Bill Patrick is an American DJ, who has played in legendary clubs from New York through Eastern Europe to Ibiza, while his analog camera accompanied him everywhere to capture the unique and interesting way Bill sees the world. The first photo exhibition of the underground electronics legend will debut in Hungary in May, crowned by an iconic DJ set, all at the EASY Art Space in Budapest.
EASY Art Space, located in the heart of Buda, on Széll Kálmán Square, was born as a community space that puts artists in the spotlight, and where you can also sit down for a coffee or a beer almost any day of the week. In Easy, the branches of contemporary and digital art will be given more space, with their own permanent gallery and entertainment space for the performers. The urban and international performers are featured in a colorful line-up on the electronic music line, and now this Friday Bill Patrick himself will bring the party with his first photo exhibition. But let’s know him better!
First, could you tell us a little bit about how you got close to music and about your journey, of how you made a name in this profession?
Well, it’s a pretty standard story of gravitating towards certain artists and sounds that I was introduced to during my childhood. Everything from Michael Jackson, Prince, and Run DMC to punk and hardcore bands like Faith No More, Sick of It All, and Quicksand later on in my teens. I would frequent a lot of punk shows and concerts in New York City in the 90s and that slowly morphed into attending raves and clubs, which in turn got me into DJing around 1998. Things progressed from there, playing throughout NYC and holding a few residencies at clubs such as Vinyl/Arc, Limelight, and Cielo.
I co-founded a party called Robots in 2004 that eventually started getting me international gigs at places like Fabric (London), Tresor (Berlin), and DC-10 (Ibiza). From there I moved to Berlin in 2008 and the rest is history.
Before your serious interest in photography, did you have any projects when you connected audio with visuals?
I experienced synesthesia as a child and teen which I guess would technically be my first connection between audio and visuals. Aside from that, no, nothing.
During your travels, you document a lot of what you saw, a lot of people do that, but when did you realize that your photos also have a more serious artistic value?
To be honest, I never thought of them as artistic or to be taken seriously, for that matter. It was something I was doing to help cope with life on the road as a DJ. The response from my friends, followers online, and the public alike has been really encouraging and in the end they are the ones who decide what is art, what is considered valuable or not. I’m just happy that people are responding to them.
Can you tell us why your first exhibition will be held in Hungary? How did you get in touch with EASY Art Space?
I’ve been coming to Hungary as a DJ for over a decade and Budapest is such a gorgeous city. On a very superficial level, I thought it sounded pretty cool to say “I’m having an exhibition in Budapest.” On a slightly more serious level, a dear friend put me in contact with Ádám at Easy who in turn offered up the idea of exhibiting my photos in their space. I was hesitant at first as I wasn’t certain I was ready or worthy, or a million other Imposter Syndrome reasons, but after talking to Ádám he made me feel comfortable and confident with the whole process. It’s been a really nice experience thus far and not as stressful as I normally would have made it in my head. The reaction to the announcement has been super positive as well and there is now interest in taking the exhibition to London, Miami, and New York. So it’s all been pretty surreal, to say the least.
Based on what selection did you bring your photos to your first exhibition? Could you briefly introduce the exhibition?
These photos capture a brief interaction, or a failed one (hence the title), between two or more subjects. A lot of the time that second subject was myself. This is a good representation of something I’ve experienced many times on the road, whether it be on the streets, in a museum, or at a market. The great thing about shooting on film is that it’s similar to life in that you never really know what you are going to get. Did I just make a terrible Forrest Gump metaphor about life, substituting chocolates with film? Yes, I did.