Patrick Murillo, 50, is a Mexican-American artist and musician, born and raised in Phoenix, AZ.
He has been drawing since childhood when he found his Grandma Minnie’s prized stationery stash. However, she forbid him to touch it, much less doodle on it. He resorted to old cardboard boxes, which horrified her even more. She finally allowed him use of her pretty papers. But on one condition – only if he drew religious images. These memories would later inspire his use of creative recycling as well as perfecting the artistic details of La Virgen de Guadalupe, the sacred heart, and Jesus.
A few years later, he discovered Creepy Magazine and developed a fascination with experimenting with monster makeup. At 8, he took a trip to Nogales with his mom and picked out his first Mexican toy – a Day of the Dead skeleton with a trumpet. Patrick soon picked up the trumpet and played in band in grade school, high school and college. Even more years later, he found out he was conceived on Halloween night…He thinks this is why he loves to paint skeletons.
In his teenage years, he became intrigued by the fantasy/sci-fi/buxom babe art of Frank Frazetta, pachuco culture, tattoo art, and prison art line drawings (although he has never been to prison!). He didn’t only draw Fedora-wearing zoot suiters, he also lived the life. On Saturday mornings, he and his mom combed through South Phoenix thrift stores to find vintage ’40s suits. He bought a charcoal grey 48 Chevy bomb, started a car club, and cruised Central Avenue on weekends. His nickname was “Baby Loco”. And he went to Saint Mary’s Catholic High School during this time…go figure!
“My Grandpa would dress me the way he used used to dress back in the day,” Patrick says. “Before I’d go out on a date, I would lay out my suit and tie on the bed and go in the shower. When I came out, he had laid out three other ties that went with my suit. He then gave me two handkerchiefs – one for me, and one for my date. He would go outside and warm up my car.”
Patrick switched gears in the mid-80s while working as a traffic court bailiff’s assistant for the City of Phoenix. His plan was to become an architect. He worked during the day and went to college at night. One year, he took a vacation to Jamaica with his buddies. That trip changed his life. He became enlightened by the uplifting music and one-love message of Bob Marley. Patrick returned home, quit his job, grew dreadlocks, wrote songs, and started his band, the RastaFarmers. After witnessing his amazing transformation, his close friend, Kathy Cano, became his manager. She helped him find paying gigs, and he inspired her to make art and jewelry to sell at the shows. The two fell in love and married in 1990. They vowed to live as artists, even if it meant, in the early days, selling his beloved ’48 to pay rent.
Patrick and Kathy have been married since 1990. They now have two kids, DeAngelo and Maya, and five Chihuahuas.
To date, he combines all these in his art and music.
For the past 20 years, Patrick has continued to write and perform with his band. He has shared the stage with many reggae greats including Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Ziggy Marley, the Wailers, Inner Circle, Black Uhuru, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, and more.
He has crafted a full-time career as a painter, illustrator, and all-around mantastic crafter. His co-runs ChicanoPopArt.com with his wife Kathy Cano-Murillo (the Crafty Chica). The two of them have produced hundreds of handpainted pieces for Bloomingdales, Hallmark, Target.com, as well as more than 300 gallery shops and boutiques across the country.
These days they sell their art from their online store and at occasional events.
Patrick works in a variety of mediums such as paint, clay, tin, wood, assemblage and more. He has illustrated projects for The Arizona Republic, HarperCollins, Duncan Enterprises, the City of Phoenix, Phoenix College, and Random House. He also designed and drew hundreds of images for the new Crafty Chica product line, including a Loteria game, iron-on transfers, fabric applqiues and others. His work is currently on display in “La Casa Murillo: A Life-Sized Shadow Box” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ.
Patrick is available for demos, workshops, appearances, endorsements and book project contributions. Click here to get in touch with him.