Living, working and creating art with “True Grit”, an indomitable spirit, nearly says everything you need to know about Patrick McGirr. However, it is his passion for sharing his talents and getting involved with the youth of our City excited about the arts that place him at a different level of artistry.
Patrick McGirr is an artist that is making a living at what he does best, creating art. Putting his “fears, anger, love and joy” into the work he creates and painting on anything that will hold paint. He is on a non-stop art grid, constantly expanding his knowledge of art, the world and the history of other cultures.
Our conversation took us along vibrant roads of colorful insight, but it is his volunteer work with schools and at risk youth that grounds and enlightens him.
“I get my reward when I volunteer in a school with no art program, watch kids come out of their shells and they let their creativity go wild” McGirr smiles and continues “It’s crazy to me how many schools don’t have art and music programs, but there are tons of creative kids who just need an outlet and a chance to use it”. McGirr volunteer’s with The Youth Connection (TYC) of Denver as well as working with gang youth and homeless children.
“Last year I worked with Senator Mike Johnston and TYC and created the Summer of Safety offering free art classes with a BBQ for the kids, including a football tournament. We also took at risk youth and Aaron Mendelsberg’s Temple Sinai class fly fishing for the day,” says McGirr.
“I believe the that the work I do with the youth of Denver and using my art talents helps me grow more than anything. I love being able to pass on this talent to the next generation of artists chasing their dreams”.
McGirr approaches his life and art with confidence and a clarity of direction that is often lost in motion with other artists. “The most difficult challenge besides trying to make a living is getting your art noticed. Getting your art out there and producing quality original work is key” smiles McGirr “Anybody can cut a stencil and copy a style. Taking an influence and stealing a style are two different things. I take my influence from everything and everyone I encounter, but I keep my style my own. My original art has my soul in it and I try to put a piece of that in my client’s design work and commissioned art pieces as well. My original art is mine. I am just lucky enough to have people buy it”.
McGirr’s schedule is kept at a pace that would daunt others. “I recently designed a shirt to raise money for Ubuntu Now in South Africa. They go to host cities of the World Cup Soccer Tournaments and educate about gender equality and rape prevention. This shirt will raise awareness money for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil”. UbuntuNow.org.
“I am currently volunteering at Strive Prep Middle School in Sloans Lake. We are creating a 1000sqft mural”. The mural will be a representation of the community and it is teaching the students not only about art but respect.
One of McGirr’s clients is Sailor Jerry’s Rum. McGirr paints murals and also completes special projects for Sailor Jerry including painting 10 custom beach cruisers. A few of these custom bicycles are hanging up at Tooey’s Off Colfax, 1541 Marion Street, in Denver. These bicycles will be traveling around to different venues along Santa Fe Drive for the Art Walk and bars sponsored by Sailor Jerry this year.
McGirr also has a ”GIRR” line of custom painted Kendama’s, an old skill game played worldwide that will be released in March 2013. Kendama was created in Japan and is a form of the traditional ball and cup game. McGirr’s own customized toys will be produced by Kendama Co here in Colorado. “People around the world love to collect an artist series of the Kendama’s”. KendamaCo.com.
While McGirr had an art teacher in high school named Chris Amend that helped him focus his skills in the arts, it was the words of the principal of his high school that told him “Drawing in class will never get you anywhere” McGirr laughs “Now drawing is what pays my bills. Never let others dictate your path. Always believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Chris Amend still does art for a living”.
In closing with Patrick McGirr he reflected on the keys to his success. “Family. I have two amazing parents that never gave up on me no matter what. They always believed I was a better person than how I acted when I was younger. They are the two most giving and caring people that I know”.
“I also have the amazing support of my girl, Deanna and we are expecting a little “GIRR” in April. I can’t wait to have a little painting buddy when my daughter is born”, McGirr smiles and continues “Always keep learning. Realize you don’t know as much as you think you do. Research, learn history and look up in the sky, there are amazing things going on up there. Also, don’t listen to the news for your opinions, form your own. And finally, always give back. Make your world a better place. Teach kids and hold doors open for everyone”.
“My advice for people heading into the art industry is to never give up. Always listen to your heart no matter what people tell you. No matter how hungry you get, no matter how frustrated, how down, how discouraged. If it is in your heart you chase it and never stop”. With strong conviction, McGirr adds, “That goes for anything in life. I don’t care if you want to knit or draw. You knit the hell out of life and draw the shit out of whatever you want”.
You can view Patrick McGirr’s artwork at PatrickMcGirr.com, find his customized Cruiser Sailor Jerry’s bicycles on the fan page and website of Sailor Jerry’s as well as visiting Tooey’s Off Colfax. Look for customized McGirr Kendama’s in March at KendamaCo.com.
Patrick McGirr is a true inspiration to how life and art can and do intermingle with much success. Thank you Patrick.
Wendy L. Pitton R. is a culture writer for 303 Magazine and the owner of WENDO Productions. WENDO Productions is an artistic production and artist representative company. WENDOProductions.com