Photos from Clayton's Archives

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For nearly 30 years, one of the seminal figures of the Lower East Side and East Village, has been Clayton Patterson, a tall, energetic, mysterious, no-nonsense figure of a man prone to wearing a rabbis black long coat and walking fast. He possesses a remarkable face grounded with a devils goatee, and children in the area say that in his veins runs electricity for blood. There is some truth here. After he left the wide-open plains of Alberta, Canada, he wisely found his way to Manhattan Island. As an artist, he brushed shoulders with other now-legendary greats like Haring, Basquiat, Schnabel, while continuing to work on his own giant sparkling, beeping sculptures which eventually covered a good portion of his Essex Street loft. Another creative era began with his wondrous drawings and paintings exploring his mystical side. With his wife Elsa, he created fanciful baseball caps embroidered with a rosary of grinning devils, flying bats, rabid skulls, and various and sundry mystical signs, which celebrities flocked to purchase. He is the perfect archivist for this forever-changing land, and soon began using an early video camera and a 35mm photo lens recording his vanishing and changing community. Clayton's collections are made up of items that most of us would scorn an empty crack and heroin packages with trademark names stamped on them, small labels that has plaintive words written on them or tiny bizarre drawings drawn onto gummy post-labels that people have affixed to tenements, post office boxes, etc... These many items are something that most of us just wouldn't notice. However Clayton, on a mystical journey with the discerning eye of a modern-day Bernard Berenson, finds art and artifice wherever and whenever he walks through the streets, and his archives groan under the weight of so many preserved dreams. So let us welcome this forever-outrageous time tripper and his art as a whole displayed in his Outlaw Art Gallery. Remember, this is where the yellow brick road ends, and your authentic journey may begin.

Jeremiah Newton