Born in White Plains, New York, Patrick Quinn and his family moved to London when he was two years old. A few years later, they relocated to Stockholm and after that, to Montreal. In 1976, his family moved to Los Angeles. Ironically, their first home was in Highland Park, less than two miles from where Quinn and his wife now reside in the Eagle Rock neighborhood.
Quinn knew he wanted to be a writer when he was still in high school. At first influenced by all the usual suspects: Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Jack Kerouac, Quinn later was inspired by a new wave of young novelists who were publishing vibrant, topical books about his generation. Books such as Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis and Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney piqued his interest; those authors made writing relevant for someone in his early twenties. Quinn began submitting short stories to literary magazines while he was still in junior college.
He started working at Universal Studios, Hollywood, first as a performer. He eventually became a member of the creative team for the park’s annual Halloween Horror Nights event. For more than fifteen years, he has been Designer for the event’s Scare Zones. During the same period, he focussed on creating his own visual art. Quinn’s unique assemblage sculptures have been shown in numerous art galleries throughout Los Angeles.
It wasn’t long after Quinn joined Universal that he began collecting vintage LPs. But unlike most record collectors, Quinn didn’t think the prize was the vinyl inside, but rather each vintage album cover. Lounge music, spoken word, obscure pop crooners—something about the trapped-in-time images appealed to his imagination. This led to an interest in other vintage oddities: snapshots, telegrams, restaurant menus, matchbooks, maps, and assorted paper ephemera.
In the spring of 2017, Quinn and his wife were enjoying a lazy Sunday wandering the aisles of a local flea market, when he noticed one of his favorite dealers had something unusual for sale: a cardboard box filled with cocktail napkins from the 1960s and 1970s. Attracted by the kitschy graphics, Quinn dug in, assuming he’d only pick a handful. But it soon became apparent he had to have them all—hundreds of them. Suddenly Patirick Quinn had a new collecting obsession.
But writing remains his overarching passion. Quinn has written film scripts, short stories, and articles. His work has appeared on such sites as Los Angeles Magazine and Zocalo Public Square. He was a staff writer for Art & Cake, which covers the Los Angeles art scene. He is at work on his first novel, which—of course—is set in Los Angeles. When he first had the notion that cocktail napkins would be interesting to collect, he had no idea that obsession would lead to his first book, Bar Keeps: A Collection of California’s Best Cocktail Napkins (Angel City Press).