Ad Man Patrick Johnstone returns to his fine art roots

Artist Patrick Johnstone.jpg

A report from Trinidad’s Guardian.

Local artist Patrick Johnstone presents a brand new body of work at his new exhibition—Ad Man Paints 2—opening this Friday through to September 13.

It’s an eclectic collection, spanning neon-bright portraiture, luminously coloured, intensly detailed architectural studies and familiar landmarks reinterpreted using bright, almost startling colour palettes.

Johnstone may be better known in advertising circles as the CEO of Publicis Caribbean Ltd. But this exhibit marks a return to his Fine Art roots.

“I always liked fine art,” he says, “My father used to buy me beautiful Faber Gallery books covering the Impressionist movement, which I loved, along with works of the Great Masters; the latter just to ensure I had a balance!”

There was no Art curriculum at his school, so he was compelled to sit Cambridge O’ levels with the girls in Bishop Anstey High School.

Armed with only raw talent and largely unschooled in the classic Cambridge examiners’ expectations, he won a distinction to his utter surprise.

Johnstone later studied charcoal drawing and oils in the 1960’s, under the tutelage of MP Alladin, a preeminent Trinidad artist of that time. However, by the 1970s, immersed in the commercial world of advertising, his work took the turn to graphics.

“Ultimately I was unable to reconcile the Advertising graphics discipline with Fine Art,” he says.

“My career won out, so I gave up painting for more than 25 years. I returned to fine art in 2008 with a different interpretation of the medium, which I called Ad Man Paints.”

“This exhibit, Ad Man Paints 2, extends that vision.”

Ad Man Paints 2 explores various styles using the acrylic medium, applied very thinly on canvas with mixed media—ink and line art thrown in…So aficionados of impasto and texture beware!

“All the pieces have twists, largely through colour or interpretation,” says Johnstone, “a few are poster-like…on purpose. There are experiments with hard line ink and colour. This exhibition lives in each individual piece and the emotion it sets up for the viewer.”

More info

Enjoy the art of an Adman at Adman Paints 2 from September 8 to 13, at Senseo, Ground Floor, High Square Apartments, 1A Dere Street, Port of Spain. Parking is available opposite the apartments in the Publicis Car Park.

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