by Sally Churchward.
With a craft teacher as a mother, Patricia Descalco was exposed to art at an early age, and it has always been her passion. She studied industrial and multi-media design at university and went on to become a graphic designer, until two-years ago, whilst on maternity leave, she made the leap to becoming a full-time artist.“As a single mum, it’s difficult to find work that fits in well,” says Patricia, who grew up in Portugal and now lives in St Denys, Southampton.
Until recently, she has been working mostly as a professional face painter and body artist, but with thinking ahead to her young child starting school, she is now focusing on fine art, which she will be able to fit in with his school times, rather than body art, which tends to mean working on the weekend.
“I started working as a body artist around ten years ago,” she says.
“I was quite good at it and I liked fancy dress. Then someone asked it I would do it at a party, and I was paid for it, and I began to develop that side.”
Patricia went on to take part in international body art competitions, taking six or more hours to create each striking look.
“I still love the body art, but I want to be able to spend quality time with my child, so it’s hard to make it all fit in,” says Patricia, who is now focusing on air brush portraits.
“I taught myself how to use an airbrush and used it for my body art, and then did a workshop and turned out to be quite good at it and I have been commissioned as a portrait artist now. I enjoy the work too. It really relaxes me, it’s like a therapy, and I can do it once my little one has gone to bed. It fits in well around a two-year-old,” she adds.
“I can work when he’s at nursery or when he’s asleep.”
Definitely not working 9 to 5
Patricia has no intention of returning to work a nine-to-five again.
“I was traumatised by working for a corporation!” she exclaims.
“It’s not something I want to do again. If I can do this forever, I will be a happy bunny!”
While Patricia enjoys portraiture, when she is painting entirely for herself, she really lets her creativity run wild.
“I do surreal, acrylic canvases,” she says.
“I’m still finding myself as an artist but I like to paint what makes me feel good, which depends on how I’m feeling that day.
“My favourite artists are Picasso and Freida Kahlo. I like her story as well, how she got to where she got to. I like the story of her life, and how her work reflects that.”