JOHN NEWSOM: So, how did you discover art? What was your ‘eureka’ moment?
PATRICK PAINTER: Well, when I was 28, I was living in Paris, and I was working for an insurance company, Metropolitan Life. One day I said to myself, “I don’t know anything about art, so I’m gonna start looking at art.” It’s not like I wanted to, it just seemed appropriate. You know what I mean? I mean what else are you going to do in Paris? You can’t go to Disneyland and shit. You know what I mean? You can’t go surfing.
JOHN NEWSOM: True. That’s very true. You can’t go surfing in Paris.
PATRICK PAINTER: So I’m looking around the Pompidou, and I’m seeing Cy Twombly and I’m seeing all these artists, and I’m just hating it dude. I saw many things there that disturbed me, but one in particular was this Gilbert & George. Now… I’m from Long Beach, California… I went to military school… which is kind of like a big gang fight to begin with, and then I got kicked out of military school and really went to gang school. So you know, I had these kind of street instincts, by necessity not by desire. Also, the surfing and the skating in the early 60’s. So when I saw this Gilbert & George, they’re standing there with their fingers in a ‘V’, which I had no idea that in England a ‘V’ meant ‘fuck you’. But at the bottom of the picture it said, “Fuck You” in case you didn’t know what it meant.