Tapping Into Our

Inner Child

Patrick Dougherty in Austin

Welcome to the very first piece on UnBound!

I’ve always loved exploring in the woods. When I was a kid I built lean-tos and forts in the little wooded park in our neighborhood. These are exactly the kind of memories that came up walking through  Patrick Dougherty’s new sculpture in Austin. Patrick knows this, and he talks about weaving peoples’ fantasies into his work – fantasies about native cultures, the Garden of Eden and kissing under a lilac bush. Patrick’s work also reminded me of some of the homes built by the Samburu people in northern Kenya who I visited and photographed in 2014, a people in Kenya who still build their homes in a traditional style with small sticks. 

In the video above Patrick delves into his inspiration, his history and the creative process he goes through to make these huge sapling sculptures. At the heart of it all he talks about how he taps into some fantasies we all have about connecting with nature. Watch the video to hear him in his own words.

I met Patrick Dougherty the day before he finished “Yippee Ki Yay,” his new sculpture in Pease Park. He was directing volunteers and hauling mulch – trying to finish the piece, but even then he had no problem talking to a total stranger (me). The next day, Patrick sat down for an interview with me as his volunteers were cleaning up the last bits of sticks and leaves from around the site.

I didn’t know much about Patrick’s work before we talked. I had heard about Pease Park Conservancy commissioning him for a work in the park, but when I came across the piece I was blown away. The construction is so organic and yet so sturdy and grounded. It feels almost like it grew on the site itself. I wondered how long it will last. Patrick talked about the temporary nature of his work a bit when we spoke, and I put that into a second video with some other topics in which he is speaking to artists about working as an artist.

Patrick speaks to artists

Patrick’s advice to artists was super interesting. Definitely worth watching for anyone trying to make it as an artist. And also interesting for anyone else who is curious about how someone makes a life out of creating large temporary artworks. 

Patrick and I spoke for almost 30 minutes. It was an enormous challenge trying to boil his ideas down into these two short videos, because so much of what he said was interesting and heartfelt. I think that the main feeling I got from him was how down to earth he was both with regard to his work and in light of his clear love of interacting with people who come by and his volunteers.

Go out and find the sculpture and have fun!

 – Nelson, Creative Activist

Ready for the big mic drop?...

(watch the video below to hear the whole quote)

You don't get real breaks until you've worked for 20 years.

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More about Yippee Ki Yay

Patrick Dougherty’s “Yippee Ki Yay” is located in Pease, Park in Austin, TX. The sculpture was commissioned by the Pease Park Conservancy, and built with the help of over 70 volunteers from Austin and across the U.S.

Here’s a map. Go find it and have fun!


Patrick Dougherty on Instagram

[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag="#patrickdougherty" num=12 cols=4 showcaption=false]
Video Credits:

Videography, Editing & Music: N Guda
Drone Videography: M. Grey – ArtWillSaveUs.com

Still Photos: N GudaGeran de Klerk (Unsplash), Amy Treasure (Unsplash), Dick Dickinson, Charles Crie, Adam Rodriguez, Fin McCrea, Maia Dery, Thomas O’Laughlin, Todd Mulvihill, Mark Randolph, Hatten 18

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