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Gahanna Artist Wins People’s Choice Award at 2018 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition

Patrick Wayner’s “Spiritus Invictus” makes a big statement, but the small personal details are what make it the artist’s favorite piece.

“Most of my work is kind of based in totems or spirit animals and stuff like that,” said Wayner, owner of Painted Patch. “The animals in the piece are related to my spirit animals. So, it’s kind of me, per se.”

The 6-foot-by-4-foot wall-mounted work is an intricate synthesis of flora and fauna, brought to life through precisely cut wood pieces layered to form antlers, feathers, fur, and leaves. The result is a “faux taxidermy” showstopper—not only did it win Amateur Best of Show in the 2018 Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, it also received the People’s Choice Award this year.

For Wayner, the piece is sort of a self-portrait featuring animals that have special meaning to him.

“My mom has called me ‘bear’ ever since I was a child. That is always a mainstay for me, the bear, so that is usually what I go off of,” he said. “And then the owl kind of replays a lot. I like doing wings. Wings are always fun to make and you can always make them different each time.”

Wayner has been creating his wooden artwork for the past five years. From leafy sea dragons to sleepy sloths, he’s created a veritable zoo of creatures.

“Everything starts with just a 2D sketch. I have an idea in my head that I want to come to fruition, but at the same time, I don’t really know what I’m going to do,” he said. “It’s just letting the wood speak and lead you where it wants to go. That connection keeps me grounded, and it really keeps me going to make more stuff.”

Wayner said “Spiritus Invictus” is the largest piece he’s created, adding that it took about six months to complete.

“It fought me tooth and nail. It did not want to be made,” he said. “I just wanted to get something out there to really push myself and see if I could do it. I love it. I think it’s one of the best I’ve ever made.”

And the public seems to agree. Wayner said he was thrilled to hear that he had been selected for the People’s Choice Award.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was the first year that I entered (the exhibition), so it was even more surprising.”

In addition to the People’s Choice Award, the OAC sponsored 15 other awards, which were presented to artists during the exhibition’s opening ceremony on July 24. This year, the fair distributed 56 awards totaling more than $22,000 to both amateur and professional artists whose work was in the exhibition.

Wayner said he is already thinking of what he will submit for next year’s show because he enjoys seeing the connection that forms between his artwork and the viewer.

“It is fun to see people connect with a certain animal as their spirit guide. So, I hope they take that out of them,” he said. “All of the small pieces are sort of personality traits, so when you add all of those up, you get that kind of attitude from each individual piece. That’s what I’m trying to portray.”

To view more of Wayner’s work, visit

For more information about the Ohio State Fair, visit

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Video by Broad and High, Published on March 30, 2017

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