PJ Patten is a self-taught graphic illustrator, tattoo artist, and poet whose work is influenced by the intersection of his Japanese heritage with his American military upbringing.
Patten’s parents met in Japan where his father was stationed, and the family was raised in Huntington Beach, California where he started airbrushing surfboards in the popular surfing community.
Patten’s own lived experience of homelessness and addiction as a young adult led to the publishing of his first published book “Tower25: Strung Out, Homeless, and Standing Up Again.”
The evocative and emotional illustrations in the book are inspired by the traditional Japanese artform of Haiga, which blends watercolour painting and haiku. Patten uses inkstone and brushes that belonged to his Oba-chan (Japanese for “grandmother”) that she herself used to create art.
His preferred mediums are acrylic paints on canvas, pen, ink, watercolours on paper, and will soon launch his first NFT batch, the sale of which he wants to use to launch arts community engagement programs like doing cover-up tattoos for free for survivors of domestic abuse and the formerly incarcerated.
As part of his mental health journey, Patten spent ten years living at a buddhist retreat center, immediately after which he began working on his graphic novel “Tower 25”.
Patten has led graphic novel workshops for at-risk youth and given talks on comics and his own recovery story. He has had his paintings and drawings exhibited in and around Vancouver B.C., and is currently working on a new project - also a graphic novel - telling the stories of the children who spent time in Canada's Japanese Internment Camps.
Patten is a grateful resident on the unceded and stolen lands of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueum peoples who have been here since time immemorial. He operates out of his studio in Burnaby, where he also makes his home with his wife and two stepsons.