Inspired Artist and Teacher
February 5, 1938 - August 18, 2019
“….. I make art to maintain my connection to life.” Patrick Maloney in 2016
Patrick Maloney, passed away on August 18, 2019 at the home that he built in Nicasio in the late 1960s. He was surrounded by his loving family and his art. After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease a few years ago, Patrick continued to make art and to teach until only recently.
Driven by the need to create and to interact in a more meaningful way with his community, Patrick left a career in commercial art and began to support his family in a variety of ways doing part-time work installing art exhibits and making boxes for rare books; teaching art to children; and teaching art at San Quintin Prison where he continued until last February after more than 40 years.
His generosity with his talent and his artwork has enriched thousands of lives. He often identified and worked with those on the margins: recent immigrants, the incarcerated, juvenile offenders, and low-income and at-risk children and families. He went out of his way to learn from other cultures and from others’ experiences. He was a teacher who learned from his students. Patrick worked with and inspired other artists as well, creating collaborative projects and exhibits. He produced an extraordinary and eclectic body of art that reflected his gentle and generous spirit.
Patrick’s art evokes a sense of something lost and now found, feelings of joy and fun, and a sense of spirituality that comes from some deep and long-ago place – the familiar re-twined in unfamiliar ways. In his paintings and drawings, we sense spirits and feelings not seen but hidden in our visceral history. In his sculptures, he incorporated discarded and used materials – yarn, fabrics, metal, clothing, plastic, beads and jewelry, items literally from the junkyard – and created new beings and creatures full of vibrancy and spirit.
His gifts to the community include:
Founding of an arts program of free classes for low-income children and their families in 1995. With or without financial support, Patrick and other artists he recruited continued, volunteering if need be, using donated materials and supplies.
Creation of a public mural by local teenagers spearheaded and coordinated by Patrick.
Several years of teaching collaborative art projects at Marin County Juvenile Hall
40 years of teaching drawing and painting to inmates at San Quentin State Prison through the California Arts in Corrections Program. (The San Quentin News did a feature article in May, honoring Patrick and citing one of the projects he helped create: an Upper Yard mural with the Helen Caldicott quote: “We are the Curators of life – We Hold it in the Palm of our Hands.”). His first ten years were spent voluntarily teaching on Condemned Row.
Artist in Residence for the local San Rafael restaurant Whipper/Snapper, creating an art environment that contributes to the feeding of souls as well as bodies.
Multiple collaborations with other artists.
Patrick’s drawings, paintings and sculptures were exhibited throughout the Bay Area—including solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery, Allport Gallery in San Francisco, The Marin Community Foundation, and most recently in 2018 in a show in the Redwood Foyer at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael, entitled “Patrick Maloney – Looking Forward, Looking Back”. Private homes, institutions and public areas and buildings contain work by Patrick Maloney– some purchased, some bartered for, and some generously donated or gifted by the artist.
In 1995, he was selected to serve as Artist in Residence at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland as part of an international Artists in Communities exchange program through Americans for the Arts.
Patrick developed and engendered deep and lasting friendships. He created a caring and welcoming atmosphere for all who interacted with him. Those who worked with him witnessed his magic: small children who barely talk, teenagers with an attitude, skeptical parents, frightened youngsters, hardened criminals and cynical bureaucrats all greeted Patrick with genuine admiration and respect. Perhaps because he, as well as his art, embodied those same qualities.
He will be deeply missed by family, friends, colleagues and students in the Marin Community he dearly loved and served for so many years. His memory remains with us and his art all around us.