Written by Communications Intern Jenna Tobbe
For Patrick Sheehan, paintings aren’t just paintings, they’re also stories.
“I really like narrative paintings,” he says. Even with his commissioned work, he wants to have a story to go behind the art he creates. Sometimes he’s inspired by music, too, which brings all 3 forms of art together in a beautiful amalgamation.
Patrick has been interested in art since he was a child and he learned to draw from his brother and his mother. His brother, he says, showed him how to draw in a comic book style while his mother taught him about multi-dimensional objects.
“She’d give me glassware to draw and when I’d finish it, she’d ask ‘where’s the other side of the glass?’” Sheehan recounts. He also put a spoon down as an example and said that his mom would want to see where the shadow of the spoon would be in the drawing. These techniques helped shape him as an artist, and when he got older, he looked forward to Fridays at his Catholic school because those were art days.
“Whenever they couldn’t find me, I would almost always be at the kitchen table, always drawing or coloring,” he says of his childhood.
Although his parents and his brother all showed some artistic abilities, Patrick is the only one who continued exploring his art as a profession later on in life.
Patrick’s medium of choice is mural work. His biggest mural is at Trinity High School in Louisville. It’s a three-story representation of the Holy Trinity, which consists of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In this mural, faculty and students present their particular gifts and talents in a mass-like setting to the founding fathers and mothers of the school.
The second biggest mural, in the refurbished offices of St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, tells a story of Mary and the angel Gabriel. This may be the piece Patrick is most proud of and he hopes this one stays around forever.
Patrick has completed several murals around Louisville including one in the Portland neighborhood at 17th and Rowan. This one started as a much different project, and he had intended for it to reference the fact that Portland was one of the first neighborhoods in Louisville. However, after he spoke to the people in the neighborhood, they requested flowers. He put his own twist on it by incorporating flowers to correspond with the nationalities of some of the residents in Portland. This includes cornflowers for the German population, shamrocks for the Irish population, irises for the French, roses for Great Britain and India, and king protea for Africa.
The end result is a bold statement piece that shows a commingling of different cultures who all have their own beauty. Now, this piece is a part of the Portland residents, some of whom enjoyed standing outside to watch Patrick and his team at work.
In addition to mural work, Patrick has also painted several iconic images of Catholic saints such as Saint Cecilia, who is the patron saint of music. The icon he painted for Saint Cecilia, which was commissioned for St. Bernard Parish, tells the story of this saint through symbolism such as a harp, choir singers, and a song sparrow. St. Cecilia—The Final Note now hangs adjacent to the choir, a fitting place as she’s now surrounded by those that she is meant to inspire. Patrick is also currently in the drawing phase of an icon for St. Nicholas.
The Catholic icons, as well as other paintings, can be commissioned to fit any budget. And don’t worry if you don’t have a compelling story to go with your request; Patrick will help you come up with one and then he’ll create something that illustrates an idea you didn’t even know you had.
Due to a recent job loss in June, Patrick made the decision to pursue creating art for private and public entities full-time. In the future, he hopes to offer private classes either in his studio or off-site.
Patrick and his wife Siobhan run a website for artists called Sheangelo. This is an e-commerce site for artists to sell their work. The Sheehans handle the marketing aspect and provide a place where artists can list their pieces without monthly fees, advertising fees or listing fees in exchange for a small percentage of the sale. This is especially important in an era where social media marketing is so important, and artists aren’t always taught how to market themselves and their work.
To view more of Patrick’s work, visit www.sheangelo.com/murals-commissions/. He is available for commission work.