“I knew I wanted to be an artist when I was 5 years old,” says Oklahoma native and renowned artist Patrick Gordon. “I’m now 158 years old!”
After such an impressive tenure in the world of art, it is no wonder that galleries and collectors from Boston to Miami, Kansas City to Connecticut, vie for a piece of his work to display. Today, Gordon’s paintings can be viewed in corporate skyscrapers, private homes and some of the finest galleries across the nation.
A Claremore native and a graduate of the University of Tulsa, Gordon says his paintings were inspired by the likes of Matisse, Odilon Redon, Gloria Vanderbilt and his own mother, Oklahoma artist Janelle Gordon, who gave him his first painting lessons. His rise to national acclaim began in 1982 with exhibitions at the Fischbach Gallery in New York City and Joseph Gierek Fine Art in Tulsa, followed by string of successful showings and competitions.
In 2003, Gordon left the state for many years to make a new home in New York City. It was at this point, according to his biography, that he also began working in the oil-on-canvas medium for which he is best known. When asked what initially lured him to Manhattan, he simply replies, “Anonymity.”
According to Gordon, though, his Oklahoma upbringing influenced him, no matter where he made his home. “Growing up in Oklahoma gave me a good sensibility about work and people,” he says. “It was an issue of respect, earned and given. I don’t think that occurs everywhere in the world. I refer to them, personally, as good, Midwestern sensibilities.”
Now Gordon has returned to his home state, and the Oklahoma arts scene has welcomed his return. Despite fond memories of Manhattan – “I love cocktails on the top of the Metropolitan Opera in the summer … I love the East Village for rare shopping and unusual people, and truly nothing beats sailing around the isle of Manhattan with good friends, good drinks and that summer wind off the ocean,” he says – the Oklahoma arts and culture world holds plenty of its own charms, even after the dazzling whirl of the New York City arts scene.
“There is a good source of collections to draw from in institutions and in the museums,” he says. “People are interested here in what one makes with their hands.
“Friends and familiarity brought me back to Tulsa after nine years,” Gordon continues. “I have no idea whether I will be here forever. None of us do.”
Family also provides a strong connection between Gordon and his home state. The artist’s great-nephew, Zip, was recently diagnosed with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or “Stone Man Disease,” one of the rarest genetic conditions in the world. Gordon’s own works will be up for auction at an upcoming charity event for FOP research, scheduled for Oct. 6 in Claremore.
“My great-nephew, Zip, is a child with severe health restraints,” Gordon says. “I learned long ago that a painting had many possibilities: to add focus to a room, to document history, to illustrate a culture. I always believed that painting could also be a healing instrument.
“I can’t heal Zip from FOP, but perhaps I can help bring attention to a serious medical issue and help raise funds for research. Over the years, I have done similar works for breast cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other medical issues. I feel fortunate that I can help. It just happens that this time it is close to my heart because of Zip and his family.”
While Gordon has no new exhibitions planned for the near future, between family and commissions, he is as active as ever. “Fischbach Gallery in New York shows my work,” he says, “and I am showing my work exclusively from my studio. I still do portraits by commission all over the country. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call. I’m listed in the Yellow Pages. As I always say, ‘Don’t be afraid to call; it isn’t brain surgery.’"
For more information about the upcoming fundraiser for FOP research, please visit www.zipperq.com. To contact Gordon to discuss a commission, www.psgordon.com.
The Gordon family is working hard to raise awareness for Zip, who is battling a rare genetic disorder called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) or “Stone Man Disease.”
FOP is one of the rarest, most disabling genetic conditions known to medicine, affecting one in 2 million, with only 700 confirmed cases worldwide. It causes the bone to attack muscle, turning muscle into bone and potentially enclosing the patient in a second skeleton.
Zip was diagnosed with FOP in July 2011 at age 4. Friends and family are auctioning a truck and holding a barbecue event and auction in his honor to raise money for FOP research.
ZipperQ will be held Oct. 6 at The Nut House on historic Route 66 in Claremore to raise money to help find a cure, with all proceeds going directly FOP research. Zip will personally draw the winning ticket for a 2012 Dodge 1500. Twenty-five-dollar tickets are available for purchase now on www.zipperq.com. Teams can also sign up online to participate in the barbecue competition.
“We are honored to have support across the state for Zip’s cause,” says Amy Gordon, Zip’s mother. “Thanks to the many generous donations, there will be something to suit everyone’s interest, from art and music to sports and hunting.”
The live and silent auction will include a Patrick Gordon original painting (Pink and Green Paper with Tulips), autographed memorabilia from The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, tickets to OU/Texas and a two-day duck/pheasant hunt by the nationally televised and professional guide Brady Walker.
“The disease is progressive, meaning it gets worse with time. We need a cure as quickly as possible to avoid additional long term damage,” Gordon adds.
For more information about the upcoming fundraiser for FOP research, please visit www.zipperq.com. To pre-bid or arrange remote bidding on the Patrick Gordon work, call 918.625.1937.