Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eye Heart stenSOUL

The Art of Peat Wollaeger
by Stephanie Chefas

Eye Diver Hollywood 3010 by Peat Wollaeger

'Suburban dad by day and stencil graffiti artist by night' is how one of L.A. 3010's stand out artists, Peat Wollaeger describes himself. This St.Louis based artist has been making his mark on the streets for years with his raw, brightly colored stencil characters. Fortunately for us, he agreed to taking a little time out to create Eye Diver Hollywood 3010 for the Squids 2nd group show. We were so blown away by his contribution- the EYE burning hues of gold and orange and his haunting commentary of Los Angeles sliding into the Pacific in the not too distant future- we just had to know more about this soulful artist. Here Peat shares some insight into his artwork and what makes him 'tick'.

Stephanie Chefas (SC): What was your initial reaction upon hearing the theme for 'L.A. 3010'?

Peat Wollaeger (PW): I guess what LA might look like in one hundred years and sad to say Global Warming was the first thing that popped in my mind. Immediately thought of the Hollywood hills turning into Coastal Property.

SC: How do you see Los Angeles today?

PW: Smoggy...Grimey...California Dreamin'! A lot of really sick work and galleries coming out of that town.

SC: Would you tell me a little bit about your background?

PW: I started doing Graphic Design for the godfathers of Guerilla Marketing in the early 90’s for clients like Camel Cigarettes, Salem and Coca-cola. Once I saw how underhanded this world was....I left it behind and started doing my own “Guerilla art” with stencils and spray-paint.

Conan O'Brien and Peat Wollaeger

SC: Tell me about your creative process.

PW: I create images that come deep from with-in my SOUL... I create them, digitally in Photoshop/Illustrator, CUT-them out and then Spray them on many different surfaces on and off the Street. I am also a video artist and create numerous stencil videos where I show my process or become the charater that I am painting. Peep some videos here --http://vimeo.com/peat/videos

Peat in his studio

SC: What's the significance of the "eye"?

PW: The Eye represents the window to my “SOUL” and IS at the very heart of every stenSOUL piece that I spray! The eye has always been at the center of my art. One of the first paintings I created was of an eye, and is the first thing that stands out when you look at my work.

SC: As a graffiti artist, have you ever found it difficult to find the right representation?

PW: I do not consider myself a Graffiti Artist, because I feel I do not vandalize. I have respect for the places that I put up my art, and with not paint over raw brick or a property that has been taken care of. I guess I would consider my self more of a Street Artist and I always try to make my canvas look better than when I arrived.

SC: If I were to spend a day with Peat, what could I expect the day to be like?

PW: Non-stop action!

SC: What's the one thing you can not live without?

PW: My Family.

SC: The one thing you can't live with?

PW: Haters.

SC: Which artist, living or dead, has influenced you and your work the most?

PW: Undoubtedly it would be Keith Haring.
He was the first artist I saw doing street art in the 80’s and his colors and energy completely spoke to me. I did a Massive tribute to Keith at Art Basel in Miami for Primary Flight a few years back, I even dressed up like him and painted his portrait in character. ( http://vimeo.com/2280517 ) While I was in Melbourne, I notice a building that he painted was Badly faded and was up for sale and was possibly going to be torn down....so I left a message on the front gate that said “Never Forget Keith” http://www.flickr.com/photos/stensoul/2796251261/

Peat's tribute to Keith Haring

SC: What's on the horizon for Peat?

PW: This summer I am doing a massive Mural project in Beacon NY called Electric Windows with pieces by Logan Hicks, Ron English, Chris Stain, Bigfoot and more... http://www.electricwindowsbeacon.com I also have a show at Brooklyn's Mighty Tanaka Gallery with Robots will Kill and Choice Royce in September. Keep and EYE out for more stuff at stenSOUL.com

Thanks Peat! Be sure to check out Peat's art at the L.A. 3010 group show. Show runs until May 1st.

For more information and to view Peat's available artwork from the "L.A. 3010" group show, visit
WWA gallery. To learn more about Peat and his art, visit http://www.stensoul.com/.

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