In conversation with

In Conversation With: Patrick Morales-Lee

For today’s "In Conversation With" column, we have the pleasure to share with you our interview with artist and illustrator, Patrick Morales-Lee. Read below to explore the narrative of images.
6th October 2021 | Image Curators Advisory
Patrick Morales-Lee, Immersion No1, 2020, Pencil, acrylic paint, charcoal powder and chemical spray on paper.
Patrick, you are a contemporary figurative artist. What led you to
focus on figurative art? Did you explore other forms of art first?
My work has always been representational and generally nearly always had people included. But the style has changed a lot over the years. I’ve always had the desire to try and tell a story. My early works were large canvases and involved painting several different images in a collage, [in order] to create a narrative with the images connected or jarred [with each other]. The narrative though was always disconnected from me, it wasn’t till 5 years ago when I started up my practice again, that I realised [that] the starting place for what I wanted to communicate had to come from me, from my experiences.

In simple terms, people are fascinating to me. For example, I was fostered when I was 3, I’ve not seen my biological mother since I was 17, am 45 now. But I have a half-brother who was raised by my biological mother. So, what’s interesting is you have two boys, two men now who view this person as a mother in two totally different ways. It’s a unique situation to me of course, but it really shows how complex people can be.
Patrick Morales-Lee, Observance, 2021, Pencil, acrylic paint, charcoal powder and chemical spray on paper.

The more I think about it, am not trying to push my thoughts onto people, [but] it’s about trying to connect on an emotional level.
Patrick Morales-Lee
What inspires you and what do you want to convey with your art?
I’ve thought a lot about my work over the last year, which am sure many artists have during this time where we’ve been locked away in the studio more. I’ve always been a believer that art should speak for itself, the reason for doing it is because I struggle to communicate it in other ways. Obviously, the work is about something, but equally, when it’s out there, I almost lose control of it, people viewing it bring their own views and experience which overlay my initial narrative. So, the more I think about it, am not trying to push my thoughts onto people, [but] it’s about trying to connect on an emotional level.

For me it’s about the same feeling you get when you listen to music, when a song connects to you, it’s not about the lyrics, it’s about the music itself, the sound, the noise, it can have such an emotional impact within you. To use an example again, the song ‘All I Need’ by Radiohead, 2 minutes and 46 seconds in, it starts to kick in and it builds and builds into this beautiful noise, a crescendo of sound, where it all just makes sense. This emotional response I get from the song is what I’m striving to create within my drawings.

You also create illustrations and have collaborated with brands such as Fabergé, Bentley, Channel 5 and ITV. Which project did you enjoy the most?
I think Faberge was the most enjoyable as it was across a number of really high-end beautiful pieces and also because they totally loved what I produced. It was one of the rare jobs where there really were no amends or tweaks. They had trust in my process and my approach.

The ITV work was also great, partly as this was shown on TV, I produced a piece which was filmed for the England Football Team 1000th game, so ITV came to my studio filmed me drawing. It was then edited together and shown at prime time, I believe over 5 million people saw it.

Of late, I am trying to connect the style of my illustration more towards my art practice. The last piece I did was a portrait for The Hollywood Reporter Magazine, which was within this new style and is one of my best pieces I feel. A lot of illustration these days is digital, so I really enjoy producing work in pencil and paint still. One of my heroes growing up was Peter Blake, so I certainly look at him as an inspiration for someone who straddles both the art and illustration worlds. I’m actually signed to the same illustration agency as him – Central Illustration Agency – so am coming for your mantle, Mr Blake! Lol.

For those interested in seeing more of my illustration work, please click here.

For me inspiration doesn’t strike, it’s worked on.
Patrick Morales-Lee
How do you keep yourself organised as an artist, without limiting your creativity?
To be honest, I’m not that organised, my studio can get pretty messy. I normally have a huge tidy up every 3 months or so. It doesn’t really affect my creativity. I treat my studio very much like a workplace, it’s about getting your head down and just pushing through it, even when you don’t feel like it. For me inspiration doesn’t strike, it’s worked on. Saying all this, I am fairly organised with my admin and digital side of things, which is kind of the unknown side of being an artist, how much admin there is.

Patrick Morales-Lee, Embellished, 2020, Pencil, charcoal powder and chemical spray on paper.
Are you working on any project that we will be able to see soon?
Last year I won my first art prize, the Galerie Heimat & NG Art Creative Residency Art Prize 2020. So, I’m most looking forward to taking up my 3-week residency early next year, which will then culminate with a 3-week solo show at Galerie Heimat, all of which takes place in the south of France.

It was all supposed to happen this year of course but got delayed due to Covid-19. To have 3 weeks to fully concentrate on my work and explore new ideas will be huge for me and the work that I produce will be going into the solo exhibition.
Where can people find your artworks?
People can follow me on Instagram @patrickmoraleslee
Or they can visit my website

Patrick Morales-Lee was taught by the painter John Virtue and graduated alongside friend and peer Antony Micallef.

During the last few years, the artist has exhibited in a number of shows, selling work to a handful of well know collectors and exhibited alongside artists such as Antony Gormley, Jeremy Deller, Gavin Turk, Sarah Maple, Anthony Lister, Shepard Fairey, Vhils, FAILE and many more.

He also recently won the Galerie Heimat & NG Art Creative Residency Art Prize 2020 judged by Kate Bryan and Laura Gascoigne and also appeared on Sky Arts, Portrait Artist of the Year in 2020.

His work deals with the idea of identity and belonging. From being fostered at the age of three, Patrick was constantly aware of his surroundings and the need to fit in growing up. Looking back, he recognises those feelings as universal and the work looks to explore the ‘human condition’, specifically what makes people do what they do to have a sense of belonging – from the everyday to the extreme. | @patrickmoraleslee