2014 SwatchRoom Salon Artist: Brian Petro

Artist Brian Petro is all about the maintenance of a global perspective and is inspired by everything that surrounds him. His work has a large range and often features iconic images with a unique twist that alters the viewer's perception of the familiar. Petro creates a lot of interesting patterns in his work through layering and mixing of materials. This overlapping and quilting of different images challenges us to really think about what we are looking at and what we do not see.

Petro had some wonderfully eloquent responses to a few questions that we sent his way in preparation for the Salon Party that explore his journey as an artist. I noticed that his answers to these questions display his distinct  personality, which is very noticeable in his work. 

ArtSee: What do you think has changed in your art career and your work since the beginning of your career?
Brian Petro: I used to wait to be inspired to work, now I GO TO WORK!  I love to 'work,' but, I don’t rest through slow periods anymore. There is always something to do, even if not putting paint to canvas, or clicking off  photographs, finding objects in dumpsters, meeting clients, establishing relationships, approaching galleries… and  the paperwork, and business end of Art is never finished.

A.S:: What is the biggest inspiration for your art?
B.P: The realization that with the ideas in my mind, the dexterity in my hands, the view of my eye, the acquisition of stuff from the streets and dumpsters, simple materials bought off a shelf… to use those aspects, and make something never, ever made, by anyone else that has existed on this planet, is something is completely of me, and I am able to offer emotion, educate, document, titillate, inspire, offend, give joy…  and give back to society and others in my lifetime, and well after my spirit ceases in our realm.

A.S: And where do you currently create your work?
B.P: Although I have had studios in NYC, in Brooklyn, NY, and in Philadelphia over the years, presently have studios in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and Washington DC, on 14th Street, between T and S, NW, off the lower showroom of the Amazing Interiors Showroom, Vastu.  (I’ve had a studio there for the last 10 years.)

A.S: What are your thoughts on collecting art? Do you collect art yourself?
B.P: I do collect artwork.  I have very little of my own work in my home, My first real piece I ever purchased was a Rauschenberg [Petro's favorite artist] that was purchased from the savings of the first 5 pieces of my own art I ever sold.  I purchase when I travel abroad (I love skilled street artist’s work – Especially in Brasil,) and I have been very fortunate to swap artwork with artists I have met over my 16 professional art making years of artists that I love and respect.  I also have a several pieces that have just been sent to me as gifts by other artists just because they found out I liked a particular piece of theirs.  Those mean the most to me.

A.S: If you weren’t creating art what would you be doing?
B.P: I’d be a Mortician.

A.S: Finally, What are you most excited for at the Salon Party?
B.P: I really look forward to meet many new artists and art enthusiasts, learn about them, and hopefully have them visit me in my studio in the near future, so they can really see what I am all about, and how I think, and how I perceive life!

Preview Brian Petro's art on his site

The SwatchRoom Salon is a three-day celebration of local and emerging artists, designers, and collaborations and giving back. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You

Mica Hartman