Peter, the third of ten children, originally from small towns in southern Wisconsin, was convinced from a very early age that art was his obsession and drew his way through grade school and high school. He landed in Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art and the Chicago Art Institute. Although Peter’s plan was to have a career in fine art, that quickly changed after completing four years of art school – paying bills doing caricatures on the street, parties or whatever all the while. He realized that he loved doing faces and people – and people loved being drawn.
Welcome commercial art world and so long to “fine art” – whatever that meant to Peter. He has spent many years doing editorial drawings for many publications, including Esquire, Playboy, Life Magazine and Los Angeles Times. But back in 1972 during a very rich political time period, Peter created Politicards, 54 even-handed caricatures in a deck of playing cards. 1,000,000 decks later he has continued to create these big headed people with little kid bodies and has just as much fun as always.
“The only difference from drawing today compared to drawing as a little kid is I wear glasses and don’t have to worry about doing my homework”, says Peter. Besides his Politicards, he’s also done licensed cards of the NBA and NASCAR – and was even chosen as the official caricaturist of the NFL. Peter says, “It was fun doing all the licensed cards but they all have strict approval processes which I don’t have to deal with on my own Politicards art.” As for his current technique Peter explains, “Virtually all of my earlier illustrations and caricature art was executed using charcoal as the medium and although I work almost exclusively in watercolor, charcoal was a very satisfying medium and allowed me the freedom to incorporate line with tone using the smearing of charcoal with my fingers instead of the brushwork available through watercolor. Unfortunately charcoal is by nature a messy process and color became much more in demand.” It is hoped you enjoy the sampling of Peter’s earlier charcoal work included here, as well as his more recent realistic portraits.