Catching Up With: Pat Conlon

Pat Conlon. Photo: Giovanni Reda

Pat Conlon. Photo: Giovanni Reda

Pat Conlon is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades and in TW Biz’s opinion a master of all. Conlon is the current owner of Epstein’s Bar and the unofficial cultural attaché of the skate/surf world in New York City.

Born and bred in Far Rockaway, New York, Conlon is part of the old-school crew of New Yorker’s who were surfing and skating way before it was considered cool by the general public. An artist at the core, he has taken his passions in action sports and his talents as an artist to create a unique and successful caree. His educational roots in surfing and art were solidified in the mid-90s at USC. During this time he started an industry surf ‘zine that chronicled lifestyles, music, and trends in beach culture. This culture had a profound effect on what would become the basis of his art and his understanding of the power of a sticker. This idea of the sticker and the direct connection to advertising via passion became the basis for many things to come.

Conlon’s interests in visual perception and creation in advertising lead him to work in publishing as a designer and eventually transitioning into visual merchandising, designing store fronts for Roxy/Quiksilver stores in New York and up and down the East Coast. This eventually led him to Vans, becoming the regional marketing and visual merchandiser for the NYC area.

Conlon’s profession began to seep into his art, evolving from an advertising standpoint, in which he prints his pieces onto vinyl, much like the ad signage you’d see ratchet strapped to the side of a building. In a sense, he creates personal indoor advertising. 
” I want my paintings to encompass the lifestyle of a surfer or musician, in the way that it’s adaptable, fun, creative, and it’s overall, searching for the next newest and coolest thing.” 
 His pieces attracted the attention of various skate and surf companies, leading to his contribution to endless skate graphics, limited edition surf and skate boards and much more. Renowned artist Tom Sachs is a fan stating, ““Pat “Slickie” Conlon has a genuine knack for selecting direct and powerful icons in his graphic illustrations. These icons illustrate both the richness and horror of suburban life. The simplicity of these icons speaks straight from, his experience as a person and is not caught up in some theory bullshit. The themes range from consumer icons to human sexuality and nature but always keeping a strong keel in the genuine experience….. So pay attention because none of those drips are accidental”. Tom and Conlon are also collaborators, with Conlon recently contributing to Sach’s new book, How to Skate.

pat conlon etniesIn the midst of all the goings on, Conlon added fuel to the fire and opened Epstein’s Bar in thepicture-43 lower east side. The bar quickly became a skate and surf epi-center for the small but very loyal community in NYC. On any given day, you can walk into the bar and rub elbows with the best of the best, and perhaps catch Jake Burton or the like sipping a beer while they are in town. In true Conlon fashion, he has taken this new platform and spun it into another opportunity to fuel creative and business oriented ideas. Volcom and Epstein’s have joined forces to create a limited edition Volcom Epstein’s Tee that is fresh and very NYC. Etnies, Epstiens’s, and the infamous Max Fish Bar, another NY skate establishment, have also joined forces and come out with a skate shoe and matching tee.

Keep an eye on Pat and Epstein’s Bar because if the past 10 years or so are any indication, Pat Conlon is just getting warmed up.

You can keep up with Pat on his blog and for those of you in NYC, check out his upcoming exhibition entitled The Antagonists, at the Mindy Wyatt Gallery as part of the Royal Flush Festival in NY, NY. Opening reception is on Saturday October 17th from 6pm-9pm.