Patrick Kramer is a self-described perfectionist. He still can recall that, when he drew an animal as a child, he would see only the flaws in the piece once it was finished. But he kept persevering through the frustration, taking art classes in elementary school and high school and eventually earning a degree in fine art from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.
Although he occasionally ventures into the realm of looser brush strokes, he typically brings a tight, controlled quality to his works, whether he is depicting a public library in downtown Salt Lake City, a flower set against a crumbling wall, or a red-rock landscape.
Based in Utah, Kramer says that early in his career he created detailed drawings as a way of objectively improving his works. He believed at the time that the only way to see improvement was to work toward realism with barely detectable brushwork, in the tradition of painters such as Robert Bechtle and Richard Estes. At first these drawings were merely exercises in craftsmanship, but he eventually found the process satisfying and complimentary to his obsessive personality, he says.
Kramer can spend upwards of six or seven months working daily on just one painting. He hopes the hundreds of hours of dedication he lavishes on a piece comes through to his viewers. “Although the image itself may come to resemble an ordinary photograph, a psychological intensity can be felt in the handmade work, as the artist’s laboriously slow method of intense concentration and myriad artistic decisions lie behind the creation of the image,” Kramer says. “In my work I hope the viewer senses this tension between photography and the handmade, the instantaneous and the prolonged, the ubiquitous and the unique, the impartial and the personal.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in May 2012.