The artist Peter Max had been one of my favorites for a very long time and I have actually met him a couple of times at his shows. The reason why he inspired me so much is that I wanted to become a similar type of artist to Peter, and perhaps try to make some of the millions which he had. Despite his wealth and his talent there was something incredibly down to Earth about the man, at least that was as best as I could tell from afar. I can remember talking to my daughter one night after a show bemoaning once again the fact that I didn’t go and speak to him, that was when she turned around to me and she says ‘Dad, you have to take the bull by the horns’ quite the statement for a 6 year old to make.
I never thought much of that comment until about 6 months later when I was in this tiny little gallery with a mate, and he says ‘look, he’s one of Peter Max’s agents, I wonder if he’s here’ true enough I did recognize the fella but I couldn’t see Peter anywhere, until abut 30 minutes later. Remember what my daughter told me I went over and introduced myself.
Peter was very warm and asked me if I was an artist, at which point I grabbed my phone from my pocket, opened up Facebook and showed him a few bits and pieces which I had done, I’m not entirely sure how bothered he was by this but I was talking the bull by the horns.
To give some context to this, I was just about to have a second daughter and the art wasn’t selling as well as I had hoped and I was actually looking for a job at the time so that I could support my family, the art was going to become nothing more than a side hustle, or even perhaps a hobby.
Peter stood there talking to me about my own art for around 10 minutes, complimenting my style and the way I played with tone, offering suggestions as to what I amy be able to do with certain pieces and although I was involved in the conversation, it was almost like an outer body experience. We exchange niceties and I bid the great man farewell.
When I got home that night, 3 things occurred to me, first of all thank goodness that my daughter is a genius, second of all how glad I was that I took her advice and stole a few minutes with Peter and finally, if my art is good enough for Peter Max then there is no way that I am going to get a traditional job, I am going to up my game and sell my art to the masses, this was 3 years ago and I never did end up getting that job.
Meeting heroes can be a very positive thing indeed.