Ultra Dialectics

Digital artist Patrick Tang is a rising talent among the thriving arts scene in the coolest of all the Dutch cities, Amsterdam. After an early introduction to erotic fantasy and sci-fi in his formative years, Tang soon found a special connection to the relatedsub-cultures. It was these early influences that led to his eventual foray into the visual arts.

With little practical knowledge and heaps of determination he worked persistently at his craft until he felt he’d reached a point of accomplishment. Today his work graces numerous album covers in his native Holland and of course the Internet, every digital artists’ playground. Format chatted briefly with Tang about his rising career and here’s what he had to say…

“Well, that all has its origins from my uncle’s birthday parties, where I would look into books of Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazzeta… As far back as I can remember I always had a weak spot for the macabre.”

Format: Ok so let’s kick things off with a quick rundown of your creative roots. What city do you live in and did you attend any form of art school?

Patrick Tang: I was born and raised in Amsterdam, and I have been living here all my life. I didn’t attend any art school, tried to get into one though but they thought I wasn’t good enough.

Format: You operate under the name of Ultradialectics; can you explain the significance of that title please?

Patrick Tang: When I began making digital art I worked under the name Ultra but since that’s a pretty common word I decided to spice it up. I eventually asked a friend to help me out because I was stuck picking a good name. It’s now Ultradialectics, dialectics being a form of reasoning based on the exchange of arguments and counter-arguments.

Format: Are you currently exhibiting or do you have any special projects on the go that we should know about? 

Patrick Tang:No, I am currently not running any exhibitions. To be honest I never have, but I would love to do that some day.

Format: Who or what are the dominant artistic influences in your work and which aspects appeal to you most? 

Patrick Tang: I think everything around me influences my work, so I don’t really have one dominant artistic influence. But of course I look at work of fellow digital artists daily, and art in general. That encourages, and inspires me a lot.

Format: If you had to explain to a stranger what it is exactly that you do, how would you describe your work? 

Patrick Tang: I would tell them I am a digital artist and I make work ranging from a macabre/horror style to a more urban type of art.

Format: Talk to us about the conceptual planning you go through and how you execute of these ideas…


Patrick Tang: Most of the time the idea/concept starts in my head with my own fantasy, which is luckily very rich. And from there on I just start to create. I don’t write things down or do any pre-sketching.

Format: I’m guessing you’re working strictly with digital these days; has it always been that way?

Patrick Tang: It has always been digital for me.

Format: Your work has a healthy dose of macabre fantasy to it – where does that darkness stem from?

Patrick Tang: Well, that all has its origins from my uncle’s birthday parties, where I would look into books of Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazzeta. From there it was onto comic books and watching a lot of horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies. As far back as I can remember I always had a weak spot for the macabre.

Format: I noticed a lot of skulls popping up in your work, is there a particular motivation behind that?

Patrick Tang: You can easily link the skull back to my fascination for the darker side of life. And a skull itself is a powerful image; it’s what will remain after death.

Format: A large portion of your ‘commercial’ work is for some pretty hardcore bands, are you into similar types of music and how does music influence you creatively?

Patrick Tang: One of my other passions is singing, and that’s a big part of my life. I began singing in death metal bands and later in metalcore bands. So I kinda grew into the style of art that was used in the scene; I later began making it myself, it was a logical step. Music, in general influences me a lot, I really listen to any type of music ranging from hip-hop to death metal. And most of the times songs really can be a great influence on my work.

Format: What about the rest of your clients, it’s a fairly mixed bag of underground and Main-street… how did you manage to appeal to such a broad cross-section?


Patrick Tang: Simply because I love to do both, and they both feel as a challenge to me. I started with the more underground stuff, but lately I have also been doing more Main-street stuff and will do more in the future.

Format: Tell us more about the arts scene over in the Netherlands, is there any dominant discipline or medium being observed by you and your peers?


Patrick Tang: I do have to say I’m just an observer in the scene and not really active at this point. I think the dominant discipline in the Netherlands today is street/urban art. The medium I observe is the digital art scene, which I follow daily. I think there are some very good digital designers in the Netherlands.

Format: And how are the arts dealt with by the government in the Netherlands, do they assist with grants etc?


Patrick Tang: I think some artists do get grants, but as far as my work is concerned, I never really got into it because I don’t really need it at this stage.

Format: Would you say you’re content with the way things work for creative types in the Netherlands, what would you change if you could?

Patrick Tang: As far as I can speak for myself, its working out fine at this point but that is my situation. I mean I make my art but besides that I also have a 9-5 job so I can pay my bills. But I think it would be harder surviving when just making art in the Netherlands.

Format: As far a development, both personally and professionally, do you have any aspirations to move from your current location to a more arts friendly environment, like London, Paris or New York for example?


Patrick Tang:Not at this point, I still feel I need to learn alot more. And I am just in lovewith Amsterdam. But you never know, I mean if somebody offers me a killer job elsewhere I’ll certainly take that in consideration.

More Info: http://www.ultradialectics.com

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