8:30 a.m., July 13)
artist a success story in the making for over 30 years
By Fred Sherwin
artist Patrick Fraser with two of his unique
creations which he does using a stream of
consciousness technique employing a black
Sharpie marker as his only medium. Fred Sherwin
artist Patrick Fraser can still remember the moment that
would change his life forever. He was 16 and was immersed
in the hip hop culture that had just come out of New York
City and was spreading across North America like wild
habitual doodler as a kid, Fraser was immediately attracted
to both the music and the art of hip hop. The year was
1983 and the movie Wild Style had just been released
featuring renowned graffiti artists Fab 5 Freddy and Lee
Quinones who designed the Wild Style graffiti logo that's
featured in the film.
I first moved to Ottawa from England, the only music on
the radio was classic rock and pop. That's what I grew
up with and then when Wild Style came out it was
like this whole new world opened up to me," recalls
same summer, his mother managed to save enough money to
buy a turntable/cassette/AM-FM radio combo with digital
tuning from Woolco. The first record he played on it was
a 45 a friend had brought back from a trip to New York
called "Rock Box" by Run DMC.
he soon as he saw the "Wild Style" logo, Fraser
wanted to do graffiti. He had already gained a reputation
for painting classic rock themed denim jackets for his
friends and fellow schoolmates at D. Roy Kennedy Elementary
School in the west end.
of the hip hop culture at the time was "tagging"
whereby graffiti artists use a grease marker to draw their
logo on public installations like hydro boxes, bus shelters
and pretty much anything that doesn't move. It's a form
of marking one's territory which exists today and is often
associated with vandalism.
Fraser wasn't a very good tagger. His canvass of choice,
at the time, was the OC Transpo bus he took nearly every
day. It didn't take for him to get caught and he was ordered
to do community service in the form of cleaning up graffiti
on OC Transpo buses.
a way it was a good thing because it turned my life around.
Instead of tagging buses, I started collecting big cardboard
boxes, like the kind they use for appliances, and I used
that as my canvass," says Fraser.
graffiti art, the young Fraser was also a comic book fan.
He was into the DC comic book series and liked both the
story line and the art. Pretty soon he started to imitate
the art and drew countless sketches of Spiderman, Superman
and the rest of the DC universe characters.
graduating from high school, Fraser went to George Brown
College in Toronto where he revived his fabric art and
started his own little cottage industry painting graffiti
on jeans for other students.
sure there are some jeans out there in a thrift store
somewhere or in a box with my designs on them," jokes
he got older, Fraser began to focus more on caricatures
and he developed a free-form, stream of consciousness
technique which he employs today drawing caricature murals
using permanent black markers in various sizes.
also developing a line of T-shirts, which he hopes to
one day market along with a possible comic book series
which he's also working on when he's not changing diapers.
He and his wife recently had their second child which
came along just 18 months after their first.
he's not at home, Fraser teaches cartooning and caricature
drawing to kids seven to 12 through a city-run program
in Nepean. His work is truly unique and can sell for hundreds
of dollars. To see more of his creations visit www.rawartists.org/dublic.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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