Peter Max is one of those artists that completely perplexed me when I first saw his work. My boyfriend Craig and I love going on cruises. Every cruise we’ve been on, we make an effort to attend Park West’s art auctions and information sessions on artists and printing processes. At every auction, the auctioneer always says “If you don’t own a Max, get a Max” The Max painting on the auction block is insanely expensive and boasts a few strokes of the paint brush to make an image. The “starter Max” paintings, as Park West refers to them as, are little chicklets of paintings. Even these “starter Max” paintings cost thousands of dollars.
We had been trying to figure out for a couple years how these very simple paintings can be so expensive. About a month ago, a chat about art at 3:00 AM lead us to the realization that the precision that Peter Max puts into a single brush stroke is remarkable. He loads his brush with several paint colors and skillfully paints a few lines on the canvas. The way the colors he chooses to put on his brush mingle and interact with each other create dynamic imagery. Often times, he will create a print of his work and paint a few of these embellished lines on top of it, making the painting an original. In a world of lithographs and serigraphs, having an original painting from one of the most successful contemporary artists of our time is a difficult thing to do. Though several thousands dollars originally made us wary of Max’s process, after a lot of time looking at his work, we’ve grown to appreciate his painterly style and continue to be inspired by his work as artists.
Max’s work is licensed by 72 corporations. His work has been on the cover of Life Magazine, at the 1994 World Cup, the Grammy Awards, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Super Bowl. Recently, he has painted portraits of Taylor Swift. For a living artist to have achieved that level of celebrity is amazing!
A couple years after my introduction to Max, he is now an inspiration to me as a designer and fine artist. I also hope to own one of his paintings in my collection someday.