Blueprints for Transcendence

Patrick J. Ditko, June 2021

A blueprint is traditionally created from a black ink drawing on a translucent paper, typically vellum. This original drawing is placed on top of a special paper that when illuminated, a photoreaction turns the paper dark blue. The light is blocked by the black ink from the original drawing revealing the white lines appearing on the blueprint. For over a hundred years this nearly forgotten process was used to convey the designs to build all of the infrastructure for most of the 20th Century.

My Dad is an architect and I began working in his office in the 9th grade, 1985. I started drafting and doing typical office work, binding, copies, FAX, transmittals and of course blueprints. If you’ve ever run a blueprint machine, you’ll never forget the smell of ammonia. It’s kinda like having a smelling salt stuck up your nose for the duration of the job. I was probably near the very end of that method to produce architectural drawings. My older brother Mark was already getting into CAD (Computer Aided Drafting). Architectural drawings will always be the standard I hold myself to in producing a final drawing. The idea that an architectural drawing can convey a coded set of instructions to build everything and anything in existence is truly amazing!

Patrick J. Ditko, 1994, 36 x 36 inches, Pen and Ink

I grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and graduated High School in 1989 and quickly moved to Phoenix, Arizona afterwards. I started out in the Arizona State Architecture program but just didn’t feel like I was fitting in. I showed a professor my Seed drawing and he said, “That’s great BUT architecture is about space.” I understood what he meant and I transferred to the Art Department focusing on sculpture. It was a great way to learn and explore something different. All of my electives were in art and architectural history I and graduated in 1996. I learned that art and architecture and all the arts are a continuing conversation through history. I always wanted to contribute to that conversation in a meaningful way. I never believed that the title of artist was one that you should give yourself. I’d always hold various jobs, (Kinko’s was my favorite) and I sporadically continued developing the ideas for the Blueprints Series. Pieces started and pieces stopped. Ideas were always developing. I first realized it was a series and exhibited the Series to that point in 1998 at the Satori Gallery in Johnstown.

I like to take multiple ideas and string them together through multiple layers. As the Series progresses the language shifts to more of a design language. The strong organic elements of drawings are less dominant. There is extensive process involved in building the layers. I also use an array of different vanishing points giving the drawings their unique perspective. The titles of nearly all the designs are one word that is preferably both a noun and a verb. I often use words that begin with “trans” to further illustrate the idea of Transcendance.

Patrick J. Ditko, 1992, 30 x 26 inches, Pen and Ink

Spiritual Designs for an Enlightening Perspective

Blueprints for Transcendance explore designs not for the physical things on this earth but plans for spiritual transcendence.  I look at blueprints like a treasure map, the signs, symbols and language used to convey the means to build anything from a skyscraper to the things not of this earth.

I want to explore ideas that would help people transcend.  I create designs layered in patterns that reflect ideas that layout plans for transcendence.

Music has always been my greatest muse.  Besides story and visual language the rhythms and patterns are rooted in my love of music.    The story, the conversation with art entwined with a Renaissance embracement of the arts centrally revolved around a concept called synaesthesia. A concept that I found the most intriguing.

I don’t think art is a chosen career.  Much like cats choose an owner, art chooses its victims.  I believe everyone is an artist inside or should be an artist.  I think there should be a broader definition for art that emcompasses your approach when doing anything.  Life is filled with layers, art is just one of them and everyone has that layer.  I weave layers of ideas into my designs.  The blueprint is only the product of the design.  The original design is created once and from that source, it is  then copied.