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 Tony Peters  (1976 - )

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Lived/Active: California/New York/Minnesota      Known for: landscape, urban scenes

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Tony Peters
An example of work by Tony Peters
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
In 1996, when he was age 21, Tony Peters traveled from his home in suburban San Diego to Pasadena where he enrolled in the Art Center College of Design and began a career as a painter of urban Los Angeles scenes that reflect his interest in the architecture and history of that community. Some of the first scenes he saw in the City of Angels are among his favorite painting subjects todaythe train yards, Seventh Street scenes, and the tattered corners of downtown Los Angeles.

Peters describes his painting style as neoclassicism and says: "I like to look at Art Deco buildings and old power lines, not for nostalgia's sake, but rather to portray them in the tradition of landscape painting, as part of a journal of places I've been, and the memories and moods I experienced while there."

In art school he was an assistant at the now defunct Mendenhall Gallery in Pasadena, where his job included making frequent deliveries around the city. It was during his gallery stint that the owner gave him an assignment that influenced his art and changed his life.

In 1997 the gallery owner asked him to assist the artist Richard Bunkall , who was dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. He helped Bunkall prepare for what would be his last two gallery shows in spring 1998 and 1999. "Richard had little strength and could paint less and less often," Peters recalls. "There was no strength in his right arm, but his right hand still had two mobile fingers, so he could slightly but masterfully move his brush with the help of a brace."

Since Bunkall was unable to reach the top of his monumental canvases, Peters would turn them upside down on the easel so he could continue working on them. "I could see how much these paintings mattered to him," Peters says, "They were his dying statement". Later, when Bunkall was finished, Peters would load the paintings into his truck and drive them to the gallery. "It would always rain, and it seemed to me at the time like the sky was crying," Peters recalls.

Once at the gallery he would contemplate Bunkall's somber renderings of huge ships, planes, and trains for hours. For many viewers including Peters, the works evoked a journey through life and time. The canvases were sometimes punctuated with references to literary sources such as Moby Dick, The Odyssey, and Hamlet. "It was a spiritual experience, and I looked at the paintings like they were holy relics," he says. "I also kept thinking, here was this man at the end of his career and here I was a the beginning of mine. At the time he was 44 and I was 22. I saw a glimpse of the years ahead for me and thought, Richard has been working at this for 22 years and this is the artistic conclusion he has come to. Where am I going? I saw that I had my work cut out for me, but I also saw that a lofty goal was attainable."

Today Peters keeps a relief sculpture by Bunkall, who died in 1999, on a shelf near his easel. The dominant feature in his studio, though, is an L-shaped, 17-foot-long bookshelf packed with art books. Several paintings by Ray Turner, a favorite teacher at the Art Center, adorn the walls. Every available surface in the room is filled with brushes, paints, and artifacts.

His thinking about art has coalesced into two separate pathways over the past five years, Peters says. On the one hand he sees creating paintings as very much about hard work and putting ideas into action. At the same time, he views creation as a spiritual experience. "Painting has become a doorway that has opened my eyes to a whole spiritual way of looking at things," he says. "Painting at its best does that." Peters plans to travel down both roads on his artistic journey in the years ahead. And his goals for the future are simple: "I want to express my culture and my time," he says.


Exhibition Catalogue, California Art Club 92nd Annual Gold Medal Exhibition , Pasadena

Museum of History, Pasadena, CA, p. 104
"A Sense of Awe ", Southwest Art, February 2002, p. 100.

"Realism Today, 21 Under 31 ", Southwest Art, September 2001, p. 114.

"California Best Of The West ",

Southwest Art , January 2001, p. 52

Exhibition Catalogue, The Society of Illustrators Annual 2000 Scholarship Competition

-Graduate, Art Center College of Design,-Pasadena, California, August 2000

-Awarded 1996 Art Center Scholarship
-Studio Assistant to Mark Ryden , 2000
-Studio Assistant to Ray Turner, 1999
-Studio Assistant to Richard Bunkall , 1999


2003 "Coast to Coast ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

2002 " New Directions ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"Artists for the New Century ", The Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington,
Vermont (September)

"California Art Club 92nd Annual Gold Medal Exhibition ", Pasadena Museum
of History, Pasadena, CA

"John Brosio / Tony Peters ", two person exhibition, Tirage Gallery, Pasadena,

2001 " Down From Center ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"Suitcase & Palette ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"The Urban Landscape ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"Dog Days ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"En Plein Air ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

2000 " Society of Illustrators, Los Angeles ", Annual Exhibition, Mendenhall Gallery,
Pasadena, California

"Views From Center ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"The Figure ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"Art In The Parks ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

"The Drawing Show" , Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, CA

New York Society of Illustrators, Annual Exhibition , New York, New York

"1999 Holiday Salon ", Tirage Gallery, Pasadena, California

1994 " Young Art 94 ", San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California

Submitted by Steven J Hultgren, representative of the artist, October 2003

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