Studio in the Park
Jun 26 2015
One week into his residency and Patrick Rowe is busy collecting drawings for his collaborative project, the People’s Design Laboratory. During his month-long residency, Patrick is teaming up with members of Mobile Print Power to crowdsource drawings and texts from Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s visitors to help develop a series of new, graphic signs to help people find their way around the nearly 900 acre park. Dozens of people dropped in over the course of the People’s Design Laboratory’s first few days to contribute ideas, and Patrick is excited to engage with more people in the coming weeks. So, come on by!
I sat down with Patrick in his colorful studio to learn more about his artistic practice and his experience in the Studio in the Park thus far.
After a few years of making public art in Cairo, Egypt, Patrick studied Printmaking and Education at Pratt, a combination which led him to develop a career as an artist-educator and a strong collaborative practice. Mobile Print Power marries his interests in visual art and community-based, interactive projects. The People’s Design Laboratory, his Studio in the Park residency project, uses Mobile Print Power’s iterative, participatory process to create graphics by and for the park’s public. How does this work? Patrick and members of Mobile Print Power prompt visitors with questions and ask them to share their thoughts and visions in books—like idea journals—which then get combined and distilled into iconographic signs. The mobile studio has been abuzz with the sound of active pencils and conversations with parkgoers, young and old, who have discussed the need for two kinds of wayfinding signs: one focused on particular landmarks and locations (like the Playground for All Children or the Queens Museum), and another focused on experiences. Where are good places in the park to relax? Or picnic? Or play soccer?
Patrick’s questions have prompted lots of responses, from early memories to a typology of trees.
Though Patrick’s work with Mobile Print Power has used similar methods for other projects, like in Corona Plaza where they often park their cart over the summer, he remarked that "there’s an energy created having a semi-permanent space versus doing stuff for a few hours in a public space. It produces a studio culture and energy that I believe will influence the work.”
The mobile studio has created a new kind of place-based experience for the People’s Design Laboratory, though Patrick is also eager spend some time outside of the studio, printing and drawing with people in other parts of the park. Just in time for this Sunday’s public event, Mobile Print Power’s roving printmaking cart will arrive in Queens for Patrick and his collaborators to move through the park, teaching parkgoers about printmaking and gathering ideas for the proposed signs. All participants will have the chance to print and take home pieces developed by Mobile Print Power on the theme of solidarity. Plus, there’ll be music! We hope to see you there!