Patrick Kitson – the Pointillism magician
Patrick Kitson is a magician. Not the one pulling rabbits out of hats, or waving the abracadabra of a magic wand; his wizardry is in drawing lines.
Lines which literally, or figuratively, separate extremes, facets or nuances, give the works that Kitson creates a new dimension of creative expression – one which is able to highlight the complexity of forms and emotions in the simplicity of monochrome.
“There is a visual charm and magic to black and white images that is difficult to describe,” Kitson said.
This charm is evident in each of his creations, which capture emotions, physical manifestations, surroundings. It’s realism that is exuded in minimalism.
“The sensation of value, texture, and tonal contrasts that have their own kind of appeal quite separate from that of painting or even drawings in colour media,” he said.
Kitson love is portraits, and said that translating the human emotions and the unique characteristics of each individual, challenges him to replicate them close to reality.
He has named his works – ‘Pentings’ – lines meticulously converging into varied shapes and forms from a fine-tip pen. He is constantly perfecting the strokes of swift, gentle, and firm movements like the notes of music, which also is his second love, as he would.
The techniques used by Kitson are the convergence of Pointillism, where small, distinct dots are applied in patterns to form an image, with cross hatching, a method of line drawing that focuses on light and shadow.
The representation of light utilizes the white or openness of the page, while shadow is created by a density of crossed lines – the results are astounding.
The choice of medium was influenced by a fellow artist. “While this technique (Pointillism) was not very popular, I loved the results,” he said.
Mastering this fine art, he said, is rooted in the fundamentals, that of draftsmanship. “It is very critical that one understands the nuances and the techniques (of draftsmanship),” Kitson said. “In essence, all art is rooted in good draftsmanship.”
This is where it all started for him, his brother was a draftsman, and growing up, Kitson started to try his hand with the pen, which became his best friend for life.
“I have been drawing as far back as I can remember,” Kitson said. His career path, which has spanned almost four decades, has gone through stages of progression and one that he calls learning.
Kitson enrolled for part-time studies at the Jamaica School of Art in 1977, and the following year, joined the full-time program, specializing in graphic arts.
His career path turned to advertising, where Kitson worked as an art director. He said he was not getting time to hone his illustration skills, but decided to pick the threads and started to practice drawing once again, and has continued on that path since.
An avid sports lover, he has captured most of Jamaican greats in his drawings, and his love for cricket is interspersed across his studio, where he has immortalized the legends and glory moments of West Indies cricket.
Kitson’s ability to infuse life into his works is also the confluence of simplicity, which is his persona and the dedication to the artform. “I don’t have a pattern or a habit that I follow when I am drawing, sometimes I might go for hours together,” he said.
At times, he is so engrossed that at the end of it, his hands become numb. “But it is worth every effort in the end,” he said.
Kitson’s Pentings, which are works of diverse inspirations, can be described as the perfect balance – that of yin and yang, a manifestation of how opposite or contrary forces are, in essence, complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world. His magic continues to awe.