Tuesday, January 14, 2014


 "Inflatable Lexus Gorilla" 12x14 inches, pastel

In Exile and the Kingdom, Albert Camus describes a poor Parisian painter, with barely enough money to feed his family, lying on his death bed. The artist’s latest, and possibly last work is a blank canvas holding just one small, illegible word. His best friend suspects the word is one of three possibilities – solitary, solidary, or solidarity.

"Mercedes Duo" 20x11 inches, pastel

Solitary points to the artist’s need to retreat from society in order to find inner clarity so he can create. Solidary signifies living in the marketplace. Solidarity means identifying with the masses. All essential ingredients if the artist is to create works grounded in significance to his age, yet lofty enough to speak to future generations. But how does one reach such heights? Inspiration.

"Inflated Gorilla" (Typhoeus) 14x18 inches, oil on canvas 

This series embodies the idea of inspiration. The word Inspiration is from the Greek word theopneustos (the-o'-pnyĆ¼-stos), literally meaning God-breathed. Full of breath, or air, these Inflatables echo Camus’ story as they loom above the marketplace (solidary) against a vast and lonely sky (solitary), beaconing to all who pass (solidarity).
"Inflated Car Dealership Panda" 18x24 inches, oil on canvas

Waking form a series of dreams about inflated objects, Peters was struck with his inspiration one particular Thursday afternoon. Already in a pensive mood with heightened awareness of his surroundings, he stopped for lunch in a crowded restaurant. There he pondered the absurdity he witnessed of people hurrying about, caught up in their daily grind. It was a surreal moment. Almost laughable. Upon leaving, he met his next muse.

"Gorilla Nocturne" 8x14 inches, pastel

Nearly unnoticed before, an inflated gorilla atop a car dealership cried out against the dying light. This engorged form of the inflatable gorilla became a symbol for Peters. A symbol of arousal stirring inspiration deep inside. From his desire to create works full of substance, he found subjects full of no substance at all, just air – the very breath of God.

"Monster Savings" 14x11 inches, pastel

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Tony Peters' Clean Bright Roads" by Stephen Jared

I recently finished a really great interview with Stephen Jared
that can be seen on his website by clicking here...

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"Motel Pool Cleaner" exhibited at the USC Fisher Museum

I am pleased to announce that my painting "Motel Pool Cleaner"  (16 x 24 inches, oil on canvas) is currently exhibited at the California Art Club's 102nd Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the USC Fisher Museum of Art, June 2nd -23rd.
USC Fisher Museum of Art
823 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Friday, May 31, 2013

"Odyssey" and "Sixth Street Bridge"

"Odyssey" 17x20 inches, oil on canvas.

"Sixth Street Bridge" 12x16 inches, oil on canvas.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Corvette on Sunset

"Corvette on Sunset" 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas. By Tony Peters, 2013
I have long had the goal/wish/dream of exhibiting at the Los Angeles Art Show at the LA Convention Center. Finally, my new gallery (ALFA) exhibited my work there in January. I finished this new painting "Corvette on Sunset" just in time for the show.
I have been painting Hollywood since the mid 1990's when I moved to LA to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I was barely 20 years old, LA and Hollywood were so different from where I was from, San Diego seemed homogeneous in comparison. My new home was rich with hauntingly familiar scenes from half remembered movie backdrops, film history, and mid-century architecture. Before the days of digital or camera-phones, I was already a shutter bug, a Yashica Electro 35mm camera was my constant companion.
"The Whiskey A-Go-Go" 36 x 36 inches, oil on canvas. By Tony Peters 1999.
In my explorations I discovered Sunset Strip, Tower Records, The Whiskey a-Go-Go, and a hundred other places... the first paintings I ever exhibited reflected my love for Hollywood and LA architecture, and it has been my subject ever since.
In my later research, I discovered a series of Ed Ruscha photos of Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Strip that documented all these places too. The above Ruscha photo shows Filthy McNasty's, before it was the Viper Room. Turner's Liquor is still there and looks the same today. This is also the backdrop in my painting, "Corvette on Sunset".

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grauman's Chinese Theater

If you are anywhere even remotely close to the Southern California area this week/weekend (January 24 to 27, 2013) you really need to drop what you're doing and go to the Los Angeles Art Show. It's one of the most important annual art events every year, always my favorite, and it's huge. There are undoubtedly incredible treasures to see every time I've gone, paintings by many of my favorite artists, traditional to contemporary. I feel very honored that American Legacy Fine Art will have a booth there with four of my paintings.

My new painting (above) will be included at the show, it's called "Grauman's Chinese Theater" 24 x 30 inches, oil on canvas. I'm also working on another new piece that isn't finished yet... it will be unveiled at the show.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Exhibition opening November 10th at American Legacy Fine Art in Pasadena

"Tail O' the Pup" 10 x 12 inches, oil on canvas.

"Avenue 26 Bridge, 110 Freeway" 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas
These new paintings and more will be in the upcoming exchbition, “Eclectic L.A. – Four Perspectives" November 10 – December 8.  at American Legacy Fine Art in Pasadena. Also in the show is artwork by Scott W. Prior, Alexander Orlov, and Eric Merrell.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Belmont Park Roller Coaster, Mission Beach

This is one of the larger paintings I've done, 36 x 84 inches, oil on canvas. I think I'm calling it "Belmont Park, Mission Beach". It was a private commission for a client in La Jolla, he used to drive the yellow 1972 Malibu convertible back in the day.

The painting took several months to complete. I started by scouting out locations along the San Diego coastline. I began with a couple of smaller drawings of potential compositions. My client primarily wanted the yellow convertible depicted with his family, ideally in a beach neighborhood. We actually tracked down the original car and used it for a photo shoot. But the current owner painted it red, so I used a model of a yellow car to get the color and light to match.

When we settled on Mission Beach as the landscape, I had reservations about choosing the complex scaffolding of the rollercoaster as part of my subject matter. I like how it turned out though, and I enlarged the actual scale of the roller coaster to give it the larger than life effect of memories long ago.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bruin Theater Nocturne

I've been working for several months on a new commission, I'll post it here soon. Meanwhile, this is small 12 x 12 inch painting, "Bruin Theater Nocturne".

The Bruin Theater is located in Westwood Village, close to the UCLA campus. It's an old Art Deco Theater and shows current films, but I chose Dr. Strangelove for the marquee since I had recently just seen it for the first time. I've been thinking a lot about the subject of anxiety, and I enjoyed Kubrick's way of presenting the anxiety of nuclear war in such a humorous way in Dr. Strangelove.

I really wanted to paint this place at night to show off the neon lights, and something about the wet rainy pavement reflecting the light felt symbolic of the unconscious. Like the way dreams are themselves like movies within our minds as we sleep.

Monday, February 20, 2012

March 2012 Southwest Art Magazine... feature article

Southwest Art Magazine just came out with their new March issue... there's a feature article in there about my artwork called "Tony Peters - More Than a Pretty Picture".

Here's my bio photo, shot by my friend Clarence Legaspi in the back seat of a 66 Mustang.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Richard Bunkall Exhibition

Working with Richard Bunkall  was a life transforming experience. As a student at Art Center, and an assistant at the Mendenhall Gallery, I was already immersed in the mechanics of painting. Witnessing at first-hand, this master in his dying efforts as an artist... rocked me to the core.

Recently, I was interviewed by Southwest Art Magazine for an article about my work. I was asked also to reflect on my time working with Richard Bunkall, they are also doing an article on his upcoming exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

I was in my early 20's during the time (1997 to 1999). Richard was at the peak of his mastery. His facility with the brush was, in my opinion, unmatched. Those images are heavy, the subjects monumental.  To be in front of his paintings, I felt humbled, and you sympathize with his struggle to make them. ... they were sacred objects to me. As I'm sure they were to many viewers as well.

When I first met Richard in 1997, he was already very ill and needed a lot of help. He was no longer teaching, ALS had taken away his ability to drive, walk, or even breath on his own. It was amazing that he could physically even hold a paint brush... he actually couldn't, so he strapped one to his hand, because he could only still move a couple of fingers. His right arm was no longer strong enough to lift his hand, so he lifted it with the aid of his left. He could no longer stand, and worked seated in a motorized wheelchair/scooter. Since he couldn't reach the top of the huge canvases to paint, he would ask to have it turned upside down... yes, he actually painted upside down at times.

I was impressed with how much he fought with a painting. He would sometimes spend weeks on an area of a painting, it would look awesome. Then I would come to the studio one morning to see he'd painted over a large section of it! Building up a beautiful impasto, with lost and found ghost images. He said that his favorite paintings to look at showed some struggle.

I remember visiting Richard one day to take one of his paintings to get photographed. Duke Ellington was playing on the stereo. He asked me how my own painting was coming along in school. I showed him one of my freeway paintings, he gave me a few pointers. His words were labored, he had to wait for his respirator to fill his lungs with air. There he was on his death bed, and he was asking how I was doing! I left there that day amazed, and placed his large canvas in the back of my van. For some reason, whenever I would remove a painting from his studio to get photographed, framed, or to hang at the gallery... it would ALWAYS mysteriously rain. Then a Stevie Ray Vaughn song came on the radio as I drove... "The sky is crying, can't you see the tears rolling down the street."

**The picture below is of me, circa 1999, moving one of Bunkalls paintings in the back of my van for the gallery.

I was impressed with how Richard was determined to spend the last efforts of his life immersed in his work. He feverishly poured it all into the paintings. He spent his dying efforts still seeing his vision through, till the end. Finally, when we hung the final show at Mendenhall called "A Movable Feast", and his work was finished, he soon passed away on May 12, 1999. The show was still hanging, it wasn't even over yet. But he had reached his goal.

** The photo above was taken of me in Richard Bunkall's studio, along with Michael Murphy who I worked with at the Mendenhall Gallery.

My life was changed forever. I knew I had to be a painter, nothing else would do. I was given the gift of absolute certainty that I was on the right path. For all of us, each day is a step closer to our last. My wish is that I too will be content working through my struggles till the end, putting them onto canvas with that kind of eloquence.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Light and Shadow, Arroyo Freeway

This new painting is called "Light and Shadow, Arroyo Freeway", 12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas. I have always enjoyed painting the freeways, particularly the 110 on the way to Pasadena, where I went to Art Center College of Design. You can see other pieces I painted of the Arroyo Freeway by clicking here and another one here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coronado Sunset

This is "Coronado Sunset" 12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas. I painted it as a color study for a larger commissioned painting I'm working on, depicting a car on the road... I don't think this view would work, however, the sunset would compete with the car. But I still like the painting. I made several trips back and forth across the Coronado Bridge at different times of day, shooting photos. The Hotel Del Coronado can be made out on the left. The high key color palette was an experiment, making for a light and airy feel (the color is hard to see with this photo).

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Adams Avenue Liquor

"Adams Avenue Liquor" 12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas.

I have always been impressed by the Ashcan painters, as well as other artists of their circle and influence. John Sloan, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Reginald Marsh, and of course Hopper. From a technical point of view, I especially enjoy the gritty color and vigorous brushwork. Depicting figures in a landscape is an exciting challenge to me, and I'm interested to look at how they pull it off. And they did some great night paintings, nocturnes have always fascinated me. They are a challenge to paint. And there's a mood that a night-time urban scene evokes for me... something nefarious. Psychologically, the shadow persona sometimes emerges after dark.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ford Falcon Futura, San Diego Freeway

This new painting is called "Ford Falcon Futura, San Diego Freeway", 16 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, framed.