Patrick Melroy currently maintains a studio practice in the city of Santa Barbara California. Melroy’s practice exists most often as interactive objects and experiences designed to engage an audience. His work has appeared in shows from Belgrade Serbia to Los Angeles. He was a founding member of the influential Uppur Bunk Collaborative and a charter member of Bottled Lightning Projects. He received his MFA from the storied Department of Art at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

He currently works with Tiger Strike Asteroid (TSA) in Los Angeles. He is the host of the Santa Barbara based podcast Towned produced by Pullstring Press.







Older Thoughts

Lately I’ve been interested in making seemingly dangerous art. Specifically, I am making art that tests our perception of personal safety. By highlighting the viewer’s body and their location in this world at any distinct moment, I am attempting to tease the audience into excitement and curiosity. Whether the viewer is confronted with a nine-pound sledgehammer swinging inches from his or her face or a wooden ladder leading into an unsafe attic space, I am forcing them to question what can harm them, and to distinguish between real and imagined threats. There are dangerous things in this world. Art can seem a dangerous thing, and yet so can a rollercoaster. Both synthesize the thrill of the close encounter. Both carry the audience from one emotional place to the next, while keeping them physically close to their starting point throughout the entire experience. They are never really placed in harms way; they are in complete control of their participation. The authorship of their experience is handed over entirely to them. Some participants will be thrilled while others will be nervous. My work exists in the space between logic and instinct.

I find myself repeating the mantra “I liked it better when we were a community.” The world continues to fill up with people, fascinating, wonderful, giving people, yet the world struggles to stay connected in a physical manner. Media trends have begun to develop our culture instead of the other way around. I relish the chance moments of discovery between people who can remove themselves from their self-imposed privacy. I believe we spend far too much time in our own heads, often isolated and only absorbing information by digital means. We are inactive participants in an ever-advancing techno-narrative. But there are moments when people talk to strangers. Those moments excite and inspire me to initiate opportunities that both enhance and spawn face-to-face engagements. People I don’t know inspire me. I want these people to tell me more. I distill various points of view and stories into gesture and narrative to address contemporary life.


Through out 2012 Melroy executed several large public projects for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, often deploying the museum’s teen interns to facilitate the projects. Most recently Melroy in collaboration with several arts organizations presented the Funk Field Station. Through generous support of the Santa Barbara Arts Commission, Youth Interactive, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Melroy was able to turn a shipping container into a culture collector. Visitors to the Funk Zone event, Focus on the Funk, were invited to create cardboard cultural icons, and then make oral reports back to mission control at the museum via two-way Ham radio provided by the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club.

This winter and spring Melroy is preparing for several public projects including a new collaboration with Jennifer Vanderpool at the Lancaster Museum of Art & History opening in the spring of 2013 as well as contributing work to Gun Control an exhibition at Gallery 555 in Detroit Michigan.