brian petro

#america - 5 Inspired Artist

5 artists inspired by our great country that should make you PUMPED for the 4th of July! #america 

Brian Petro

Pamela Viola 

Lillis Werder

Bhaval Shah Bell

Mike Weber

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


Photo Credit: Each artist (Cover Photo: Fabiano Amin)

5 things for the next few days...

A TON going on Thursday night but take Friday/Saturday to hang out, enjoy a cold one and the non-arts related events in DC... But otherwise here are my 5! 

1. TONIGHT grab a drink for happy hour with Transformer for the FlatFile monthly mingle from 6-8 pm [link]
2. WPA hosts professional practices panel on working with galleries from 6-7:30 pm THURSDAY [link]
3. It's a Wonderful Life, a solo show featuring Hannah Dean opens at Wild Hand at 6 pm [link]
4. Brian Petro opens a retrospective of work from 1996-2014 at Art17 from 6:30-8:30 pm [link]
5. CLOSING PARTAY for Softer, Softest on THURSDAY from 7-9 pm [link]
6. Also... In case you missed it... The found this mystery man in a Picasso painting [link

Happy Hump Day! 

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 



On June 19, the Art17 Gallery at Coldwell Banker welcomes back local artist and curator, Brian Petro for a solo show of his work from 1996-2014. The gallery, located below Coldwell Banker (1606 17th St NW) in Dupont Circle, opens its doors to quarterly art shows by local and established artists.  The show, featuring a unique retrospective of Brian Petro’s work, will run from June 1, 2014 to August 20, 2014.

WHAT:    Brian Petro – Works from 1996-2014

EXHIBITION:   June 1, 2014 – August 20, 2014, M-F 9:00 – 5:00 PM

OPENING:  Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 PM

WHERE:  Coldwell Banker, 1606 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The work featured in this show represents his wandering, and wondering mind. He credits his style to the dichotomy between his supportive, rural, Central-Pennsylvanian upbringing, and the brutal independence of urban life. Global travel and urban exploration fuel his search for images, ideas and processes. Some artworks will even be available at affordable prices between $160 and $190. From joyous and youthful colors of old animal cracker box images, to Iconoclastic Architectural DC monument images, to a recent series of Abstract Ink and paint pieces, to glimpses of his first ever professionally recognized artworks, the show will include the many sides of Brian Petro as an artist. His most recent show “Ink: Brian Petro & Christian Pratt” at Susan Calloway Fine Arts was listed by Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post in March 2014.

Brian Petro is, and has been, represented by galleries in New York City, Hawaii, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Washington, DC and Rehoboth Beach, DE. His work is also on display in venues in Brazil, England, Italy and Spain. Past commercial clients include Absolut Vodka (who commissioned Brian to design the Absolut Dupont Circle advertisement), The Ritz Carlton Hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue, IBM (an 8 foot by 20 foot mural), and The Library of Congress. Brian has been published in regional and national news magazines and newspapers, and he and his work have been featured on several television shows including HGTV’s Curb Appeal and Showhouse Showdown, and has recently been filmed by CCTV in China, affiliated with PBS, and footage can be viewed in upcoming months in Asia, and here, Nationally. Within the last month, Brian was commissioned by Absolut Vodka again to design a 5 foot tall bottle for their use in any advertising campaign they choose.  This may be considered the “Absolut Petro” bottle!

 Coldwell Banker opened Art17 over a decade ago by Kevin McDuffe, the owner. His goal has been to open this office space to local artists to showcase their work. Recently, he brought in a curator for the space, one of the Mid City Artists, Brian Petro. While Petro is a full time artist, living and working in the Logan Circle area, he is also a curator of private spaces in the community. In the past, Art17 has featured artists such as Amy Flatten, Dylan Davis, and Matt Sesow. 


25+ Local Artists, from Painters and Photographers to Woodworkers and Potters, will be featured during this DC Art Extravaganza

As you know from our recent posts... Our partners at SwatchRoom, the new Shaw-based creative design and fabrication studio, will host its first annual three-day SwatchRoom Salon Party March 7th through March 9th. Curated by ArtSee, an art event services agency, and hosted by Hierarchy, the newest event space by DC’s No Kings Collective, the celebration will showcase more than 35 local artists during three distinct events. The Salon Party will be accessible to all levels of art enthusiast, beginning with a showcase of affordable work from emerging artists and culminating in a private event featuring new collections from some of DC’s most sought-after artists.

Attendees must purchase tickets to the Friday and Saturday evening events on eventbrite, here:

And the complete 2014 “SwatchRoom Salon Party” Schedule of Events is...  

FRIDAY, March 7th: Introducing DC’s Best Emerging Artists
TIME: 7pm – 12am
LOCATION: Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Road, NW

To kickoff the Salon Party, a grouping of DC’s greatest emerging artists will be featured on Friday night. Each artist will display their latest work across all mediums: painting, photography, printmaking and more.

Artists will include:

Fabiano Amin
Leah Appel
Carolyn Becker
Amy Hughes Braden
Patrick Burns
Ellie Deneroff
Dominique Fierro
Jeremy Flick
Barb Januszkiewicz
Donna K. McGee
Cory Oberbndorfer
Brian Petro
Cristina Steadman
Radio Sebastian
Fawna Xiao

SATURDAY, MARCH 8th: Celebrating the District’s Favorite Artists
TIME: 7pm – 12am
LOCATION: Hierarchy, 1841 Columbia Road, NW

On Saturday night, collectors will have a preview to some of their favorite artists’ and designer’s newest collections. Attendees will also enjoy live painting, music, performances, and break dancing.

Artists will include:

Gregg Deal - paintings
Kate Warren- photography
Martin Swift - paintings
Jeremy Flick - paintings
Maggie O'Neill -paintings and home goods
Cory Orbendorfer - paintings
Karen Suderman - paintings
Chris Cooley - pottery
Dominique Fierro -photography
Sophie Blake - jewelry
Allison Priebe Brooks (aka Queen Bee Designs)
James Kerns - furniture and lighting
Tariq Tucker - paintings
Carbon Vintage - furniture
McNamara Designs - furniture

We hope to see you there! 

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 

Sklarsky comes to DC at Vastu on 14th St

THIS THURSDAY, Vastu will open its’ doors for the work of New York based artist, Ian Sklarsky.  The 14th St NW establishment rotates the emerging artists on its’ walls monthly, curated by resident artist, Brian Petro. The show will run through December 8 and on October 17, Sklarsky will be at Vastu to meet visitors and draw original blind contour drawings for guests at the low price of just $95. The solo show will feature Sklarsky’s signature blind contour drawings, a method in which the artist draws a line and with minimal glances at the paper.

Sklarsky, a New York based artist, says that he pursues the method of blind contour “because of the ways it captures the essence of my subject.” Really focusing on the subject at hand is a huge part of his process, not being concerned about anything else around him.  Part of what makes his work so interesting is the intrigue of how he got from point A to point B with just one line and how he creates a cohesive image using that line. Visitors will get to see this first hand at the opening.

Brian Petro, curator, says that he selected Sklarsky’s work “because of his artwork, concept, uniqueness, process, vision, and drive!”  Petro has been curating the space for the last few years and strives to incorporate artists from all over the world. Vastu is committed to supporting emerging art and reserves them for that purpose. The spaces hosts approximately six shows per year.

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


Petro + Amin: Dynamic Duo Takes on 14th

Unless you're a newbie to the DC arts scene, there's no way you don't know who Brian Petro and Fabiano Amin are. With two thriving individual careers, both artists attacked the scene years ago and have created a colorful, energetic and hyperactive buzz ever since. 

Petro, a self-proclaimed "'gimme more, gimme more', kind of guy" jumps and juggles multiple mediums at any one given time, from photography to polymer transfer monoprints to painting with molten beeswax and hand crushed coal in an effort to achieve the layered multimedia effect that's his distinctive signature. For Petro, the passion that drives his creation is really just, above all, a deep rooted curiosity to break things down and build them back up again. And take one look at his "amerICONIC" collection or the aptly named "miscellaneous" series and you'll see exactly what we mean.

Pisa Grenade, 20x20

Fabiano on the other hand is a born and raised Brazilian, and while he doesn't have Petro's American-bred ADD, he has the mind of a sophisticate coupled with a touch that can only be garnered in the heated craziness of the tropics. His focus is almost entirely on abstract works, and we're thankful for that targeted interest since he probably wouldn't be making such highly coveted pieces without it. Acrylic can be an amateur's medium, but Fabiano's hold on the thick stuff is undeniable. His work is filled with emotion and grace, allowing the colors and contours to take over rather than the specific nature of a narrative. While his work is much different than Petro's, the two are completely complimentary. And that's why we're writing this post.

On July 18th, the Fathom Gallery on 14th street will be hosting the opening of "Brian Petro/Fabiano Amin", and if you couldn't tell from our description of the two, we literally could not be more excited. Both artists will have a number of works on display, and to top it all off Paolo's of Georgetown is catering the affair. To snatch a space for free, RSVP to their Eventbrite here. And of course we'll be there shmoozing with the two and instagraming the whole thing, so if you catch a glimpse of us from ArtSee come on over and say hi!

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 


Brian Petro: Local Artist Supports His Community

It’s hard to step out in to the Logan Circle neighborhood without noticing the artistic touch of one artist that calls the area home. Brian Petro, a local artist who lives and works in Logan Circle, has been adding to his creative portfolio over the last several years through his exhibitions, open studios and curatorial work, and this summer will kick off even more. This weekend, May 18 and 19, Petro will host his bi-annual open studio tours in conjunction with his fellow artists of the Mid City Artist group. The doors to his basement studio under Vastu will be open both Saturday and Sunday, in addition to the walls of the 14th street furniture establishment being covered with his work. Petro will show his work at Vastu through June 2.

Petro, a great supporter of local art, is also involved in several curatorial projects. He currently curates for Coldwell Banker’s Art17 space, Vastu and the storefront of Avenue Settlement on 14th St. While the current Art17 show is a group show, featuring his Mid City Artist colleagues, Petro enjoys cultivating relationships with local artists and the process of selecting their work for his curation. When curating a new show he looks for “new, fresh, quality work and knowing that people enjoy their work is motivating.” Understanding the value of your work and how to market what you do as an artist is important to Petro, he enjoys giving other local artists the opportunity to show their work.

The current show at Vastu will be a retrospective of some of Petro’s latest works. His work is truly diverse, mixing mediums, narratives and materials to create images of the world around him. The inspiration and materials for his work often come from the world around him. Petro has made “dumpster diving” a large part of his artistic process, spending time searching through trash and recycling his findings in to his works. A recent trip to Brazil, one he has made many times before, was fruitful in both materials and inspirations. Petro found works at the new Museo de Arte do Brasil to be stimulating in their vibe, color and history of central Rio, something you can sense in much of his work. 

In the coming months, Petro will be busy supporting artists with shows at Vastu, Art17 and Avenue Settlement in addition to an upcoming show of his own at Fathom Gallery and a campaign for Absolut vodka. Petro is one of 4 artists in Washington DC who was asked to create a four foot bottle for Absolut that will be a nationwide, 14 city campaign for the vodka brand. The launch will take place at Mova Lounge at a to be determined date and time. Fathom Gallery will then host Petro and local artist Fabiano Amin for a joint exhibition in July, another Logan Circle community engagement. 

For more information on Brian Petro, his work and exhibitions, visit his website.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


Brian Petro Kicks Off his Next Show at Coldwell Banker this Thursday

This weekend marks the Third Annual 17th Street Festival, a celebration that brings the community together over food, art, music and entertainment.

With a major focus on local art, the 17th Street Festival will host an Art Show on Saturday, September 22, which covers two street blocks and features the work of 50-plus local artists. 

One artist participating in the festival’s activities is Brian Petro, who will exhibit his work on Saturday’s festival and also help kick-off the 17th Street Festival with an opening reception for his latest show on Thursday, September 20 at Coldwell Banker (1606 17th Street NW) from 5 until 8 pm.


This show presents many styles by the artist, and serves as a mini-retrospective of his 16 professional years as an artist.

Petro’s mini-retrospective includes works inspired by street hustlers and the urban sale of flesh; hand-built, wooden wall sculptures inspired by paint spattered clothing he purchased off the body of a city alley muralist; tranquil abstracts made with soft watercolor washes and molten beeswax; and festive and exuberant images of produce and retro styled price markings. 

In addition to these unique pieces, Petro will feature his Supermarket Series, a collection of work that was inspired by his time living in New York City. 

The 17th Street Festival take place on Saturday, September 22 from noon until 6 pm. Petro will be onsite to welcome guests and show his work at Coldwell Banker on the day of the festival.


Brian Petro’s show at Coldwell Banker will be open for viewing during the regular business hours of Coldwell Banker. You can also schedule a free personal tour of Brian’s studio anytime by calling the artist directly at (202) 270-7352,, or for more information please check or search Google or YouTube with “Brian Petro Artist” to see his documentary.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Rachel Nania

Brian Petro at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

DC-based artist, Brian Petro, will showcase two of his latest collections, Supermarket Series and Roman Series, at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty of Chevy Chase from July 24 through September 28.

The opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Tuesday, July 24 from 6 until 8 p.m. at 5454 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Chevy Chase, MD.

At the reception, guests will have the opportunity to view Petro’s work and meet with the artist. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will also be provided.

Petro’s mixed media paintings in Supermarket Series, as well as his photographic thermal transfer monoprints in Roman Series, pay homage to the artist’s former childhood and adolescent experiences.

This showcase is part of the TTR Sotheby’s International Realty’s Artist Showcase series. For more information on the event, visit ArtSee’s Facebook page.

We hope to see you there! 

Brain Petro paints his Supermarket Series 

Brian Petro Exhibits Latest Work at Vastu

Among the hustle and bustle of 14th Street’s trendiest bars and restaurants lies an art studio home to one of D.C.’s most beloved artists, Brian Petro.

This small workspace, lined with brick and exposed beams, is packed with works of art Petro has created over the decades.

Working as professional artist for years, Petro spent much of his time bouncing between New York and Washington, exhibiting at galleries and working on commissions from clients like Absolut Vodka, Ritz-Carlton Hotels and the Library of Congress.

But a few years ago, Petro decided to stay-put with a permanent studio space in the District, directly below the 14th Street contemporary home furnishing store, Vastu.


(Photo credit: Brain Petro)

At Vastu, Petro works as a kind-of “resident artist and curator,” exhibiting his own art on the walls and also contracting other artists to display their work in the store.

Currently, some of Petro’s latest artwork adorns the expansive space at Vastu, including pieces from Supermarket Series and Roman Series. And while both are drastically different in look and media used, the two series have one thing in common: the artwork is influenced by different periods of time in Petro’s life.  

The colorful and vibrant pieces in Supermarket Series pay homage to Petro’s time spent working in the produce department at a grocery store in central Pennsylvania.

“I really loved the physical labor of working in this huge produce department, and I didn’t realize what was happening until years later, but I’d go in early in the morning and pack this huge department full of colors and textures and shapes and smells, and when I’d get done, I’d sit back and have such a gratifying feeling to see all of this wonderful and beautiful stuff and realize that it’s really putting up an art installation every morning.”

Supermarket Series embodies more than Petro’s time spent in Pennsylvania; the series is also inspired by old grocery and bodega signs that Petro found while dumpster diving for found-art in Manhattan – A city he loves and describes as gritty, yet bright and energetic.

(Photo credit: Brian Petro)

Similarly, the more somber pieces in Roman Series were inspired from another period of time in Petro’s life. When he was 22, Petro took his first trip to Europe and spent some time in Rome and other cities throughout Italy.

“I was just floored by Italy,” said Petro, who attempts capture the complexity of Roman society with simple, stoic gazes of ancient statues and ruins.

For the pieces in Roman Series, Petro uses a difficult and tedious process that makes each piece of work unique – a process Petro refers to as “photographic thermal transfer.”

“What I do is I shoot on real film, develop and enlarge that and then print that with a four-color press onto paper, a chemical release agent and plastic,” explained Petro. “Then when I heat that, it melts the plastic into the toners and the ink and then I can press it and it will leach it off onto another surface. And in this case, the other surface is 140-pound archival paper.” 

Petro’s work will be displayed in Vastu through July 16. Additionally, Petro will open his studio to the public this weekend for the Mid City Artists Open Studio tours. Petro will be on-hand to show his work and answer questions from visitors from 11am until 6:30pm on Saturday and noon until 4:30pm on Sunday.

Interested persons can also schedule a free personal tour of Brian’s studio until July 16 by phoning the artist directly at (202) 270-7352. For more information, visit