I had been a fan of Peter Beards work for a long time and I loved Dan Eldon as well. Now I mix them up but it’s because I just found their books next to each other when I thought about showing this to you. I just think some of their stuff is similar. And both have a deep connection to Africa. I’m sure there are loads of words about their similarities and all but I’m not going into it here. They did fantastic journals and shared a love for Africa.
After I traveled around South America for half a year in 1999-2000 I ended the trip in New York. Me and my ex boyfriend stayed with a spoken words guy in Flatbush out in Brooklyn and seized the city I had dreamed about for so long during the days. One day we entered Peter Beards gallery/studio in Soho and I was in heaven. After like five minutes we got to know Peters assistant and got invited to the basement where I guess Peter at the time made a lot of work. I think he kind of loved drawing on photo’s with blood. So they had like big buckets of it standing around as well as photos and drawings everywhere. You can imagine how cool and very New Yorkish this felt to us then. The assistant loved my bald head and took some snapshots of me. Suddenly we got invited to lunch to meet Peter. Apparently another assistant had run to Peter where he was going to lunch around the corner at Ciprianis, another place I had also heard about but never seen, there Peter had already painted on my Polaroid and invited us over.
It was weird. I had been backpacking for months, wearing the same clothes and going around like a hippie. Suddenly I’m at this posh place where this great artist is eating with his entourage. It was like in the movies. The entourage was part assistants, part great looking girls, some French art dealers etc. They where loud and funny. Very much heey look at us we can do whatever. One of them even blew his nose on the table cloth. That kind of attitude. We didn’t even had the money for drinking a glass of water. I felt like such a small town girl. Looking past the whole cliche entourage thing I really liked Peter. He was very cool and sweet. We got invited to all kind of fun stuff with him the days we had left in town. And I loved hearing his stories. I mean he had seen alot and been everywhere. This is a guy who had been friends with Francis Bacon, got run down by an Elephant and found Iman.
I even did a photo shoot with him. I got painted in gold. I’m sorry to say that this is one of the only photo’s I have left and it’s not taken by Peter. I never got to see any of his results of it either. It was a fun evening and then we went back to Belgium where I lived at the time. And I never dared to ask for that first polaroid. But is still a nice memory to have. The reason I started to think about this when I was listening to Alec Baldwins podcast – Here’s the thing with Peter in it. Also if you like Girls – don’t miss Alecs interview with Lena Dunham. I got such a girl crush on her. Damn she’s cool. Listen here.
If you want to know more about Peter And his art also check out his page at artsy.net/artist/peter-beard