Peter Granados b. 1989 is an American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work could be seen in numerous group exhibitions and his first solo exhibition titled “TRUE ROMANCE” will open Saturday, January 14 at PAGE (NYC).
In his visual art, Granados uses non-traditional methods. He mainly works with acrylics on stretched canvas over wood panel to achieve his distinctive style of painting, in which elements of illustration are incorporated to tell different stories. His use of stretched canvas allows him to have more control with the painting’s surface, so that while painting there is no give that he has to work with. Behind the wood panels, he uses a center block shape so that when mounted on the wall, the paintings look almost as if they are freely floating.
↓ INTERVIEW BELOW
What are three attributes to describe yourself?
Thoughtful, spaced out, exacting—those are all pretty contradictory but…
Advice to your 15 year-old self?
To not worry, that things will get better
Why did you choose to be an artist?
I never was at a point where I made the decision to or not to. It’s kind of just one of these things where ever since I was a kid I wanted to do it. But, that being said my definition of what is an artist was a lot different as a first grader than it was as a teenager, and my definition of what it is now is a lot different than what it was just a few years ago.
I think that title always changes meaning for me. It may of had something to do with how I was raised—just making art all the time.
Was anyone else in your family an artist?
No, but both my parents had always wanted to be writers.
If you weren’t artist what else would you do?
I would want to be a writer. I would want to write stories, like a fiction author.
Did you ever try doing that?
There was one year where I thought I could pull both off. It was back when I lost my studio and I didn’t have a job. I had just moved to New York and writing cost nothing to make. I showed other people and they were like, “aw man you have terrible grammar,” and I decided to just stick to painting. That experience of writing…I got a lot of material from all of it though. Even though that writing is not very good, it allowed me to discover a ton of ideas that I still kind of pull from. I actually want to go through a phase like that again; hashing out a bunch of ideas on paper for my paintings.
Did you lose your studio and then move to New York and got a new one?
Oh no, no. They were kind of intertwined, you know like moving here, having to start over and stuff…working out of my bedroom, that kind of thing.
Are there certain artists, styles or movements you’ve drawn inspiration from?
As far as right now, in relation to the work I’m making now; Laura Owens, Ancient Roman fresco paintings from Southern Italy, and Pieter Bruegel. I also get as much inspiration from literature and books too. Stories, noir – that stuff really gets me going.
Can you talk about technique?
I’ll have an idea for a painting – usually a story of some kind. I’ll kind of divide that story into a list, and I’ll write down a list of say 15 things and then from
that list I’ll make little drawings. Then I’ll take a piece of canvas and stretch it onto a panel, so that the surface is hard yet textured. After priming it with medium I’ll start with big washes and I’ll paint flat, so it can dry in puddles as opposed to dripping all over the place. After thats dry I’ll put it up on the wall, go back to these drawings that I’ve made from that list I was telling you about and I’ll find locations in the painting to put these things in. Gradually, content starts building up and then the painting is finished when I find that right balance of content and material. If there’s too much material and not enough story in it, I kind of lose interest, but if there’s too much descriptive stuff, it gets too illustrative. Finding that balance is key.
Can you talk about your use of the panel behind the canvas and the floating aesthetic?
I developed that a couple of years after school. I really like how a lot of different painters are so attached to owning their surface. For example, with someone like Christopher Wool: all of those paintings are on this very thin aluminum and it’s so specific to him. I have my own idea of an ideal surface; I like it to float, I like it to be thin. Why? I have no idea, I think its total aesthetic.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I really like people to take their own story out of it and to walk away with something of their own. There’s a lot of stuff in my paintings. They’re like epics. There’s violence. There’s some love triangle in there. There’s some comic relief and there’s some good versus evil. I kind of consciously try to combine these very broad themes into one painting so that all sorts of people can find something in the same painting. I want to be democratic with the types of subject matter I can offer. I want everyone to find something unique to their tastes in the paintings.
You have your first solo-show coming up in January. Can you talk about that?
Yeah, it’s in China Town at PAGE (NYC). It’s a small space, but it’s a nice space—good light. I’m probably going to have 4 or 5 big paintings, no little paintings. Along with the opening I’m going to release this book that I made. This book is a collection of my drawings, but it turned into an almost narrative, comic book like thing. The name of the book is the numbers 95962, which is the zip code of this town I grew up in. All these drawings are inspired by things in this town…this kind of creepy Northern California town out in the foothills. So it will be a book release and my first opening. The name of the show is going to be “TRUE ROMANCE.”
What was the name of the town you grew up in?
Oregon House. Honestly I’ve moved like 18 times before I went to college. I was all over the place, but the one town that I would say is my hometown and that I spent the most time in is Oregon House.
Do you ever go back?
I want to go back there. I kind of want to go back there undetected with a rental car and a camera. I’m going to do that some day soon.
It’s kind of one of these things where I haven’t been there in a long time and I have these memories of it and it really affects my art. I really want to go back there and rediscover all of these things.
What was the last show you went to that really stuck with you?
The Max Beckmann show at The Met.