Patent Artwork: John Pattenden


John Pattenden is the creator of Patent Artwork, a collage project that combines the legal language of patents with images and sketches of an invention. These serve as fine art, memorable gifts, and inspirational reminders of the potential of an idea. One of our team members caught up with Pattenden to learn more about his original work.

What is Patent Artwork?

I look for historic/iconic patents and then extract key elements like drawings, claims, signatures etc. Next I create backgrounds using the Adobe Creative Suite blending different textures and images together. These are contextual with an aged look creating a sense of history. Finally, I take a photograph of the invention and blend it together with the other elements to create a collage, leaving the viewer with a glimpse of how a dream became a reality.

What is your background in art? How did you come to this particular project?

For most of my working life I was a financial analyst for a fortune 500 pharmaceutical company. I decided to leave the corporate world and pursue something I had a real passion for. That was photography. My initial patent artwork print was a one-off in which I was trying to overlay a drawing from an 1872 patent over the invention, a coffee mill.  When I moved the drawing to the side of the image, I had that “eureka moment.” I was struck by the “story board” of how an idea was transformed into an actual product. I started looking around for other items that had patents that I could make prints of.  Within six months that was all I was selling in my booth.

What appeals to you about inventions and the inventor spirit?

It’s all about problem solving: seeing an unmet need and then going about creating a solution. It can be something very simple like the counter weight for a trombone to getting man into space. One of the striking things about many inventors is how they look around at every day things and then apply what they see to solving the problem.

Are you inspired by any particular invention or inventor?

Obviously the Wright Brothers really did change the world in so many ways, so they are high on my list. As a guitarist, I do like Leo Fender. He was not even a musician but he got the first mass production guitar on the market, the Telecaster, and it is as popular today as ever. Following it up with the Stratocaster he gave us, arguably, two of the three most popular electric guitars of all time. He also gave us the two most popular electric basses, the Precision and the Jazz.

You can find artwork made from your favorite patented inventions here. Thanks, John Pattenden, for “bringing art to innovation and innovation to art!”