leather jackets as art pieces.
Your work can convey sensitive, thoughtful messages through bold aesthetics and materials like leather. How do you strike the balance between sensibility and fearlessness?
I think it just comes instinctively, I use my artwork as a diary and form of self-expression, it isn’t so thought out, it just kind of happens, I guess.
Your pieces are basically the definition of custom-made. No two pieces are the same. How is working with leather constructive to that mindset?
I like that all the jackets I work onto, especially vintage ones, are different and that no design I make when doing custom pieces is the same. They are totally one of a kind and unique, which is exciting and special to both me as an artist and the wearer.
What role does sustainability play in your personal values and your artistic process, particularly in how you choose to work with leather?
The first collection I made was all vintage pieces that I had worked on, the DIY aesthetic still really appeals to me and I try to mainly work with vintage leather. I love that the custom pieces I make are often other people's beloved garments or accessories that they want to give a new lease of life to.
These days, social media culture pushes everyone to try to fuse humor into their work, whether they’re a comic or not. What value do you think humor and online connection adds to creators like you?
I don’t like to take social media too seriously and I think that having a sense of humor about it feels refreshing and makes it less scary or daunting, as it can often feel that way. I think my work has a natural sense of humor to it.
When you started in New York, your process was very community-based, like other young artists, filled with open studios, lowkey photoshoots, and things like that. How has your artistic community evolved? And how would you describe it now?
I have met so many amazing, creative, and beautiful people in the city, I like to think that it has evolved naturally, we have built a family of people together and have collaborated with some brilliant people multiple times. I love that creatives here really want to uplift and support each other, we are still a very small team and we like to keep things simple and keep our identity strong. I think New York is full of creatives with unique, strong identities and that really appeals to me.
Your work has ended up on some pretty iconic pop culture names, like Doja Cat, Benito Skinner, @uglywideworld, and the Clermont twins. What did that feel like for you? Could you predict that when you started out?
It feels really exciting to work with anyone supporting the brand and my work, I am just happy people connect and resonate with what I am doing.
You’ve said that you believe art is at the forefront of everything. What is the responsibility of an artist in the climate of today’s world?
It’s important that ideas need to be shared and expressed, while my work is always very personal, I know I respond most to things that speak to the individual and show simply a life as it moves or exists, not necessarily what it can be or should be.
Self-expression goals, Patrick. 💅
Click here to get a closer look and to buy Patrick's pieces.
And get more [metcha originals] for your creative inspo here.