Illustrator Paul Pateman talks about the pursuit of happiness in his work

London-based graphic artist Paul Pateman, better known by the alias Pâté, has a good amount of humour in his work and a strong and simple aesthetic.

Pâté, also known as Paul Pateman, is a London-based graphic artist with a quick wit and strong, simple aesthetic. Working in both print and digital, he uses his wicked sense of humour to create concept-led images and type compositions. Balancing his time between commercial and personal projects, his clients include Virgin Media, Discovery Channel UK, Moo, Creative Review and V&A Museum of Childhood.

The second episode of Format Magazine's InFrame features Pâté. 

Produced in collaboration with master storyteller and documentary filmmaker Bas Berkhout, each video within the series of intimate shorts profiles a brilliant creative professional and their journey to doing what they love.

Pâté is celebrated for his visually-arresting images that are as equally direct and uncomplicated as they are wickedly humorous. Working in both print and digital, his images and type compositions are, most importantly, driven by concept:

“I would say my work is characterized by ideas first — I’m not really interested in ambiguity. And then, after that, I would say is it funny? Is it beautiful? Is it simple?” he explains.

Pâté, formerly a successful creative director at two of London’s largest advertising agencies, has earned over 130 industry awards, including the coveted D&AD Yellow Pencil — accomplishments and hard work that, he admits, took their toll. After thirteen years, a lapse in drawing and an extended hospital stay, he left the corporate world to pursue a full-time career as an independent illustrator.

Since striking out on his own in 2013, his quick wit and strong, simple aesthetic have attracted a roster of notable clients including Virgin Media, Discovery Channel UK, Moo and The V&A Museum of Childhood. His personal work, regularly exhibited at galleries and sold as posters, includes a series called Cock-A-Doodle, a “dirty alphabet” that’s understandably NSFW.

“I see life as quite... dangerous, in a way. My work is so ordered and graphic and simple and easy to understand because I’m trying to make sense of how chaotic life is. Maybe that’s why it gives me such pleasure and solace because here is this thing that I can control. It is mine to own. You don’t have that control in your life.”