Speaking to us from Australia, born in Sag Harbor, and with his teenage years spent in Bali, Trip Patterson is a true citizen of the globe. After a whirlwind life as an East Coast champion in the surfing world, he opened Tripoli Gallery in 2009—a move that felt destined as Trip’s father is an art dealer.
“At my gallery, I work with the people I form a connection with— our frequencies are in line and we have a personal bond,” he says of his work. “Obviously, I have to like their work, but it’s all about the relationship I have with that artist and how our energies interact. It’s not something that happens overnight. When you represent an artist you’re going into a lifelong relationship with them.”
Here, Trip talks about the shows he’s already planning for the summer, his love for Byron Bay, his favorite spots in Montauk, and more.
On his connection to Byron Bay:
“We’re in Byron Bay, Australia right now. My sister lives in Coolangatta and my friend, surfer Stephanie Gilmore, introduced me to Justin Crawford here which is just wild as I worked with his father, Peter Crawford when I was 14 and living in Bali. Peter has since passed, but it was so cool to meet his son and now I’m showing his art in my gallery. There are a lot of parallels to Byron Bay and my home, Sag Harbor. Both places were changed by an influx of people from the city during the pandemic. And the vibe of Montauk and Byron are very similar, as they’re both creative surf communities.”
On his Byron Bay art show that is running now:
“I’m doing my first-ever overseas show here in Byron Bay now through March 21st. I want to be the channel between NYC and Australia for artists and collectors. I want collectors to have immediate access to contemporary artists, both in the States and here. I’m showing selected artists that I represent back home, as well as three Australian artists who I’ve shown in New York City. I’m also showing a selection of new artists, including Aboriginal artists and those whose work is surf-inspired.”
On his favorite spots in Montauk:
“In Montauk, I love Island Surf in Westhampton. The owner has sponsored me since I was ten. And Air & Speed is another great surf shop. Ditch Plains is the only surf spot I can share without revealing too much. It’s a good beginners spot.”
On his forthcoming summer show in Wainscott and what he’s learning from Aboriginal artists:
“This summer I’m doing a show with Laith McGregror. It’s his first solo exhibition and related to a show he’s doing in Australia. He’s got an illustrative and drawing background and creates pencil drawings, which are time-consuming renditions. He has all of these thoughts in his mind that he puts in a sketchbook. Those works on paper then go into his oil paintings. He’s influenced by all the cultures he’s been brought up around.
McGregor’s wife is Balinese, so he is influenced by some of her culture’s traditions with a technique that is undeniably his own. He almost makes his canvases look like fabric patterns. He also does sculptures and takes tourist art pieces you might find in the street in Bali then makes them his own. And in doing so, he’s commenting on tourism and how traditional art becomes consumed by tourists on a smaller scale. Right now, I’m learning that from the Aboriginal artists I’m working with. How do you take a cultural thing and commodify it into a gallery setting without losing its integrity? That’s a question I’m asking myself.”