The Q&A: Pat Kinsella

By Peggy Roalf   Friday December 2, 2016

Q: Originally from New England, what are some of your favorite things about living and working in Brooklyn?

A: I tend to say that I am from Philadelphia but in reality I was born in Connecticut, then lived almost equally in Texas, Philly, and now Brooklyn. There is a great art scene, galleries, and museums and all that, but meh… talking to friends in their studios or at the bar is what makes it great here.  

Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A: Yes, but I go through phases.  Sometimes I sketch a lot, from life somewhere or just from my head but I will neglect that for a while if I am really busy or generally feel burned out. A lot of what I do in sketchbooks now is just mess around, trying out a fun new pen or a stamp I made or something, making ugly stuff I don’t show anyone.

The work I do for clients is done entirely on the computer.  I sketch those jobs on the computer then do the finished work there too only pulling out paper for myself or sometimes if I get really stumped and need a change of medium for sketching. Not so much balanced as weighed heavily on the computer side.  

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My flippin’ gorgeous standing desk.

Q: How do you know when the art is finished?

A: If things are going poorly it is when the deadline runs out.  I guess it’s when I starting to make it look worse rather than better and I have to backtrackOr sometimes it just never feels finished, or I am just sick of looking at it.  I guess I don’t know.  

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: Realizing that I need to eat, and being annoyed by that fact.  That makes it sound like I am immersed in my work but it is because I am lazy and realize I have to walk to the grocery store.  Also, darkness.  I am a morning person and unless I have to I really prefer getting the bulk of my work done before the sun goes down. I work best right after waking up then slowly loose momentum all day.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

A: Where the Wild Things Are.  

What is the best book you’ve recently read?

A: Recently in fiction I would say The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.  For nonfiction it is 1491 by Charles C. Mann

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: Ink, but I get to use a brush or a pen if I want.  

Q: If you could spend an entire day away from work and deadlines, what would you do and where?

A: Go on a strenuous hike with a friend or two, weather doesn’t matter.  I’d like to go out West somewhere to do it but in reality it would be somewhere I can get to on a train from NYC, and then stink up the train all sweaty on the way back.  

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art? 

A: I think it might be Popbot by Ashley Wood.  I think they were regular comics but I saw them all together in a book.  What struck me was how loose and energetic he worked and he does some just two or three tone pieces that had a big influence on me.  

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Steak and potatoes and whiskey.

Pat Kinsella is a Brooklyn NY based freelance editorial, book, and graphic novel illustrator.  He studied printmaking at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  Clients include The New York Times, Newsweek, Simon and Schuster, the Boston Globe, Playboy Magazine, The Miller Brewing Company, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Runners World, McSweeney's Publishing and more.