Over the course of his life, Peter Max has virtually redefined the role of the American artist. In the 60s, he was the pictorial “voice” of a generation determined to break boundaries of consciousness in the name of love and joy. Foremost among the era’s cultural transformers, he made it acceptable for mundane objects to sport imaginative artistic designs. Alarm clocks, chess sets, umbrellas, bed sheets, tennis shoes, scarves — a billion dollars worth of products —became decked out in Peter Max‘s whimsical, color-drenched dreamscapes. It was a foreshadowing of his transition into his version of Pop art (more accurately called Neo Pop). He lovingly reinvigorated our popular cultural icons: national symbols (the American Flag, the Statue of Liberty), important artists, celebrities, political figures, musicians, sport heroes, philanthropists, spiritual gurus, all are joyously celebrated with Max’s painterly fireworks. Yet another transition emerged with what might be called his Neo Graffiti art — making media out of all sorts of familiar public surfaces. Government buildings, jet airplanes, automobiles, pianos, guitars, postage stamps, telephone books, television stage sets and more were enlivened with Max’s spectacular and innovative imagery.
None of this would have been possible without Max’s ability to capture a huge audience with his paintings. “Be Creative” has been his mantra, and he has led the way with an innovative use of highly charged color, improvisational brush strokes, and totally original imagery. His pantheon of subjects — cosmic landscapes, futuristic societies and portraits, beautiful profiles, mythological umbrella men, fantastic bouquets, hearts, sages, trees, Zen boats, geometric figures, to name a few — really cannot be numbered, and his style has never been imitated. This ceaseless, joyful creativity has captured the hearts of generation after generation.
Through all this artistic activity, Max has become a virtual painter laureate of America. Only without an expiration date.
He has been the official artist of World Cup ’94, five Super Bowls, Earth Day, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, three Grammy shows, Peace Music Festivals, and many other events. He has painted for six U.S. Presidents and created art for hundreds of charity auctions. This activity continues to this day.
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