Peter is a Deaf visual artist in Toronto, Ontario. In 2009, he zoomed in on one of his artworks and became curious about the wide range of colourful pixels on his computer screen. Using Photoshop as a tool, Peter went on to create large scale compositions that communicate our connection to nature. In 2020, he co-curated Deaf Interiors, an online three-month incubator and exhibition presenting six Deaf Canadian artists. His works are shown around Canada and are privately collected in Toronto, and New York.
Thanks to Peter for being our May guest artist! You can continue to support Peter by:
3 life hacks from Peter
Recently, Lindsay Fisher met online with Peter and he shared some of the challenges he faces as an artist as well as some of the joys – one of those joys is strawberry ice cream. Here are 3 life hacks she took away from their conversation:
1. On avoiding distractions and being yourself.
There’s no better time than during a global pandemic to soothe yourself with distractions and there’s no shortage of them either. When did TV get so good? The goal of the distraction is to steer us away from our inner selves.
“We get so caught up in these distractions, you miss yourself; you lose that contact with yourself. You know, as soon as you eat food, what tastes good. Your body already knows what is good. Nobody can tell you what is good.
But people get so focused and caught up and trying hard to make me ignore that, to get caught up in those distractions. If you’re really focused, if you’re paying attention to the look, the taste, the feeling for your own self and your own sensation, you need to stick with that and not start changing for other people.”
2. On calling yourself an “artist”.
Telling people I’m an artist feels loaded and uncomfortable. Just uttering the word out loud and hearing it suspended silently in the air feels rife with expectation: Am I really living up to the quality and professional status that come with being an artist? Here’s what Peter had to say:
“Just throw it out. Don’t think about being an artist. Just think about who you are.
The word ‘artist’ itself can be very confusing. It’s just how you do it, how you present it to the world, and how you find a chance to sort of self-reflect and figure that out.
Previously, I used to think that being an artist means I need to be skillful at painting portraits. When I think deeper about what I want to do, portrait does not interest me so there is no reason for me to force myself to do something that doesn’t drive me passionately.”
3. On finding spaces.
Finding creative Deaf and disability-centered spaces can be challenging, especially during a pandemic when many of us are stuck at home. It can also suck if you’re living far away from places like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver where many accessible and disability-led opportunities and spaces are known to be offered.
Platforms like Instagram can be a powerful solution for getting your work out there and making yourself known regardless of where you live.
“Previously when I was trying to contact galleries and getting them to show my work, it was just a consistent rejection so I tried to be more flexible with what I was doing.
I don’t put everything I make on Instagram. When it comes to showing my work, I have that opportunity and there’s still a reserve but I typically use Instagram for promotion as well.
Even with the rejections that I’ve seen, I’m still confident because I know what I’m producing—I know the quality of my own work.”
Buy Peter a coffee!
If you like what Peter is doing and want to support him, you can buy him a coffee! See below for options. Creative Users Projects will send your contribution to Peter after processing fees.
Buy Peter a coffee: $7
Buy Peter 3 coffees: $15
Buy Peter dinner and a movie: $30
Surprise Peter: Other
Note: As a non-profit, we’re unable to issue tax receipts for donations. Creative Users Projects will collect your donation on behalf of guest artists in the program. 100% of your donation, minus PayPal processing fees, will go directly to the artist.