I have minuscule ability as a visual artist. So much so, that I used to get super jealous when I was in school and I would be doodling a flower or a 3 dimensional cube and look over and see my classmate sketching the Mona Lisa. One of those friends that I used to be jealous of has grown up to become a preeminent visual artist. This is the Berkshire’s very own, Peter Gordon. Peter has a Masters in Fine Arts, has taught fine art on the collegiate level, and has had exhibits all over the country and as far away as Romania. He is a lover of the natural world and has settled back in the Berkshires as it provides him with a plethora of natural inspiration.
Work: “On Thin Ice”
His work “is intended to remind people that, as users of natural resources, goods and services, we impact the environment. He contrasts images of natural and manmade elements to emphasize the fragility of the ecosystem in the context of modern society. The enigmatic, atmospheric paintings portray scenes in which a black bear, unable to hibernate, roams for food on a sunny, winter morning. Another depicts a lonely ice fishing hole, abandoned after a quiet day.”
This week marks the last week of his exhibit at the Berkshire Museum.
I had the chance to exchange a few emails and ask the artist some questions. Here is the Q and A session I had with Peter.
Q: How long have you considered yourself an artist and what drew you to art as a child?
A: My parents got me doing art early on, and I’ve been drawing all my life. At 5, I was into a drawing instruction TV show, called Captain Bob. He’d show you how to draw boats and animals, step-by-step. As kids, we would draw imaginary characters, airplanes, cars, cities, boats, missiles…all kinds of stuff, just as a way to hang out and compare our drawings. I took to it in school and kept at it.
Q: What are your main inspirations? What are your main inspirations in the Berkshires?
A: I enjoy drawing from nature and studying how light changes the look of our surroundings. Seeing other artwork, and studying art history is really helpful too.
As for the Berkshires, I’d have to say the weather, forests, hills, mountains, lakes, rivers, streams and animals we have, are everything. The Berkshires can’t be beat.
Q: Do you hope to get across any concepts or social ideas with your work?
A: Since about 2008, I’ve been making collages, paintings and sculptural installations about our impact on nature and animals. My concerns about land use and pollution come through in my work. It all stems from my appreciation of nature.
Q: What do you hope that people that view your art walk away with?
A: I hope they remember it and think about it. I hope my enjoyment making art comes across.
Q: Do you feel that using man made items is a form of consumption and adds to the manufacture of them?
Q: How would you define or talk about your creative process?
A: I like to build up, or combine many steps, whatever kind they are, to arrive at a finished piece. By layering, or arranging different ideas, new ideas grow and make the process interesting. It’s fun to consider materials and processes, to make new forms.
Q: Do you typically have a concept in mind and work from there or do you start without much thought and let the inspiration and work guide you?
A: I have a result in mind, and how I get there varies. My pieces end up differently than I imagine them. Trying to understand that separation, between mental and physical reality, is a constant push.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: Until it’s finished, I continually see things to change.
Q: Do you have plans for any new big works coming up?
A: I’m going focus on landscapes from the Berkshires. I’ll do drawings and paintings of places throughout the county to study them in different lighting and weather conditions.
Q: Was “Funk Me” your greatest musical masterpiece?
A: I give credit to all the guys in Gadams Equation for that one. It’s a big a one.
Click here for information about his exhibition at the Berkshire Museum.
Also, check out Peter’s website here.