Meet Patrick Duke: Howler Ambassador

Posted on May 12, 2015

Patrick Duke is a renaissance outdoorsman who embodies the “heed the call” scripture we preach here at Howler Brothers. He’s a fly fishing guide and super talented oil painter who draws inspiration from the natural world around him in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley of Colorado, or wherever he happens to find himself. We took a pilgrimage with Patrick and his fellow Howler brand ambassador Kameron Brown down to Mexico to adventure about and shoot pictures of our Spring Howler line and recent collaboration with Smith Optics. Recently, we reconnected with Patrick and asked him a few tough questions...

So, any trouble transitioning from the warm climes of Mexico back to Colorado?
Always... From Kay’s margaritas at the Palometa Club to ice scrapers and shovels is always a tough one. The worst part is sticking the salt gear in the back of the closet and not knowing when you get to pull it out again. On the upside, in 48 hours I went from casting to permit on the flats to riding pow on Crested Butte Mountain.

Any sleepless nights resulting from your encounters with permit down at the Palometa Club?
No, I’ve accepted that permit are all assholes and when I finally do stick one of those donkey lipped f#$kers I'm going to poke it in his big eye and tell him to warn his fork-tailed friends... Seriously though, if I ever have a permit dream I’d probably wake my girlfriend up mumbling every combination of swear words I know. My buddy and I call it permit Tourettes. I did have some unforgettable shots that are on repeat in my head and thats good enough for now... 

In your professional opinion, what is wrong with Kameron Brown?
Ha! Everything.... At the moment his two wheel drive camper van is stuck on three wheels because I talked him into fishing the black Canyon on his cross country road tripper. My Bad Kam.... For real though, everyone needs a little Vitamin K in their life. He is the quintessential Cali brah who wakes up everyday oozing grom like stoke and curiosity about the what, where and why especially if it involves a surfboard or a fly rod. And his stoke is genuine and infectious. His road trip, just him, his dog and his van full of surf sticks and buggy whips explains it all. His next stop is Montana. Beware, Trout and women alike, Vitamin K is on his way. (we do need to sharpen up his lady skills though, I don't think he met that ambassador pre-req...)

Your artwork is spectacular and reminiscent of the old guard of western oil painters. Who are your big influences in that arena?
Wow, much appreciated. As a Contemporary Realist I have several current and historic legends to look up to. The more known and historic being John Segar Sargent, who could paint an arm and a hand in just a few precise brush strokes. Edgar Pane who was focused on landscape and could truly capture not only the landscape but also the air between viewer and land. Then there are the current crushers of the landscape world, Scott Christensen, Clive Aspevig and up-and-comer Joshua Bean. These guys are insane and constantly pushing the levels of realist landscape.

At what point did you think you had what it took to give it a go as a professional artist?
Hard to say, even as a kid I just knew that was what I was good at and that was what I had to do. As you grow and mature and realize how the “real” world works though it makes committing to such a lofty career a little more intimidating. Even most artists in the educational system are ingrained with the notion that being an art teacher is the best rout for an “Artist”. I guess it wasn't until after college I decided I was going to put the snowboard and fly-rod down, at least a little bit, and fully commit to this. The suit and tie behind a desk route was out of the question a long time ago. It wasn't that I thought I was good enough but more so I thought if I put everything into it I could get there. I'm still getting there, but the sales are always the best reward for progress.

The Colorado trout season is creeping up, what is Patrick Duke doing right now to get prepared?
Mental training. Every morning after breakfast my girlfriend runs me through a few questions or comments that I have to respectfully respond to:

"Nice boat, do you think I'll need my net today?"
"Do you have room for my backcountry backpack, fly fishing vest, cooler, back up waders, book to read, camera from the 80’s, 3wt rod, 8wt rod, back up sunblock? Or do you think I can leave the sleeping bag?" 
"What do you mean by mend?...." 
"You think that was a bite?..." 

This time of year is no "off-season". I’m currently juggling a lot: booking clients for the summer and explaining to people why my July is already booked, putting together a new boat (kind of obsessed with boats - is 4 to many?..), packing for a bonefish trip in 3 days, tying tarpon flies for the Keys, trying to get ahead and crank out paintings for the summer season, and meanwhile keep a good fish count on my local tailwater that seams to always pop a 30-incher out this time of year. Other than that just chillin'... 

IPA, Rainier, Fireball, Chardonnay, Single Malt. Pick 2.
Everyone is trying to "out hops" each other.. IPA R.I.P. Rainier seems to be the North West equivalent to PBR, maybe slightly better and all though I haven't had the privilege to taste Rainier on the way in AND the way out I'm sure its all the same. Funny how there is nothing better than ice cold PBR and nothing worst than back of the truck “look what I found under the seat!" PBR. Fireball is always part of a recipe for a great night and a terrible morning. But I do have a bottle rolling around in my boat cooler right now... Chardonnay is for guys wearing world wide sportsman fishing shirts who only cast Winstons, and thirsting cougars. More of a Malbec guy myself (of course, badass trout live in Argentina, too). Single Malt, now were talking. Whisky, scotch, warm, cold, morning, night. I'm in.

Foreigner, Beck, Buck Owens, Kendrick Lamar, Peter Tosh. Pick 2.
Shoot, I dig all of those. Just hit shuffle and let it rip. 

Howler Brothers, Ed Hardy, Magellan, Members Only, Guess, Hugo Boss. Pick 1.
Is this a trick question? I feel like this is a trick question.... 
Ed Hardy, jeez.. Nothing says "I love crappy tattoos" like sporting shirts with images of crappy tattoos.  
Bah ha ha, Magellan?! "Does this vest make me look like I’m on a safari right now?" I do have my passport..... in one of these thousands of pockets. 
Members Only, still pretty fresh.. But I still don’t understand that strappy neck thing. What is that?! 
Guess...... nope
Hugo Boss... hard to row a boat in suit jacket but I do enjoy looking like a BOSS on occasion. 
Howler Brothers is the easy pick. Thank you again fellas for cracking the code between great looking clothes and fishing attire and breathing some style back into this industry. I’ve been avoiding the “guide shirts” and zip off cargo pants that have been plaguing this industry for years. When I found Howler, it was a no brainer.

Check out more of Patrick's paintings here, catch him in action in our Panga Patrol video, or get a closer look at the rest of what he's wearing at