I had the best weekend that I have had for quite a while. First I got to visit my son at college for the first time since we dropped him off over a month ago on Saturday. He is doing very well there and I am impressed at how resourceful he is figuring out problems and managing his time. He seemed 6 inches taller and already more mature. He showed us some of the work he has been doing and just in this first month he has written some computer programs (his major). One very impressive one was a payroll program to figure out an employees pay including both regular hours and overtime hours (time and a half). Not bad for his first month there. I am so very proud.
Yesterday, we went to a gallery in downtown Charleston that was hosting Peter Max, the iconic artist. He is known primarily for his psychedelic paintings that have now become synonymous with the 60’s era. I took these pictures before I was told that photography was not allowed, there was no sign stating that so it was an innocent mistake but please don’t copy or save these files they are for entertainment only.
Many people, including me for years, thought he was responsible for the animation art in the Beatle’s Yellow submarine. The real story is that he was approached to work on that film but at the time, his wife was pregnant with their second child so he declined because it would have required at least a year overseas in England and he felt that it would be too much time away from his family. This fact makes me respect him even more. Instead creative director from Germany named Heinz Edelmann who, on his business card, called himself the “German Peter Max”, was the director of all the animation art that was actually executed by many artists.
This is what Peter Max himself said about it in 2012:
“I was very, very close friends with The Beatles, and they were going to make a movie. I remember getting a call from John, saying they wanted me to do it. So I designed it. And then I flew to Europe and found out that they wanted me to stay in Europe for seventeen months and make the whole film. I said, ‘I can’t.’ I had a fifteen-month-old boy and my wife was going to give birth to another kid in four or five months, and I was not going to stay away for a whole year. There was an artist in Europe, in Düsseldorf, Germany, named Heinz Edelmann, who called himself ‘the German Peter Max.’ I called him and gave him the opportunity to do the film. When I met him and he gave me his card that said ‘Heinz Edelmann: The German Peter Max,’ I said, ‘Heinz, I don’t mind if you copy my work, but please don’t copy it exactly and please take my name off of your card.’”
Isn’t that awesome?! He is still friends with Paul McCartney and recently painted his portrait for his birthday. He also knew Andy Warhol (even spent time at the “Factory”), Pablo Picasso and many others. He was enrolled in his frist art class at the Louvre in paris by his mother when he was only 5 years old. Growing up, his family lived in many different countries. Anyway, I got to speak with him more than once at the show. He is a very personable, down to earth guy. I asked him how many of these gallery tours he did per year and he said “about 45” then rolled his eyes. HAHA I asked if this kept him from painting as much as he would like and he said “No, I paint every day no matter where I am”. I also told him that I really loved the angel paintings that he has been doing with my favorite being “Ascending Angel” as well as the one shown above in the gold frame.
I asked if he had been enjoying his stay in Charleston and he said he had enjoyed his time in Charleston so much that he even painted the Ravenel Bridge and the pineapple fountain which are both very recognizable as being Charleston iconic images. These pieces were available at the show. I really wanted to buy one of the leftover 24×36 promotional posters for this exhibit but the gallery owner told me that those were only for people who bought art as a bonus gift and that they could have them signed and get a picture with the artist. I was thinking that since the show was almost over and they had some leftover it seemed ridiculous to me that they wouldnt sell one to me (what were they going to do just throw them away?) because I surely don’t have 8-29K to purchase an original Peter max piece no matter how much I wish I did. I had been chatting with one of his assistants, who was an incredibly sweet lady, for a lot of the time I was there and she said (whispered actually) that she would get me one of the color invitations and that there was no problem getting that signed. I almost cried! So I approached him again and he happily signed it for me, even including my name and even asking for the correct spelling! Sadly, I couldn’t get a picture with him so I settled for one out in front of the gallery.
I won’t name the gallery but even if I did have the budget to buy one of his pieces I wouldn’t buy it from them and give them the commission $ because of their rudeness. You can go to his website and buy his work and that is for sure the way I would go.
While I was outside getting this picture taken he came out to get in his car and I snapped a picture, of course with my luck he turned just as I snapped it, but that is him from the back nearest to the car wearing red sneakers with his suit.
All in all I left there feeling euphoric about the opportunity to meet him and find that he is such an easy person to talk to despite his iconic status. What an absolutely amazing day! If you have never been to art gallery especially when the artist is there for you to meet, I strongly urge you to do so, it’s really just an amazing experience and should be on everyone’s bucket list for sure!