That box we want to check, that passion project we need to take a stab at, that simple task that should have been easy enough to get done by now. "Let's get cooking" we tell ourselves, yet our passion project ingredients are still at the store. Ok, so generally speaking, I’ve never been much of a procrastinator, but some things get away from all of us. At this point in time, a combination of the current world situation and my professional situation seem to be pushing me to fervently turn the knob clockwise on projects I’ve had on the back burner.
Light it up!
Let’s begin by addressing the unicorn in the room…we are not promised tomorrow!
Reason enough to get at it, right? If you knew you had one year left as a healthy and capable human, would you get to your uncompleted projects? Would it make a difference if you knew that every action you take from here on forward is a step towards finalizing your legacy? Personally I take this scenario literally, except instead of a year, it's pretty much every day. Is this healthy? I don't know, but I do know that I have much left to create, and every day that passes is one less day for me paint my artistic legacy. Ok, enough of Azrael staring me in the face and saying "ticktock"—let’s explore beyond that…
When I was little I loved to draw and I would constantly ask people “what should I draw?” in a desperate attempt for guidance. This is not uncommon for youth as finding our own voice is often a difficult task and we look to others for the right words, thoughts, and actions when we are starting out. A substantial portion of my drawings that comprised my collection as a youth were house plans complete with floor plans and details of every lavish room. My dreams have changed over time, but my passion for creation has not. With or without the input of others, I kept drawing, painting, sculpting and crafting. At the time this was a fierce attempt to create as much as possible. What it turned into was epic practice for a future body of work.
Times have changed. I am now active with 7 categories of work in addition to the custom pieces I’m often commissioned for. I don’t really take separate time for practice, as I consider it built in to the pieces I create everyday. The goal is no longer to develop a body of work, as that comes with the territory of being a working artist. I no longer ask people “what should I draw (or paint)”. The questions I ask now are focused more on the substance of a particular piece. As I include more diversity in my work, I discuss the imagery with those people I’m representing. Now more than ever I do research for my work, and while it can be very time consuming, I find it fun! I’m a dork like that…I love history, especially LGBTQ history, women’s history, black history, and the place of ART in history, particularly art that represents the aforementioned histories.
“Vogue”, for example, is so much more than people dancing, it’s a celebration of the LGBTQ community, dance culture, ball culture…a celebration of gender and race, creativity, and body positivity. For this piece I pulled from years of research of underground ball culture and still asked questions of people I know in related communities not for them to necessarily tell me what to paint, but to hear the words they responded with. Those words lit the way, not only as a guide for my work, but as an ignition to get this vehicle started—to get this celebratory visual story out there for people to see.
With so much energy put into this piece, completing it was a triumph. I love having such triumphs to look forward to. Starting a visual story is simple enough, pulling my ideas from the mental side drawer and laying them out, exposed and ready for creation. Progress on each visual story is always fun as I often catalogue my work along the way while I look forward to that final moment when I sign a piece and consider it complete. In a world where instant satisfaction reigns supreme, completing a painting is anything but instant, but I believe that is what makes it so satisfying. Over time, reasons for the prolific nature of my work have changed, but speaking as 2020 Peter, I spend so much time cranking away in my studio because I want these stories to be told, and what better way than with powerful visuals!
Even in my personal life (to the extent life currently allows for it) when I don’t have the drive to get through a particular task on a particular day I try and relate said task to completing one of my visual stories…
This room is a mess. I need to re-organize, clean, paint, make it look fabulous. It’s way too much. I don’t have time for this! Ok calm down. What can I start with that will get me excited to fix up this room? Find the things that make me happy…my favorite things that will inspire the design of this room.
I love this gay bull.
Ok, I've chosen to design the room around Antoni el Toro. That took 3 seconds, and although I have hours worth of work to do to make this room presentable, I’m now excited! I actually want to do this… sleep be damned!
Ok, so maybe you don’t own a gay bull, but starting with what I love...that’s the way I think with many of my efforts, from the mundane to the fabulously artistic. There is an art to loving what you do and if you can scout out a way to love doing more than what fits comfortably into your day, that's when the rewarding nature of completing a task really shines!
In addition to goals met by completing individual pieces of art, completing setup for an exhibit is often a huge triumph as well. Each art show has hours of planning behind it, as I need to take many factors into consideration like mood, arrangement, price points…all the things that go into curating a Thaddeus Art display. This year in particular, the planning behind my Holiday Show is fierce as it is my only major show of 2020. Since August I’ve been creating hand painted items that make up the unique collection of work that is only seen once a year. Between hand painted ornaments, wrapping paper, wine bags, magnets, jewelry, and other gift items, I’m able to maintain interest in creating these pieces because they are a new and varied collection. I get to bounce back and forth between different mediums…most of which are not mediums I work with the rest of the year. And maybe I take a break to clear my head and walk around my work space on my hands for a bit…who doesn’t?! This collection of gift items is then paired with a house full of original art and giclee prints to create the full Thaddeus Art gift and gallery experience.
It’s a lot. Being an artist is a lot. 2020 has been especially rough in finding that spark to light my front burner, spending the year knowing that most of what I’ve been creating won’t result in a paycheck for quite a while. Reusing old supplies, getting the most out of new ones, painting over old paintings, trying to keep upbeat and exude the forward looking messages that give heart to my work…there’s a lot to think about every day in my studio. If I looked at everything I create and every show I curate as a whole, I’m not sure I could find the energy to get it done. Instead of tackling it all at once, I embrace passion as it strikes me, from project to project, from show to show, attaining the ability to look back on what I’ve done and say, “wow…I’ve accomplished a lot, and what I’ve accomplished is fabulous.”
Getting fabulous sh*t done. I'm queer for it.
As an acrylic painter, I use my soft bristle brushes to tell a story of love and pride in vivid, contrasting colors and strong whimsical line work. I portray a love for life and the magnificent creations this world has to offer, and love of the diverse array of people that occupy our spaces and the relationships they enter into. In my work I celebrate pride in the communities we come from and live in, and pride in ourselves, embracing who we are in bold fashion.