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Artist of the Month - August 2003

Patric Meador - Drawing on Experience
by Sydney Francis

In Moab, Patric Meador is probably best known for his local cartoon column “Horse Sense”, published in the Moab Happenings, which he drew from 1996 until 2000. “Horse Sense”, a playfully down to earth cartoon, depicts the lifestyle, debauchery, and adventures of a wild and lonesome old west horse. Meador does not pursue cartooning on paper much anymore, but rather focuses his attention on his custom T-shirt designs. Occasionally, a cartoon of his is picked up by Easy Rider magazine.

Meador became a professional graphic artist in 1976, when he and a friend partnered to open a T-shirt shop in Durango, Co. He created the T-shirt designs to be silk-screen printed on the T-shirts. After the T-shirt business in Durango, he spent time on the road, travelling around the country selling his designs for an income. In addition, he worked as, what he termed, a “street artist”, a cartoonist or caricaturist who makes drawings of customers on the streets, in bars, in train stations, and wherever there are large numbers of people willing to pay to have their caricature drawn.

Currently, Meador pursues his art through his own home based business called Custom T-shirts. Custom
T-shirts features hand-drawn and painted, one of a kind T-shirt designs made to order. Generally, Meador finds his clients by attending car races, motorcycle rallies and events like our local Jeep Safari or the Rod Benders Car Show. He takes photographs of people with their vehicles, families, and/or pets, and then creates a personalized custom design reflecting the customer’s experience at the particular event.

From home, Meador sketches the design onto the T-shirt with a permanent black Sharpie. Then he applies fabric paint with the use of small paintbrushes and an airbrush. For his final one of a kind T-shirts, later mailed to the clients, he charges between $15 and $50 depending on the complexity of the design. Normally a design will take him two to four hours. So if a client needed a custom T-shirt for a present the same day, he would be able to accommodate that demand.

Meador is a self-taught artist. He grew up in a small town outside of Durango, in which his high school did not even offer art classes. He discovered in 5th grade that he had a natural talent for drawing. Having never had an art class, Meador faced many challenges in teaching himself the mechanics and techniques of drawing and cartooning through trial and error.

Meador’s cartoons and designs contain a complexity in style and composition. His hatching and cross-hatching express texture and surface. And he has an innate eye for necessary detail, which he uses to convey the expression and motion of a subject. In his newer T-shirt designs, like the Hummer and Moab Off Road designs, he captures the delicacy, texture, and oddity of the red rock landscape. He achieves this end by the use of hatching, color and acute angles.

Another remarkable quality about Meador’s talent is that he is colorblind. For most of his career as an artist he only did his designs and drawings in black and white. He recently decided to experiment with color with great success. He can see relative values in tones of gray, which he uses to place colors into his images (in addition to reading the labels on the paint). His final colored designs succeed in being vibrant and harmonious without his ability to see the finished color.

Meador expressed satisfaction and enjoyment in doing his artwork and his Custom T-shirt business. He has found a way of balancing his art talent and his personal pleasure by paying his way to events through Custom T-shirts, and then creating his designs in the comfort of his home studio equipped with two televisions broadcasting his favorite shows.

As a painter, myself, I asked Meador how he came up with designs and ideas so rapidly and on demand for a variety of different clients. He replied that this is no problem for him, generally people give him an idea of what they want and he has no problem in creating an image that meets their demand. Meador is obviously gifted in drawing ideas from his mind and imagination. And to be sure, 25 plus years of experience as a T-shirt designer, cartoonist, and street artist provides him with a background of efficiency, accuracy and creativity.

Patric Meador and Custom T-shirts can be contacted by telephone at (435) 259-6177, ext. 128.

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