Local artist Patrick Prickett’s presence can be felt throughout Avondale

Patrick Prickett is finally hitting his stride. After spending several years painting soul-sucking images of boats and bridges, the local painter has quit making “tourist art” and is following his passion. Thankfully for him, it’s also led to profitability and creative freedom.

His work these days is heavily pop-art influenced, specializing in abstract portraits. “I didn’t realize they were abstract until someone told me th,” he says laughing.

Prickett grew up in the small town in Alabama, where there wasn’t much of an arts presence or art offerings as a kid. His graduating class had 81 people in it. Prickett recalls signing up for an art course when he was 9 years old.

“I showed up and there was a sign on the door that said ‘cancelled for lack of interest.’ I was crushed,” he says. It would be the closest Prickett ever came to having formal art training. “I’ve never had an art lesson a day in my life, so everything has always been trial and error for me,” he says. “I think it’s helped me in the long run, because I see a lot of other artists, and while there’re great, they kind of all look alike.”

Prickett, who moved to Charleston 14 years ago, seems much more comfortable on the fringes of the mainstream art world anyway. While he appreciates the work hung in galleries downtown, he says it’s just not his thing and not where he wants to be as an artist. “I appreciate the West Ashley and the Park Circle side of things. The art community here is perfect. Avondale is my community for art,” he says.

Prickett’s work can be seen throughout West Ashley at various locations, particularly in the Avondale area where some pieces are on display at Classic Coffee, inside Lava Salon, and is currently part of an exhibit at the gallery at Avondale Therapy. He also has two large murals (a third on the way) in the back Alley behind the shops along Savannah Highway.

Painting on the concrete blocks along the backside of Alycia Alley was a new experience for Prickett. “I’m not a spray paint artist,” he says. “I love them, it’s just not what I usually do.” Prickett found painting the murals to offer several new challenges for him as an artist, such as the texture of concrete being so different from canvas. “Weather is also a big issue, especially in Charleston where it rains every day,” he says. “I layer a lot of acrylics, so a little rain can ruin your day.”

While Prickett’s presence can be felt throughout Avondale, perhaps the widest audience for his work is not in a coffee shop, hair salon, gallery or even the back wall of Alycia Alley as part of the chART (Charleston Outdoor Art Initiative). Several of his pieces can be seen in the critically-acclaimed television series Mr. Mercedes, which is based on a story by Stephen King and is filmed here in Charleston. Mr. Mercedes’ second season airs this month.

Prickett credits local set painter Mollie Howey, who worked on Mr. Mercedes, for recommending him to one of the show’s producer. He was immediately moved by Prickett’s body of work and contracted him to create a series of original paintings to be feature on the show. Those works can be seen in episodes 9 and 10 of the first season of the show, which airs on AT&T’s Audience Network.

For Prickett, the relationship with Mr. Mercedes has been a dream come true. Not only is he a huge fan of Stephen King but he’s also a fan of director Jack Bender, who’s best known for his work on Lost, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones.

“As a fan of Stephen King and Jack Bender it was big because they picked me,” says Prickett, who was the only artist whose work was featured in the first season and was asked back for the second season. “I get chills thinking about it. I get chills just getting the little thank-you cards in the mail from Mr. Mercedes.”

Being on the show has opened a lot of doors for Prickett, but more than anything it has been validating for him as an artist. And while he continues to follow his passion, getting further and further away from his days of painting boats and bridges, he still appreciates that he’s an artist for hire. But now he’s doing things his way and is only doing the kind of thing that he wants to do.

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