Patrick M. Lydon (b. 1981) is an American ecological artist and author living in Japan and Korea. His work incorporates film, photography, writing, mixed-media installations, and community engagements, with aim to inspire insightful, empathic relationships with the living world around us.
Born and raised on the occupied lands of the Tamyen people (known today as San José, California or Silicon Valley), Lydon later spent a nomadic decade in the East Asia region, where he still lives today. His work reflects cultural traditions garnered from diverse casts of people, from farmers and monks to urban planners and educators. Though broad in form — ranging from large installations of natural materials to feature films — his work always has its roots firmly planted in the act of investigating our relationship with nature and the land.
In 2011, Lydon founded the City as Nature urban eco art lab with partner Suhee Kang, co-directing the documentary Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness as their first project. Lydon writes a weekly series of illustrated stories called The Possible City, and is the arts editor at The Nature of Cities. He lives with Suhee in Osaka, Japan and Daejeon, Korea.
Biography / CV
Abbreviated biography below
1981 Born in San Jose, United States (land of the Tamyen-speaking Muwekma Ohlone peoples)
2007 Graduated from California State University, San Jose, BA, School of Art & Design [USA]
2010 Appointed to the Arts Commission by the San Jose City Council [USA]
2011 Founded SocieCity collective [now ‘City as Nature’]
2013 Studied at Aichi University of the Arts, Suizu Isao Project Lab [Japan]
Commissioned to produce “HUMAN:NATURE, Megijima” during the Setouchi Triennale [Japan]
2014 Graduated from The University of Edinburgh, MFA, Art, Space & Nature [Scotland]
2015 Began as the Arts & Culture Editor for The Nature of Cities [USA]
Awarded the Robert Callender International Residency [Scotland]
Awarded a Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka Grant [Japan]
2016 Release of the feature-length documentary “Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness” after four years of production together with Suhee Kang
2018 Invited as Organizing Committee Member and Co-Curator, The Nature of Cities Summit [Paris, France]
Co-Initiated the Forum for Radical Imagination on Environmental Cultures [Paris, France]
Opened The Branch, Art & Ecology Lab [Osaka, Japan]
2019 Produced the City as Nature Festival, with 30 artists from 7 countries [Osaka, Japan]
2020 Co-Director of Arts Program for the Nature of Cities Festival, with 74 artists from 33 countries [Global/Virtual]
Exhibitions and Publications
Lydon has shown work and/or produced collaborative projects in North America, Europe, and Asia, including at: Glasgow Center for Contemporary Art, Pier Arts Centre, Setouchi International Triennale, Sorbonne University – Pierre et Marie Curie, Kagawa Yamanami Art Festival, David Brower Center, Oklahoma State Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Space Osaka, Kyotographie KG+, BankART 1929, N3 Art Lab, Chidori Bunka, Yamaguchi Institute of Contemporary Art, Institute of Liberal Arts at Nagoya University, Art Spot Korin, Houston Center for Photography, TENT Gallery, Fettes Gallery, Falkland Centre for Stewardship, MinnaNouen, Seoul Youth Hub, Value Garden, Gigha Gallery, Oni Gallery, Aichi University of Art, SpaceNoah, Arc Gallery, WORKS Gallery, ArtObject Gallery, and Koji.
In addition to efforts at City as Nature and Nature of Cities, he has been a contributing writer for YES! Magazine, Kyoto Journal, Landscape Architecture Frontiers Journal, Arts Everywhere, Resilience, and the Mercury News among others. To read some of this, you can explore writings section of this website.
In print, Lydon is author of the “Urban Ecology: art and the cultivation of ecological mindsets” chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology (2nd edition), and co-author of two books with partner Suhee Kang: 자연농[Final Straw] (Geumulko press, Seoul), and 불안과 경쟁 없는 이곳에서 [Here, a World Without Anxiety or Competition] (Yeolmaehana Publishers, Seoul). The latter book is included in the Korean Library of Congress, and both are available at booksellers across South Korea. During his time in Silicon Valley, he was the art director and co-author of the SonicWALL Secure Wireless Integrated Solutions Guide, published by Syngress.
You can also find reviews, interviews, images, and written work in Huffington Post (Korea), SF Weekly, Shikoku Shinbun, DesignBoom, BranD Magazine, Bar and Dining Magazine, CNN, E-Sharp Journal, ROAD Magazine, ESSEN Magazine, Clean Eating Magazine, OKH TV, Afterimage Journal of Media Arts, NorthernLights, Creative Review UK, JPG Magazine, CordPress (세 개의 선), The Art Chronicle, 10. Magazine, Reed Magazine and Lightleak Photography Journal.
Lydon is in the permanent collection of the David Brower Center, one of the world’s foremost centers of ecological policy and action, as well as on the wall next to where the dogs sleep at the Gurye Contemporary Art Museum, in Gurye, Korea, and Cafe Ism and Cafe Oui in Seoul, two of his favorite places to get coffee and cake. Pay them a visit if you’re in town and say hello.
Lydon holds an MFA with distinction from the University of Edinburgh’s Art, Space & Nature program (2014), was a visiting student at Aichi University of the Arts in Japan (Summer 2013), and graduated with a BA from San Jose State University (2007), after studying relatively equal amounts of music, photography, and design.
Outside of academia and book learning, Lydon is greatly influenced by regular work and interaction with natural farmers throughout East Asia, and thousands of hours of meditative practice in Dharma halls, forests, and urban settings alike. “Taking the time to learn from the people, places, and nature within our surroundings,” Lydon says “is one of the most important educations anyone could find. It is also a lifelong, tuition-free education, powered by our own curiosity and dedication.”
For inquiries related to art and writing please use:
patrick [at] pmlydon.com
For inquiries related to the Final Straw film distribution and screenings, please use:
Korea — Suhee Kang — suhee [at] finalstraw.org
Japan — Kaori Tsuji, aouei films — kaori [at] finalstraw.org
U.S. and Other Inquiries — director [at] finalstraw.org