What is your name: Peter Grzymkowski
Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist:
I’ve been drawing since I was born – so yea, I’d say I’m a self-taught artist. I’ve never had any formal training, though I’ve been honing my creative skills for years; I learned the most in my time working for "The Submission", a student-run, on-campus art journal. I attended school full-time up at Purchase College in Westchester for five years, but I was there for screenwriting, in the Theatre Arts & Film Conservatory. The program wasn’t what I was looking for, so I ended up pursuing Liberal Studies instead.
What is the style of your pieces:
My artistic style is pretty free-form – yeah, maybe fluid is a better word here. Like a river, my craft is shaped by the route that it takes. Every little rock, every little grain of sand helps shape each piece – with some of my projects taking up to a few weeks, maybe even months to complete. It doesn’t matter to me though – in the end, as long as the piece gets done, I’m satisfied.
What is the medium in which you work:
I work in all mediums, my favorite being simple pencil and pen illustration. One of my high school friends actually donated his old acrylic paint set to me back at the beginning of the year, so I’ve been fooling around with those a little bit. A few days ago I rediscovered an old watercolor pencil set I’ve had since I was seven, so I’ve been working with that a lot lately.
What started you on your path as an artist:
My creative path actually began with my internship at "The Submission", during my junior year at Purchase College. I didn’t really know anyone outside of the group of friends I made in freshman year, so I was hoping to meet some new people while earning some extra credits on the side. I ended up loving the work, and wishing I could do it for a living – wouldn’t that be something, right?
With time, I started really asking myself - "Why shouldn’t you? What’s stopping you?" and I eventually hit a nerve. The short answer: nothing. So, I started taking my artwork more seriously. I began submitting to local zines, online art journals and with time I found myself becoming more and more ambitious.
What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life:
Art has brought me a defined, tangible sense of purpose, as well as a means of building my own legacy. We never really consider how finite everything is on this planet, and more often than not - we take it for granted. I for one, refuse to be forgotten because I know what I’m capable of, and how much I have to offer. I want to be remembered one day, not just for my character – but also for my work, and the lives I’ve touched through it. Who knows, maybe you’ll be reading about me in a textbook someday – or, maybe the back of the Yellow Pages…
What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:
Apparel design, definitely. I’ve tried my hand at it with great success, but I feel that my current financial situation is keeping me from accomplishing the things that I ultimately want to do. I’m hoping that with time, I’ll be earning enough of a living that I can afford to sponsor some more apparel designs – but then again who knows, I don’t know what I’ll be up to in a few years from now.
What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
The most frustrating part of being an artist is not being in control of when and how I gain my inspiration. There’ll be some days where I wake up with a fresh new idea or a brave new concept, and instead of allocating enough time to make it happen, I have to go to work or some other prior commitment just so I can pay the bills and stock my fridge. Living off ones art definitely ain’t easy. And dating? pfft, I’ve already got a girlfriend - her name’s Sallie Mae. She used to put out back when we first met, but now all she wants is my money…and my soul.
What is your favorite sandwich of all time:
I’m pretty easy to please – give me a chicken sandwich, with honey mustard, tomato, lettuce and onion and I’m happy. Throw in some kettle cooked chips on the side, maybe a tall glass of sweet iced tea and we’re good to go.
Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they:
This years brought about a lot of change in my creative voice – specifically, I’ve gotten more courageous and outgoing in terms of content/subject matter. I’ve become incredibly fed up with all the filtering and censorship that comes with being a commercial artist, so I’m hoping to push myself as well as my work, into new and uncharted territory. I’m looking to make waves, not ripples – and you just can’t do that painting landscapes and portraits anymore.
Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:
As I mentioned in a previous interview I did with ArtsyShark.com, I could probably name at least a dozen different artists that I love and respect – but it always comes back to Van Gogh. The guy cut off his own ear, and gave it someone else! That level of delusion is both astounding and awe-inspiring – enough to fill one or two books at least.
Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:
I’m pretty sure my cat could care less about my art – but I don’t mind. Gypsy cat (though she does answer to kitty, cat, kit-kat and Chairman Meow) has three goals in life – to eat, sleep and shit in peace, all the days of her life.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us:
I don’t have any upcoming exhibits, but my most recent event was held at Webster Hall, April 2nd 2010. With the help of "The Art of Fashion", I was able to showcase my apparel designs in front of a massive audience, made up of other lesser-known artists who were also exhibiting their work that night. I met a lot of good people and had a couple of drinks – overall, one of the most memorable nights of my life.
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