“Pat Snow: You Will Never Read My Poetry” explores art and humor

Zara Morgan, Contributing Writer

Artist Pat Snow’s exhibition, “Pat Snow: You Will Never Read My Poetry,” officially opened Aug. 5 at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center and will be open through Sept. 28. 

Snow’s art takes inspiration from everyday life, like the simple act of falling asleep, and turns it into thought-provoking art. Many of Snow’s paintings are painted with oil-on-wood, giving the art a substantial and thick feel. In addition to using oil on wood, Snow also experiments with other mediums, such as ink and resin. 

One piece, named “Burden,” is an oil-on-wood piece depicting a figure in a yellow rain jacket leaning over. The painting is mostly gray and black with the bright yellow jacket popping from the background. Snow uses broad strokes with yellow colors, which gives the piece an unblended, impressionistic look.  

“Ballcap” is another oil-on-wood piece depicting the outline of a baseball cap with a smaller shadow of it below. The background is mostly white with a large blue smudge. The choice of colors is bold and vibrant, and the varying shades add dimension to the piece. 

The exhibit’s name, “Pat Snow: You Will Never Read My Poetry,” is a reference to one of the pieces in the show that is comprised of Snow’s high school poetry encased in resin. Snow creates a visualization of the subpar poetry students write in high school, which may look fine at the time of writing, but on later inspection they realize how much it lacks.  

“I didn’t want to be as destructive as burning it all, so I actually wrapped it all up [and] encased it resin,” Snow said. “It’s a big square block of all my poetry, and it just really means you’re never going to read all my poetry because it’s all encased in resin.”  

Snow’s art takes inspiration from the DIY and Outsider Movement. Aside from DIY being an acronym for “do it yourself,” it also represents the physical effort one had to make in one’s career in the 80s and early 90s before the rise of the internet and websites like LinkedIn.  

“You had to build your own community in real life,” Snow said. “You might be just showing up and doing a show to five people, but you’re going to meet those five people and you’re going to start a network.”  

Snow described the process of slowly building a network of people who met in person and connected over an extended period as how “you’re going to go find it yourself.”  

The Outsider Movement is tied to artists who have made a name for themselves without formal training. While many of their techniques and pieces may be regarded as rudimentary compared to the trained artist’s set of standards, “there’s a trick to it,” according to Snow.  

 “I’m not part of them, but I’m in the spirit of them in a way,” Snow said. “I’ve shown with them a lot in the past.” 

Snow is an 1990 alumnus of The University of Alabama and noted how being a student allowed him to gain exposure to more art. While Snow grew up around the local natural history museum in his hometown of Anniston, Alabama, being a student at The University of Alabama allowed Snow to be exposed to practicing artists. Learning their viewpoints allowed Snow to gain a good foundation for the work he does now. 

Many of his pieces surround the melding of both words and imagery in order to find where one’s inner monologue crosses over with the outside world.  

Snow said he takes a simple idea, writes it down, and sometimes takes it out of context to create his art, which is used by other artists, like The Beatles, in their own work as well. 

“If you ever listen to The Beatles, they might sing all about Penny Lane, and it all sounds kind of strange,” Snow said. “They’re just talking about the street across from where they grew up, but it sounds magical.”  

Zane Boyd, a 2020 sculpture graduate from The University of Alabama, attended Pat Snow’s exhibition at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center along with his sister, Alisa Boyd, who is a 2019 anthropology graduate from The University of Alabama. 

Alisa Boyd said she went to Snow’s show because she enjoys going to a variety of art shows. 

“I like looking at all the different types of art,” Alisa Boyd said. “Everyone has something different.”  

Zane Boyd said he enjoys coming to The University of Alabama Gallery in the Dinah Washington Cultural Art Center due to the quality.  

“This one’s always really well curated,” Zane Boyd said. “They put a lot of thought into what they’re actually displaying.”  

For people that are looking at visiting Snow’s exhibit, the artist extends the advice to not take it too seriously.  

For Snow, it’s all about bringing “the everyday and the funny to the forefront, almost imagine it as a really bad stand-up comedy, but with art and stories.” 

“You know, just because it’s in a quiet institution with four white walls does not make it serious in and of itself,” Snow said. “There’s a lot of work that’s funny, irreverent [and] pokes fun at things.”