Kevin Peterson sees flaws and quirks as objects of beauty. Traditionally unattractive attributes, like weird warts and missing teeth, inspire him.
“A lot of people like to paint really pretty girls,” Peterson says. “And I can't really paint girls because I make them look disgusting…. I just find strange stuff more interesting than looking at something or someone that's perfect. It's just different, you know?”---
Peterson's oil painting on the cover of CityBeat this week, “The Golden Hill,” shows off the pop-surrealist's darker, offbeat aesthetic and reflects his thoughts on gentrification. Until recently, Peterson lived in Sherman Heights, but as more people began spilling over from Golden Hill, he says his rent went up and he was forced to move out.
It's a bummer, he says, because he drew a lot of his subject matter from his surroundings, often sketching the homeless people in the area or using his neighbors or old homes for inspiration. He considers Sherman Heights one of the last bastions of affordable housing in a central location, but he's watched in dismay as more mom-and-pop shops have moved out and things like Jamba Juice have started moving in.One of Peterson's paintings is currently on view at eloS Shoes (3404 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights), but mostly his work is shown in San Francisco, New York and other cities. He tries to keep an optimistic perspective on the local art scene, but the fourth-generation San Diegan says it's a constant struggle to be an artist in a city that doesn't seem to support emerging artists.
“It just beats you down every day,” he says.
Are you a San Diego artist who wants to have your work featured on the cover of CityBeat? or Email arts editor Kinsee Morlan