I found Pete’s work online, and the first few pictures I saw were really creepy. Since creepy is my style, I kept looking. The more I looked, the more I was entranced by the amount of different emotions conveyed in his art, and all the different mediums I saw employed in his work. I knew I had to talk to this guy. As it turned out, he had a lot to say:
I have always gotten excited about any kind of art as a kid, from just simple arts and crafts to junk yard sculptures…it was always a fascinating thing to watch someone like Bob Ross create mind blowing art where it had just a moment ago not existed…. I was in the gifted art program at school and I later went on to study commercial art.
I’ve carved soaps, walking sticks, pipes, even worked with chainsaw carvings. I’ve sculpted clay, (store bought and creek clay) When I paint, I prefer acrylic but have worked with others like water and making my own pigments. As For styles, I like them all.
“The Next Thing”
I think the reason that I’m so well rounded an artist is because the “next thing” continually fascinates me. I’m like most of what I’ve tried, but I’ve never taken the time to really focus on one style. I don’t believe that art works like that and I have no idea how other artists can focus so closely on one style. I honestly don’t believe that I have what one could call a “distinct style.”
I’ve done fantasy, cubism, abstract, caricature, portraiture, buildings, land, sea and dreamscapes. Feather pen ink wash, cross hatch, lead wash, tattoo designs, small wall murals in homes, stipple, calligraphy, wildlife portraits, you name it I’ve probably tried it. I love to create digitally, too, and I like to experiment with different editing apps but they seem limited.
“Presqueisle Pete” I have sold many pieces over the years, and I don’t remember one being more special – all of them are a little piece of me and hard to let go of, thought the look of appreciation on the faces of those that truly love the piece they are getting is priceless. It’s great to know that they hang then in their homes and share it for years to come.
The first time I carved a bear’s head with a chainsaw I was on break from cutting trees with my wife and a friend. I just up and tried it. Just a head, nothing detailed or special and I took it home with me. Shortly after I was having a yard sale in our first home (right by the Presque Isle Superette convenience store, from which later coined the name Presqueisle Pete) and I put the carving out on a whim. To my surprise just moments after putting it out some crazy guy with his while family on the car made a U-turn in a terrible intersection to come look at it. He bought it, and I only charged like thirty dollars – but that sparked a new era for me. I sold maybe twenty-six carvings over that season and some of the next at the Presque Isle Superette…all different. I carved a sign for the store’s owner and he helped me out tremendously.
I was a lonely kid, art was my escape hatch and I used it heavily. I was incarcerated for four years when I was eighteen, gave me more time to really just focus on it. I made a lot of progress. I’ve also used my art to stay out of trouble since, but that defiantly helped open my eyes to the world…the real world…
In 2011, We lost our eldest daughter, Ashley. I quit arting all together for a bit, but when I picked up my paints it’s like I got ten times better without trying. I believe that over time, with just observation and deep inflection something had clicked something in my brain. I see things differently yet again and while I enjoy growing as an artist, I do not enjoy the events that surprise us into changing how we see things. I do appreciate these pains as a necessary evil to evolve mentally and artistically.
Plans? I hope to eventually have the opportunity to open up my own studio of arts. Probably based around chainsaw carving but not limited to it. Someday I want to have the proper tools and training to really hone my skills…to make a real name for my family…something worthy.
It’s already worthy, Pete. No question about it.
You can find Pete and more of his art at Presqueisle Pete’s local art gathering.