40 Prominent People | Oil Painters of America

Oil Painters of America
Neil Patterson, President

Neil Patterson

Distinction: Oil Painters of America has helped revive interest in realism and representational art in the West and across the country.
What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in the art world during your career? One of the biggest changes that I have noticed is the significant increase in highly trained, young adults coming into the profession today.
What are you proudest of about the organization? I personally feel most proud when I hear OPA has helped an artist in some way. I remember when one of our recent Gold Medal winners said that he was just at the point where he was going to have to take on a second job to make ends meet. Winning the top prize allowed him to continue on with his art career, and that really makes it all worthwhile.
How does being an OPA member inspire you? Our exhibitions are inspiring. You can’t help but walk away with a sense that you have just experienced some of the finest artwork being produced today.
How do you think members want the organization to be remembered? I think members will want OPA to be recognized as an organization that helps to educate artists from all skill levels—from beginners to the top professional painters.
What do you hope the organization accomplishes in the next 10 years? When the organization started, our exhibitions were sometimes held in museums. I would like to see that early tradition be reintroduced, as well as for us to expand our educational offerings to include more exhibitions in different venues.
Describe the organization in one word. Inspiring.

Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.