Meet the artist.
Peter McDonald is an artist who lives and works in London and Tokyo. He depicts everyday encounters and events with light, bright colors and a sense of humor. People engaged in diverse activities reflect the contemporary world of work and leisure. His figures are inspired by real-life situations. People reading books, having conversations or dreaming appear in his work. Inflated bubble heads in different shapes and colors, with overlapping, transparent effects are trademarks of Peter’s artistic vocabulary.
“It was a breakthrough for me when I started experimenting with a visual language where heads overlap and the see-through colors of different heads merge. It’s a visual language that signifies the connection and communications between minds,” he says. “In my mind, there’s a narrative behind every painting that enables me to finish the piece. Once it’s done, it’s free to go out into the world and be interpreted by others.”
The journey of creation
Peter adapts his source imagery into small sketches, which are in turn developed into painted works on paper, before being further refined when translated onto canvas. He works primarily with a Japanese acrylic gouache that has a chalky, matte finish.
We asked Peter how he feels about the fact that people will spend hours putting the pieces of the Friends puzzle together.
“The more you look, the more you see. When I’m looking at any painting I find that the longer I look, the more details I see and the more insights I might have. And if I look at the same painting again, maybe my perspectives have changed, and somehow what I see changes. It will be extra interesting to see what people find in the Friends composition when they are that close and concentrate that much on it. I think it’s fantastic.”
“In my mind, there’s a narrative behind every painting that enables me to finish the piece. Once it’s done, it’s free to go out into the world and be interpreted by others.”
Peter McDonald was born in Tokyo in 1973. He studied at Central Saint Martins School and graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 2000. In 2008 he was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize. Recent exhibitions include Visitor, a year-long exhibition and residency at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in Japan and Winnebago, Carpets, Onsen, Potter at the Daiwa Foundation, London. In 2011 his work was included in Travelling Light, works from the Government Art Collection selected by Simon Schama at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Peter McDonald is represented by the renowned gallery Kate MacGarry in London, UK