Hidden treasures

Urban artist Dom Pattinson hides original artworks as he exhibits at ArtCatto Gallery in Loulé.

His work has been making headlines in Europe and America, not least because two of his artworks were purchased as a wedding gift by the actor George Clooney – for the nuptials of Hollywood royalty Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. But urban artist Dom Pattinson has also been making waves after hiding original artworks around New York and London for fans to hunt down and take home, as part of his ‘free art’ campaign. This Easter, he is repeating the treasure hunt in the Algarve, as he exhibits his work at the prestigious ArtCatto gallery in Loulé.

Born in Suffolk in 1969, Pattinson studied at the Winchester School of Art and the Glasgow School of Art, and was later influenced by his time living in the Soviet Union and then Northern Island. Today, with sell-out collections at fairs in London and New York, he is one of England’s most sought-after street artists, with his raw urban style also garnering him an established celebrity following. But unlike most street and graffiti artists, Pattinson creates his work on canvas, using stencils and printmaking combined with freehand painting.

“I started off as a street artist and spray painted everywhere, but I wanted to take it a step further. Rather than art being on a wall where you can only look at it, people can actually take it away,” explains the British urban artist. “There is so much street art now that people just walk past it. I wanted to grab their attention, and use the street as a gallery.”

Avoiding politics and brash statements, each of Pattinson’s pictures tell a story, with a style that reaches each person individually. “People will identify with it and see something that speaks to them,” he explains. “My work is a daily diary for me.”

In this, his first visit to Portugal, the English artist will be showcasing his work at the ArtCatto gallery this Easter alongside Adrian Pritchard, Georg Scheele, George Underwood and Pascale FeyThe exhibition, which opens on April 9, will include the works that feature in his 2015 campaign, which kicked off in February with official ‘selfie’ stations set up in Washington DC and London’s Trafalgar Square. Centred around the theme of equality, human rights and gay rights, the exhibition will display the now iconic multicoloured zebras – which were hidden around London last November under the title Stand Proud, Stand Out – and the elephants that have even graced the cover of Elle Canada. In the meantime, and as has become customary, the artist will set up his latest treasure hunt by “hiding” 10 original artworks – each worth approximately €2,600 – around the area of Vilamoura and Loulé, in “suitable locations” hand-picked by the artist. ArtCatto said they are thrilled to be working with Dom Pattinson, one of the best and most exciting urban artists around, this exhibition will be all the more exciting because of the treasure hunt.