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Artist Kevin Peterson Shares His Fascination with Graffiti and How Optimism Informs His Paintings

August 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert spoke with Kevin Peterson via email in August 2020. Shown above is "Reign," oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches. Grace: Where are you based currently? How has COVID-19 affected your work? What’s a typical day like for you? Kevin: I'm in Houston, Texas. So, I've been working on my next show for about the past seven months. That mostly consists of me sitting in a room by myself painting all day long. I'm always fairly isolated. Since this thing hit, my work life has been pretty much the same. The big difference is I…

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Ruled by Children, Kevin Peterson’s Paintings Find Hope Among Environmental Collapse

September 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

Houston-based artist Kevin Peterson (previously) continues to translate the uncertainty of today's world into dystopian works with equal amounts despair and optimism. Scenes brimming with waste material and urban decay find boundless confidence and life in children, who unflinchingly nuzzle up to polar bears or balance atop a crumbling brick wall. Offering hope in the face of climate catastrophe and economic collapse, Peterson's oil paintings are deeply personal, sometimes reflecting his own son and daughter as subjects.…

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Hyperrealistic Paintings of Children and Animals Exploring Urban Remains by Kevin Peterson

June 8, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

Hyperrealist painter Kevin Peterson paints fairytale-like interactions of children and wolves, birds, and bears in scenes much different than the pastoral worlds of storybooks. Instead Peterson places the unlikely packs in distressed cities filled with decaying buildings and urban detritus. Despite the worn surroundings, the young girls in the paintings maintain a sense of innocence while they bravely explore the streets with their powerful compatriots. "My work is about the varied journeys that we take through life," explains Peterson in his artist statement. "It's about growing up and living in a world that is broken. These paintings are about trauma,…

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Interview: Kevin Peterson Shares His Fascination with Graffiti and How Optimism Informs His Paintings

August 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

Known for his scenes of urban decay, artist Kevin Peterson (previously) is profoundly optimistic, a vision he shares in a recent interview with managing editor Grace Ebert. The Houston-based artist often positions lone children alongside wild animals, an inter-species mix that offers an escape from the destruction and hope for the imagined future. I suppose the kids in my paintings are a reflection of a hope that I have that people will learn from past mistakes and face the future with…

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Children and Animals Commune Within Neglected Landscapes in New Paintings by Kevin Peterson

February 28, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

For several years artist Kevin Peterson (previously) has created paintings that occupy the same fictionalized world. His imagined environments are occupied by children and animals— individuals band together as they navigate depleted urban environments. The works pair the innocence of its subjects against a broken and crumbling world, addressing the various journeys we each take through life. Recently, Peterson has begun to paint just the animals in these scenes, rather than pairing them exclusively with children. "In my head, it's the same world," the Houston-based painter tells Colossal, "the animals and kids just haven't met up yet. Maybe they're searching…

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Art

Young Children Accompanied by Wildlife Take a Stance Among Urban Decay in Paintings by Kevin Peterson

March 2, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Kevin Peterson (previously) continues to paint detailed tableaux of young children and animals juxtaposed against dystopian urban environments. Solo kids, accompanied only by wild allies of polar bears, lions, and raccoons, are at the center of each painting surrounded by abandoned, decaying buildings. Whereas his earlier paintings showed the children striding forward and exploring, more recently his young subjects have been paused, seeming to be in moments of reflection or defiance. Peterson studied fine art alongside psychology in college and his varied career included a graduate degree in social work and a job as a corrections officer before he returned…

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