Interview with Artist, Patrick Montanaro

I’ve honesty never been one to relish the concept of boxing or wrestling fights.  However, if you introduce the element of a Martial Art I am honestly prepared to watch.  I really don’t know why but there is such elegance and refinement with regards to feasting upon battles.  After I had graduated from secondary school, there was a television show I had become completely OBSESSED with the characters and interactions. (Actually, I paused from this intro for about a couple of hours to watch Kung Fu: The Legend Continues – and I’m glad I did as life for me had become really busy the last few months the show aired – I never had the opportunity to see how they finally ended this show steeped in Kung Fu and so many quests and journeys – by the time the last episode ended I was in tears.  If it was not for this interview my memories would never have come flooding back.  I really love our modern technical age.) Back to your regularly scheduled programming, Patrick Montanaro is an artist who incorporates his love of Art and Martial Arts to create something quite remarkable. Yes, I honestly find martial art images to be riddled with beauty – it’s the entire package one must genuinely explore.  For more information on Patrick please follow on Instagram @genghis.pat . Oh and before I forget, I have had the opportunity to listen to Patrick’s Pod Cast titled Bruisers – I took many things from this audio piece, including the fact that one must explore their humility and strength to be able to do anything successful in any and all of our lifetimes. You can listen to a snippet below. 


RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?

PM: I don't think creative blocks exist. Most blocks are our body's way of telling us to pursue another avenue. Maybe that means instead of writing today, we draw instead, or we sing instead of editing. Our bodies have incredible instincts, and we try to override them because of (INCOMING BUZZ WORD) mostly capitalism. We are trained to ignore our body's natural creative flow in order to make deadlines, or appease a client, or satisfy an algorithm. For example - a lot of artists on the platform try to post everyday - and if that's your pace, more power to you. But are we doing it because we have something to say or because we want to get to 1,000 followers? Tricky stuff. And we can't let ourselves off the hook. We can't be like "I'm tired, so I am not going to write today." Fuck no. We still approach the obstacle and (INCOMING JEDI PHRASING) search our feelings to know if we are on the right path.

RMMW: We all have an inner critic; how do you contend with yours?

PM: I don't contend with the critic anymore. Instead of fighting the 'this isn't good enough' feeling, I welcome it. I want to be better. There is so much flattery in the world, and so much envy. People will either fawn over you and tell you how grand your farts smell, or they are going to convincingly tell you that you suck. So ... how are you supposed to know how to make your art better? You either have a really good editor or you listen to that critic. There's this 'YOU ARE ENOUGH' philosophy that's really prevalent on the internet because it's easy to repeat. But I like not being enough - I like climbing the mountain and being like "HOLY SHIT, THERE ARE HIGHER MOUNTAINS!?!?" There are so many ways we can push our art, so many wonderful risks to take - so I don't contend with the critic. I make coffee for him and ask him what's next.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

PM: No rituals. Writing is a little like fishing. There's nothing you can do to force the fish (in this case words) to come to you. You just have to sit around and wait patiently for a bite - something that snags your attention, then you're like ... oh yeah, I really do want to write an allegory about abusive relationships using caterpillars stuck in a jar.


RMMW: At what age did you start creating Art & writing Poetry?

PM:  Maybe since 5th grade? I don't know. That's when I wrote Margaret Colebeck a love poem and drew her a flower. I do remember drawing Iron Man on a post it note, when I was younger than that - my mom still has the drawing too. I started taking it seriously sometime in high school when I realized I wasn't that strong, wasn't that smart, wasn't that good looking ... so at least I'd be artistic.

RMMW: What is for favourite artist's tool?

PM: Micron pens are wonderful because they are so cute, and the different pen tips have so much personality. I always picture the .8 to be this beefy, but kind-hearted quarter back that is always yelling "OUTLINE" (picture Strong Mad from the Homestar Runner series) since I mostly use that pen to outline. My .005 tip is this little orphan girl selling flowers, or stopping a passer-by to ask (in Bambi's voice) if they'd like a tulip, because what is as dainty as that if not a .005 tip?

RMMW: With regards to your podcast, what do you want your listeners to take away from it?

PM: I want my listeners to know that there is always a chance to turn back. There is never a point where you are beyond redemption. The entire podcast started taking form when I was acting like an absolute shithead, and I got involved with some other shitheads and I thought that these were my people - I was always destined to be a bad person. But after seeing them skirt responsibility, hurt people and refuse to apologise, I thought to myself... I don't want to be like that, and the long, yawning recoil from the bad places I went headfirst into started happening. I started to turn around. I think I'm still in the 'no-man's land' of trying to understand good and bad, but it's possible. You're never so far gone that you can't help yourself.

RMMW:  What are you looking for in a guest, how can potential ones get in touch with you? 

PM: I want to grow the podcast to incorporate other martial artists - and shit, really anyone who wants to fight me. I think people who familiarise themselves with conflict and violence are the most starkly wise people because they have burned away their comfort, even for a short five-minute fight. They see things clearly - they actually experience that sacred ego death because we can put on a social mask and fake intelligence, or cunning, but we can't fake strength. Being in the ring is as real as you can ever be. It's so much less boring than people who sit in their beds all day and start fights on Twitter. IG is the best way to find me, but people can always email me at patrick.j.montanaro@gmail.com. We'll fight then we'll have tea.


RMMW: Seeing as your Podcast is about "using martial arts to correct a very wayward course in life" What do you think are small steps your listeners can take to start changing any negative course of action that may follow them in their current life, before even listening to the Podcast?

PM: If you can, keep a journal. Even if you just write down "today I felt like ass," do it. It doesn't have to be this long, Patrick Montanaro sized, response. It doesn't even have to be in any discernible format. Just mood board it. Doodle in the margins. Have words sloppily drift off the lines. When you put things onto the page, you can revisit them later and the words act as time capsules that bottle how you felt in that moment. I have notebooks from college that I can't read without crying because there will be a line like "everyone says how happy you are, how sad is that?" If you want to walk the path toward the great dragon of ourselves, you have to put your life into context. You have to understand that for everything we do, we do because something else preceded it. We lied because we are afraid of consequence - we are afraid of consequence because we were honest once and someone made us feel shitty about it. Keeping a journal keeps a lineage of that feeling and then, you know yourself more than ever, so when you stand in front of the dragon and it says YOU ARE WEAK you can tell it the opposite. Also. Do some fucking push ups. Do one a day, for Christ's sake.

RMMW:  What is your Podcast's origin story & name?

PM: The podcast is called Bruisers and when I was at my lowest in life, I remembered the purpose I felt when I first got my black belt. It was a good feeling, and I squandered that opportunity to teach and to heal. So, this is my way of doing it a second time and doing it right. Bruisers is about the struggle to become a better man, and the cuts, scrapes, and bruises, we get along the way.

RMMW:  What style of Martial Art would you recommend someone who has no knowledge or previous experience begin with? 

PM: I started with karate, but to be honest, it really could be anything. Boxing is really prevalent in America and there are a lot of gyms that will support you, you always have that option. But at the end of the day, martial arts is about what appeals to you. It's like the kind of porn you like - some things just stick out to you for reasons that make absolutely no sense in the moment. Like, why did I spend three hours looking up 'couples on tandem bikes'? I don't know. What was the question again? Oh yeah. Figure out why you are doing martial arts, and find a style that aligns with that. Maybe you don't want to fight - great! Do tai chi. Maybe you want to learn in a group setting - awesome, jujitsu is a really fun to learn in a class. Follow your gut, and don't be ashamed to say, "I like this style because it looks cool." Martial arts are as aesthetic as they are physical or spiritual. And don't let anyone dissuade you. There's all this petty arguing about what style is best - but do you. If the UFC has taught us anything it's that a karate man, a grappler, a bar brawler, and a kick-boxer can all contend at top levels of combat. Find a style, and love it.


RMMW: Does your Martial Artwork ever bleed into your Art?

PM: All the time. Art is conflict. Or at least it should be. If it isn't challenging to the artist in some way, then it's not art - it's a commercial, or a show, or a spectacle - but it's not art.

RMMW: Do you feel social media hinders or helps Artists?

PM: The platform is only as useful as the user is resourceful. If an artist spends their time on social media trying desperately not to be alone, then they are hindering themselves. But if they find a really cool way to engage people, then props. You figured it out.

RMMW: If you had a superpower, what would it be?

PM: I have a superpower. I'm in love. But also, I think it would be cool to go Super Saiyan.

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