“Art feels like a weird, ongoing, tandem, life-therapy thing,” Sydney-based artist James Jirat Patradoon tells me. 

“People bring assumptions to that character and people bring assumptions to me, and I think it’s interesting to play with that language of archetypes.” 

Patradoon is speaking about the recurring figure clad in leather kicking ass in the visual stories he narrates. Modelled aesthetically on himself and conceptually on personality traits associated with a stereotypical, macho badass, the character’s self-referential qualities have created a strange hegemony between creator and the created. Though which exerts more influence remains a mystery.

“I’ve changed with my work and my work has changed with me. It’s probably a case of me being sold on my own sales pitch. I liked the archetype so much as a basis to play around with that I eventually went for the rocker, greaser look [in real life] knowing full well it was just a surface. A uniform.” 

A fitting phenomenon for an artist obsessed with exploring how our exposure to childhood fictions shape our perceptions and acclimatise us to the specific gender roles found in the reality of adulthood.

Though much of his work is created digitally, Patradoon was trained in printmaking, a craft that versed him well in the demands of process-centric mediums.

“Right before I settled into digital I remember my practice was to draw on different layers of drafting film, so I could get layers like in Photoshop," he explains. "[I would] change entire areas if I felt like it, then I'd scan all the layers in and put them together like a jigsaw in Photoshop. Eventually I just cut out the middle-man and drew directly with the computer.”

He’s not alone; there's an ever-growing chunk of the creative community abandoning traditional pastures for more favourable digital alternatives. Meanwhile, purists seem insistent on resisting the benefits; regimenting a pseudo-class system pertinent to the degree you embrace technology. The implications of this inherently dynamic digital landscape are not isolated internally to the artistic community either.

 Audiences are becoming increasingly reliant on the LED glow of mobile technology to consume creative outputs.

But Patradoon doesn’t believe it’s a case of adapt or die.

“People will never let go of traditional stuff, they're too scared of Skynet. In my case, I just found a medium that really gelled with how ridiculously impatient I am and how short my attention span is. I think the reason why people are a bit weird about digital is because it doesn't seem as authentic as a real-world object. 

"There's still that stigma that digital artists are cheating, which is more so a belief propagated by people who have never actually tried drawing on a computer before. They think you press one button and the picture draws itself.”

Read the full Story in Death, Corruption & Politics - issue 4.




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