James Demer, co-founder of DemerBox interviews artist, avid outdoorsman & founder of Art & Angling a lifestyle brand, Patrick Duke about professional fly-fishing, art & travel.
James Demer: You're a real renaissance man, Patrick. Which came first, the art or the fishing?
Patrick Duke: I'd have to say the art came first, but as a kid, I was enamored by both. I grew up with a rod in my hand, and art classes were always my favorite subjects as a kid. As far as making a career out of either, I started guiding fly fishing with I was in college and after I graduated, I used the offseason to sharpen my skills and build a career path as an artist.
James Demer: You've been to quite a few places as a professional fly-fishing guide and adventure angler. Do you have a favorite, and why?
Patrick Duke: I love guiding my home water here in Colorado on the Gunnison River. I am constantly reminded how special this river is on so many levels. But as for traveling, I have a hard time picking a favorite. Every place I go, and every species of fish I chase lends a refreshing and exciting set of new challenges to test your skills and overcome. Traveling to new destinations and fishing for different species is what has kept the flame of fly fishing burning for me. Over the last few years, I've become pretty consumed with catching permit on the fly in Acension Bay, Mexico, and the margaritas aren't bad either. I make an annual hosted pilgrimage to see my friends down south and test my patience and abilities against a fish revered as one of the toughest to catch on a fly. To me, it's never about the fishing. The fishing is just an excuse to see new parts of the world, meet new friends, experience different cultures, and come home with a few stories to share with others in hopes to inspire them to do the same.
James Demer: Your home base is in Crested Butte, Colorado. Is that where you grew up, or did you make a conscious decision to live there?
Patrick Duke: I grew up in a small town outside Denver called Evergreen, and I found Crested Cute when I was looking at college options. Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado was a natural choice for me because the ski resort, Mnt. Crested Butte was only a thirty-minute drive from campus. You can see where my priorities were back then... It wasn't until a few years after I graduated that I made the move and started calling Crested Butte home. It was a conscious decision for sure. Living here, I'm surrounded by all my painting subjects, my gallery is in walking distance, and my morning commute to the boat ramp is under 20 minutes. I can't do the hustle of big cities, traffic, and impersonal human interactions. I like to know my neighbors and the people I see in town. No stop lights, just mountain peaks. This place has a real community , and it reminds me of the place I grew up.
James Demer: Does the fly on our special edition DemerBox have significance? Tell us about how you chose that as your design.