Patric McCoy Photo Book Creative Capital Campaign

Patric McCoy is widely known as a founder of Diasporal Rhythms, a Chicago-based organization expanding the appreciation of contemporary visual art created by artists of the African diaspora. However, many are unaware that McCoy has also created a substantial body of documentary photography.

During the 1980s, the art collector and environmental scientist resolved to teach himself 35mm photography. McCoy’s resolution entailed carrying his camera with him at all times, taking at least one photo per day, and documenting any person who asked to have their portrait taken. This creative commitment resulted in McCoy capturing thousands of images of Chicago’s Southside and becoming - as he says - an inadvertent photojournalist. McCoy’s most intimate and striking pictures are his diverse portraits of Black men, his “most persistent and enthusiastic subjects.” McCoy's photos are a singular record of Black gay and street culture in Chicago during the 1980s.

Until recently, this archive of street photography received only intermittent public attention, largely remaining stowed away in McCoy's basement. Beginning in 2017 with the inclusion of his images in exhibitions at the Alphawood Gallery, the Southside Community Art Center, the Smart Museum, and Wrightwood 659, McCoy began sharing his archive with a broader and broader public.

Now – together with his co-author, artist and curator John Neff – McCoy is working to
publish his images in an artist's book. Titled 38 Special, this highly anticipated photo book presents a carefully selected sampling of one of the largest and richest photographic archives of a Chicago demimonde that has gone largely unrepresented in existing histories of the city. In the book, large-scale portraits will anchor montage spreads including cityscapes of Chicago street life in the 1980s. Detailed oral histories and other texts will add color and detail to the book. The book will also include documentation of McCoy's The Gift Project (2008 - ongoing), in which he shares his images with other artists for use as inspiration and reference.

To complete 38 Special, McCoy’s original negatives must scanned, edited, and restored to the highest standards. To aid in these efforts, a creative capital campaign is being initiated to raise financial support for the project. Funds will also go toward the design and printing of 38 Special.

Some funds from this creative capital campaign will support a fall 2023 exhibition at Chicago's Blanc gallery titled At First Glance, curated Viktor Le Givens. Givens will be a creative consultant and designer on 38 Special.

Additionally, capital campaign funds will enable free and accessible public programming related to the book's content. Those wishing to make their donation through a registered 501(C)3 for tax purposes should contact Patric McCoy through this GoFundMe page for more information.
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Patric McCoy
Chicago, IL

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