During a recent trip to Brevard I was finally able to meet with artist George Peterson. It has been a year since I stumbled upon his work in an Asheville venue and I was an immediate fan. I witnessed five skateboards mounted in a row that had been cut, burned, scarred and painted as tribal art. The iconic, pop culture shapes had been put through destruction and rebirth giving them an immediate and powerful new story that holds my attention even today.
Geoge’s studio occupies a mid-century church building in the Arts District of Brevard. The sanctuary has been built out as a skate boarding and performance venue while the adjacent rooms are filled with his equipment and materials. He calls himself a “working class” artist and dedicates himself from 8 to 5 daily on his craft there.
George is self-taught. His influences are Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, Finn Juhl, Bob Stocksdale, tribal art and punk rock. The combination of influences from 100-year-old tribal art, 80’s California to the Western North Carolina mountains and interior fashion today make them from a time period and world all of their own. His graphic and rhythmic twist to classic wood-turning gives his pieces a rawness and vulnerability that evoke history and narrative. For me, it takes an intuitive hand to craft something that offers subtle complexity masked by simplicity. In George’s hands, Punk is reinvented and becomes a timeless and sophisticated art form.
George’s work will be showcased in a new show later this month at Blue Spiral 1 gallery in downtown Asheville. For more on his work visit his website.