Patrick Korch studied Art in college but wore a number of other professional hats – logger, commercial fisherman, home builder, salesman and business owner (along with his wife Roberta) – before returning to his true calling. Our team at Scancafe got to view and digitize slides of Patrick’s creative work as well as hear about how he rediscovered his passion for art late in life.
Here is Patrick’s story:
I was born in Stockholm, Sweden to an Irish mother and a Swedish Father and grew up in Palo Alto, CA. After graduating from college with a degree in Art, I traveled around Europe for two years on an AJS Norton motorcycle – meeting new friends and studying art at museums.
I returned to the USA, eventually winding up in Connecticut. I was called to military duty, but was given a 4F due to some migraines. That was fine by me. It was the height of the Vietnam war. I had already lost a couple of high school buddies and one came back in a wheelchair.
However, it was in Connecticut while walking on a back country road one day, that I met my lovely wife – of 46 years now – Roberta.
We moved back to California and worked at some corporations. In 1975, while on a trip to Vancouver in Canada, we visited Sonora Island and fell in love with it. We bought a parcel of land at the head of Owen Bay and built a cabin there, on a bluff overlooking the bay. I bought a 36-foot Baltic Cruiser sailboat that I outfitted with a Volvo diesel motor and we sailed to Vancouver in search of work and new adventures. Before long I became a commercial fisherman, plying the waters of British Columbia all the way up to the Queen Charlotte Islands.
But we soon tired of the rain in BC and moved back to Palo Alto where I started a business, selling navigational lighting aids, radar and sound equipment to oil companies for their offshore platforms. When that business folded due to reasons beyond my control, I got into insurance sales to support the family (that now included my two boys, apart from Roberta) and found I was actually quite good at it.
One day, while on a trip to NYC for a sales training session, Roberta and I strolled into the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That’s when the realization hit me. I knew what I really wanted to do. Roberta now ran a set of mall kiosks and stores called ‘Worldview Gifts”. They carried items from around the world and were doing well enough to get us through financially.
I looked at her and said: “That’s it. I quit. I’ve had enough. I am going back to my art. If I don’t do it now, I will never do it.” As you may have gathered by now, we have always been a tad impulsive.
There was one artist who told me that I was too old to pursue my passion. But heck, Gaugin was 45 when he quit banking and started painting. I proved this guy wrong. Within two years, I had competed in an annual competition called the “National Arts for the Parks Competition.” They received over 4,500 works every year. I started out placing in the top 100 and top 50 but by Year 4, I was in the top 10!
While Roberta is now retired with time for volunteering and grandkids, I have returned to my passion – my art – in a large and commercial way. I have over 1,200 paintings in my portfolio and have had Scancafe scan slides of everything I have done so far. I am placing these on note cards, prints, posters, pillows, canvas prints, coffee mugs, magnets, ceramic tiles, scarves, and more. I retail these to gift shops, museums and national and state parks. They are images of all my lifetime travels across the USA, Canada, and Europe. You can view them on Fine Art America. Just search for the work of Patrick Korch.
Thank you for reading my story.
Look out for more personal pieces such as this one in our ‘Timeless Pic and a Story” series.