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Patrick O'Donnell

Spotlight of the Month

Law & Art presents art made by lawyers from around the world, and turns the spotlight on one new lawyer artist each month. As spring begins, discover the work of Patrick O'Donnell, notary by day, and both sculptor and painter by night.  

Patrick's Story

 Patrick used to be a country solicitor in the North Midlands. In 2004, he retired from his first career and set up in practice as a Notary in the City of London. Patrick shares:

"There followed 12 wonderful years, during which time I met some amazing people and enjoyed exploiting my French and Italian language skills. This role also gave me the freedom to fulfil the dream of a lifetime: to become an artist.


It started with a part time course in sculpture. In 2010, I enrolled at The Art Academy, an atelier art school in Southwark, London and, spent two years sculpting the human figure. ‘The Fall’ 2011 Bronze was my first, tentative, step into abstraction. There followed a succession of skills based and artistic development courses and programmes (I never took a fine arts degree) through physical sculpture and drawing to film and performance. I even flirted with conceptual art.

But what was I (as an artist) about?


In 2016, a visit to Easter Island renewed my interest in drawing, fast and furiously, as I had used to do at school, in the margins and on the covers of exercise books. The visit also showed how art could be woven into the fabric of daily life, to lift our spirits as surely as the natural world. I began to understand that, more than putting work into galleries, I wanted to impact the real world.  In 2019, I found an opportunity, at the iconic Victoria Baths, Manchester, to ‘improve’ an ugly range of changing cubicles in an otherwise beautiful Victorian-style interior. This became, ‘Free Movement’, where I used light and torn paper to give these same changing cubicles the appearances of a huge fish-tank. It’s still there. 


This year, these elements come together at Distrikt, a late night subterranean music bar, in Leeds city centre, where I am in the course of an ongoing, open-ended residency. Starting with quick-fire sketches of musicians in performance, I am creating a range of large-scale prints with which to transform the interior."

Patrick's Work

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