In a garage, when the courts have seen their cases for the day, the judges hang up their robes, and the lawyers swarm home to relax after long days in court, the Sun City watches the sun slide behind the mountain and Patrick Gabaldon starts to work his magic.
Gabaldon, lawyer at day, painter at night; it almost sounds like something from a comic book. But for an El Pasoan this story really does exemplify the diversity and talent that this city is producing.
Gabaldon graduated from Montwood High School, attended UTEP, moved away to San Antonio but moved back to El Paso to pursue his law career when he picked up his palette again. When asked why he paints El Paso the way he does, with such intense and bright colors, he stated that it is the people and their diversity that inspires so much love and appreciation for it.
“I love color,” Gabaldon said. “I see a lot of dark paintings, and, for me, there’s enough darkness in other aspects of life. So, I figured, if I’m going to paint, I’m going to do it because I enjoy it, because it’s fun, and I think colors reflect that.”
You can find his paintings all around the city of El Paso. One day you’ll see a bright depiction of a mountain lion or jack rabbit or perhaps you saw his piece depicting the now fallen monument of ASARCO with hearts flowing out of it. The pieces are so vivid and lively. They’re El Paso.
“You see the freeway and it’s dirty and it’s grainy and it’s industry, and it’s heavy, and it’s traffic, and it’s frustration, and it’s time wasted (for some),” he said. “But it’s also colorful, and beautiful, and an icon, and, you know, it’s where people are on their way to meet someone they love, and it’s where people are on their way to say goodbye to a friend that they won’t see again, and it’s the road that people take when they’re going to go out of town to visit a family member they haven’t seen in years.”
As an attorney, Gabaldon brings an interesting perspective to the world of art. Not a formally trained artist, his success can be attributed to the beauty he finds in his city, the city of El Paso. An artist serves as an interpreter, someone who translates what they see for others.
He enjoys painting; listening to Saint Motel, Flock of Dimes, Margaret Glaspy, Lord Huron, and so many others while he creates his art, there is a joy and vibrancy that is conveyed in his work.
–By Aimée Santillán & Antonio Villaseñor-Baca