Peter Max, back in Stone Harbor, ‘loves’ his ‘perfect’ style
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 11:34 am
Celebrated artist Peter Max has painted presidents, princes, dignitaries, celebrities, still lifes, landscapes and Lady Liberty. Moving beyond the canvas, Max has even embellished cruise ships, racecars and airplanes — all in his unique, one-of-a-kind style.
Now Stone Harbor’s Ocean Galleries will present the artist’s work in the exhibit “Peter Max Celebrates America the Beautiful,” 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Monday, July 1 to 4. As a bonus, Max will be at the gallery to sign purchased artwork from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 2, during which time a public reception will be held in his honor; and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 3.
Max has a long history with Ocean Galleries, having shown his work there for more than 15 years.
“Peter has become like family to us,” says Kim Miller, owner of Ocean Galleries. “Our clientele love him. And it’s especially fun for us to watch as new generations are introduced to his timeless artwork.”
Max’s shows are unlike any other the gallery hosts, says Miller. “There is an energy and a rock ’n’ roll atmosphere that make the exhibition an exciting experience, whether you are viewing his artwork for the first time or back again to see what new masterpieces he has created.”
An illustrious career
Max’s career as a commercial artist and painter spans decades and continents.
Having spent his first 10 years in China, Max has also lived in Tibet, Paris and Israel before finally making his home in New York City. Naturally, all of these places influenced his creativity, but they all merged together to create the style that is uniquely his, says Max.
“Living in all these places was unbelievable,” he says. “My style evolved to become the style, and I can’t say which place had an effect on it. I don’t know where my style began, but it became very permanent.”
Psychedelic illustrations; a bright, bold, basic color palette; and flamboyant brushstrokes typify the “Peter Max style.”
Studio is a playground
When asked if he ever had a creative challenge, Max quickly replies: “No. I’m always creative. I’ve hardly ever had a roadblock, and if I did, I got over it in a minute. My style is always there. I love it. It’s always perfect for me.”
And his style has been ideal for celebrities and dignities, many of whom Max has painted. Among dignitaries, he painted U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Prince Rainier, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher and the Dalai Lama.
Of these, the Dalai Lama had a profound effect on him. “Meeting the Dalai Lama was a turning point for me. It was a highlight,” Max says. “I’m a very spiritual man, and meeting him was just such an honor.”
Max is a pupil of hard work. He is in his studio every day “from morning until night.” But he doesn’t consider the studio work. Rather, “It’s my playground,” he says.
As for his legacy, Max is simply happy to take one day at a time. “I just love what I do,” he says. “Every single day is a hit for me. I just do it and I love it from day to day.”
PETER MAX CELEBRATES AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.Friday through Monday, July 1 to 4. Max will be at the gallery to sign purchased artwork from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 2, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 3.
Where: Ocean Galleries, 9618 Third Ave, Stone Harbor
How much: Free to enter; artwork varies in price.