Artist Survey #18: Peter Nordstrom

Peter is a crazy cat I met through the recent Alley Art Show. He is one of the very few (if not only) local artists creating the style of art that he does. He spends a great deal of time on each and everything that he creates and it is obvious in the final product. Read on to learn more.

{Arahan Heart}

{Love Death}

{Harbinger of the Apocolypse}

Name: Peter Nordstrom

Location: Sonora, CA

Medium(s): magic sculpt, super sculpey, found objects, acrylic & oil paint

What do you consider yourself (artist/designer/other)? Sculptor & Painter

Where can we see your work (place/publications/url)? My House (by appointment) &

When did you start gaining interest in artistic forms of expression? Around 2006, once I discovered new mediums of clay and what I was capable of creating and expressing through sculpture.

Who/What inspired your interest? I desired to create new forms that couldn’t be found elsewhere. Other’s artwork and McFarlane’s monster toys were amazing but I had so many images and ideas in my mind I wanted to bring to life. Recently it has been H.R. Giger as I love his style: the darkness, eroticism, and attention to detail. He is an example of someone who isn’t afraid to show anything and everything; a true master of art and himself (in a good way, like feeling comfortable and understand who he is). I also really like Alex Grey as a visionary artist, and I like the realism of Da Vinci, and the sculptures of Michelangelo. Kris Kuksi was my inspiration for using found objects; his work is very impressive and elaborate; something I want to create in my own work, but in my own style, vision, and expression.

What is your day job? I work part time for my step dad, answering emails and taking care of online orders when he needs help. He is in the business of curing uncurable diseases through alternative medicines, and I fully support this movement against the pharmacies who are only interested in treating the symptoms and not the disease. Other then that, I am doing art every minute I get.

Why do you create? I feel the need to bring my imagination to life in a 3-D sculpture, as a form of expression or some kind of emotion; like a better way of understanding myself.

Is there any recurring theme in your work? My personal work is normally quite dark, erotic, macabre, and very detailed. It often encompasses the interaction between male and female, often love, pain, longing, fear, or other emotions that can’t be said but only felt.

What do you want from your work? I want my work to represent my feelings both emotionally and accurately in regards to the images in my mind. Trying to bring my imagination to life is a true challenge and it keeps me motivated to get every detail perfect. Kind of like OCD.

What do you want viewers to take from your work? I would hope that they understand the complexity and hard work that I put into each piece, and perhaps have some personal emotional reaction; whatever it may be. My artwork is personal to me, so if a viewer likes or dislikes isn’t that important. But I do appreciate it when others find beauty and meaning in my work; it makes me feel like I have accomplished something great for myself.

How often do you work on personal projects? Almost everyday, sometimes an hour, sometimes 8 hours, just depends on other obligations and how much energy I have.

How often do you work on commissions or commercial work? Not very often, I don’t take many commissions because I don’t really enjoy creating someone else’s ideas. I don’t like doing art for money, as I feel it isn’t as true to the meaning of what art is to me. If someone wants something made that I also find very interesting or challenging then I may take them up on it. However, my artwork is very complex and I charge a lot so the average person isn’t able to afford it. I do create art for my friends and family as gifts, as this means a lot more to me then selling something to a stranger.

Does your art support you financially? No, I’m not concerned about selling my art right now, it’s just a form of self-expression and if I wanted to make art just to sell then I wouldn’t enjoy it or want to make it.

Do you feel preoccupied with your art, do you think about it often during the day and night and do you anticipate your next session? I think about it 24/7. Sometimes I forget to eat or do things with friends and family.

What do you do in your spare time besides your art? I play tennis, card games, cook, work out, spend time with friends and family (when I remember!).

Which musicians are you currently interested in? I’ve had what most would probably label an obsession with Tool since 1997 (the depth of the music, lyrics, art, meanings behind their work; like understanding oneself, the earth, universe, relationship with others, deeper love and connections, spirituality, the completeness of the self through accepting the dualities in life, like good/evil, right/wrong, light/dark, love/hate, male/female, etc.). Recently I’ve been engulfed by Skinny Puppy and other projects by their band members (The Tear Garden, Cevin Key, etc), as they are deep spiritual trance-like in emotion and dark industrial journeys of music. Music has a large influence on my mind and ideas, which I use and express through art. One example is the Love/Death sculpture I did a few years ago, the emotion is from a relationship that was very passionate in love but also painful in separation, and the black/white and character design is from a Skinny Puppy music video of their song “Candle.”

Are there any events you are looking forward to attending? Just the Summer Art Explosion, and any other artistic events in the future!

How long do you generally take on a piece? The larger pieces usually take 100+ hours over one to two months. The piece I’m working on now has been ongoing for a few months, but I’ve been sidetracked with other projects and constantly changing the design, so that is slowing things down. I am also putting a lot of emphasis on anatomy, movement, and fine details; which takes a long time too for such a large project.

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your art? Well, I quit my full-time day job to focus on art because I felt like I was already dead not being able to do what I loved. I was at the top of my class throughout school yet didn’t find any meaning in mathematics or other subjects, so when I got to college I studied art, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and biology. I didn’t attend further education as I found most of what I was learning was outside of class; through personal research, and just creating new sculptures I learned way more then anyone could teach me. If I ever reach a plateau, or point where I can’t learn any more by myself, then I will seek new teachers and environments to get me to new levels.

Do you work on multiple projects at once? Yes, but I try not to, as I get distracted and sometimes have trouble finishing pieces; so I try to focus all my energy on one piece until it is done. Sometimes I like to balance between sculpture and painting so I don’t get overwhelmed on just one medium.

Do you have trouble parting with your finished work? Sometimes, but most of my work is for myself. I’ve made sculptures for family and one in particular for two of my friends who got married that I feel are some of my best work, so it is sad to see them go but I know they are really appreciated and loved.