We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Eide and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, what role has risk played in your life or career?
It took me a long time to cultivate the ability to be able to speak visually in a way that was unapologetic in order to make work that was the most sincerely in my own language. It is incredibly easy to make work that fits into a particular niche or lane, especially with the omnipresence of social media, and as I’ve continued drawing and painting over the years, I’ve striven to make work that is uncompromising, no matter how transgressive the subject matter. It has been my main priority to produce imagery derived from a simultaneously personal and objective standpoint. Many of the subjects that manifest in my work are included based on their effects on the senses. Subjects may contain an overwhelming amount of explicit content, but the work is not intended to be gratuitous, but rather poetic in the greater overarching theme of my work. While a lot of the images in my work are readily identifiable, they stand alongside my personal invented visual language that has evolved its own themes and narratives concurrent with the more traditional approach to recognizable subject matter. It has been important to cultivate a variety of disparate approaches to style and subject matter in order to always keep the practice of drawing and painting exciting for myself. There is no reason for artists to limit themselves with ideas of consistency-this occurs naturally over time as long as one continues to make work. I don’t want to limit or pigeonhole the work, because I am constantly interested in uncovering new possibilities; finding new themes or new content that is going to excite my senses in one way or another. If an image horrifies me or makes me laugh uncontrollably, there is a distinct possibility that it may find itself living alongside a variety of other subjects in one of my artworks. I tire of art that I see and experience daily forcing itself to fit into an already pre-established genre of work that I’m familiar with to some degree or another. It is necessary as an artist, to try and shed anything that isn’t unique or genuine to your personal sensibilities. I like so many kinds of art personally, and I like to feed my visual desires, no matter how different they are from one another. I believe that constant reinvention is the way forward as artist, and I cherish the notion of continuing to push the work into uncharted waters for the sake of new discoveries. The artist I am today is not the same artist I will be tomorrow. Reminding myself of this daily is the catalyst for my artistic production. I am determined to ignore the influence towards a commercial aesthetic. I know wholeheartedly, that my work is intended for a limited audience, and I relish it. I’ve never been interested in casting the widest aesthetic net I could. I am unwilling to compromise the sincerity of my work, as it is crucial to its authenticity. As long as my work provokes a visceral response or at the very least challenges the viewer to think differently for a moment, it has done its job. I never set out to produce works with a particular idea in mind, nor do I impose a specific agenda when the work is presented. I welcome the many interpretations my art provokes. I work very intuitively, and in the present. An idea or image I’ve seen will stick in my mind, and I will immediately materialize it in pen or paint to capture it within that single moment. For this reason, the work is a genuine expression of the process of my headspace and personal sensibilities.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work deals with narrative, representational subjects. Much of the content contained in my work is derived from a myriad of sources. I don’t like to limit myself in terms of trying to establish a particular theme or concept. I prefer that the ideas that find their way onto paper and canvas happen mostly in an intuitive and organic way. I might see an image out in the world somewhere, and hang on it for a moment, then decide for one reason or another that it needs to enter into a drawing or painting. I find myself looking at film just as much as I do visual art-a lot of my more recent subjects derive from the celluloid; a fleeting composition in an old film is as much fair-game as a revered painting by an artist of any period. A lot of my selection process when it comes to recognizable sources in the work happens emotionally. I don’t necessarily have to have a personal connection with a particular image that I use, as long as it elicits a strong reaction from me, no matter whether that reaction is positive or not. I expect a variety of responses from the viewer because of the open narratives contained in my work, and I feel strongly, that if I have a extreme reaction to a particular image, the viewer will have a similar response as me. I don’t allow this notion constrict me, as I am not responsible for the viewer. I like the idea of challenging the audience; I want my drawings and paintings to yield a strong reaction. For me, the work is ultimately an exercise in irreverence and the subversion of established, socially acceptable concepts. I always prioritize the ability to promote images that actively challenge the viewer’s expectations in regards to taste and convention. I actively collide images derived from mainstream and esoteric culture along with images of a more invented language, in order to obfuscate any semblance of linear narrative.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout my dear friend and fellow artist Daniel Giordano. Giordano is an incredible New York-based sculptor that creates a huge range of work from intimate-scaled ceramics to monumentally-sized assemblage treated with a variety of unconventional materials and processes. Daniel recently battered and deep-fried a motorcycle in his family’s former garment factory that he’s co-opted into a studio and occasional exhibition space called Vicki. He is slated to exhibit his work at MASS MoCA in 2023.