Finding Balance in the High Low Imagery of 3rd Version
"I have always been fascinated with contradictions in real life, it's no wonder it made its way through to my art."
3rd Version aka Ben Patterson, has some badass women in his life to thank for his art. With exposure to a variety of art from a young age, to finding inspiration and support, he found his place and style within the balance of high realism and lowbrow illustration. He has developed a cohesiveness between the two styles with his colorful paintings of animals that appear to be both super realistic and cartoon-like at the same time.
Born in Mesa, AZ.
Currently based out of Colorado.
Morning person or night owl?
Anything salty, I probably can take down a whole bag of almonds…
Just one…um I probably would have to pick Gin.
What’s something you can’t work without?
Music. It is a must have.
What type of music do you listen to?
When I am working, mostly EDM type music but I also love my 90s punk and alternative stations.
Can you recall your earliest exposure to art and what inspired you to become an artist?
My Grandma introduced me to art. As an energetic and often annoying kid, she kept me busy with all kinds of art craft projects from spin art to drawing, coloring and painting, and making little sculptures from plaster of paris.This really prepared me to become an artist and I continued drawing through High School. It wasn't until I was married with two small kids that my wife suggested I pursue it full time. So at 27 I did just that and she has supported me the whole way. So what inspired me to become an artist? The badass women I have had the pleasure to be in my life.
How would you describe your style of art?
Contradictive, I think that is why I like the term high low art. I use both high realism imagery with lowbrow illustration styles to form one cohesive piece. I have always been fascinated with contradictions in real life, it's no wonder it made its way through to my art.
How has your style evolved/changed over time?
It has changed drastically which I love to see. I can’t see myself painting the same thing over and over again. I have to see progression in my work as well as in myself. My older paintings focused on illustration style characters dealing with complex social ideals, my love for philosophy definitely crept its way into these. From there I focused on realism, mainly animals, focusing on perfecting my craft while also addressing environmental/social concerns I had. Plus they’re animals, who doesn't love them and do we really need to see any more paintings of people?
What does your creative process look like?
It all starts with a manic frenzy of ideas, divine inspiration that can’t do no wrong, research and sketching, followed by a lot of energy and production of new works. That is immediately followed by depression, a little sprinkle of self-doubt and a hefty scoop of self-loathing. This step sometimes lasts a day, weeks and sometimes even months. Rinse and repeat…rinse and repeat.
Do you ever run into creative blocks? If so, how do you overcome it?
Yes, when I am in my “depressed” stage nothing comes. I just have to wait it out until inspiration strikes. I have learned there are some things that can speed it along. Exercise helps, getting back to my roots with a pencil and paper helps motivate me, but mostly time seems to rid the block. Gives my brain a chance to stop overthinking everything and just paint because it is what I love to do.
What other artists do you look to for inspiration?
Hmm…this is a double edge sword for me. On one hand I follow a lot of artists and I am inspired by their skill and thought process. On the other hand it also brings a lot of resentment and jealousy. So I am trying to find a balance, one I can say I have not figured out yet.
Any upcoming works/projects/events we can look out for?
I have my first major solo show with Arch Enemy Arts based out of Philadelphia on January 6th, 2023. I am super excited about this collection of works which comes at the very end of 2022, which was a big year for me. In that time I painted 57 new paintings, participated in over 16 group shows from LA to Philly, and painted a large mural at Fiddler’s Green here in CO.
Where can we find more of your work?
My website or at one of the galleries I have worked with: