We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Kalisch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued art as a career because art truly saved my life, and I wanted to share that with the world. Art was the thing I found during a deep depression that helped me purge and deal with my difficult emotions. I learned early in life how freeing being vulnerable is, and I wanted to spread that message to the world through my artwork. I truly believe that vulnerability is the key to leading an authentic life, and I know that leading by example is an excellent way to spread a message. Art is a great way for everyone to express their individuality, and I think the world would be a much better place if everyone put themselves out there in an artistic way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From my immediate observation, our culture engages in a type of decadence, one that implies the impending fall of Western civilization. My work attempts to point light to the condition we are living in, the postmodern condition which has resulted in a particular type of disconnection; from shared values, lived intimacy, from actual human connection, and primarily, from our physical bodies. My relationship to performance as a medium comes from the cathartic nature of reconnecting with my physical vulnerability after a lifetime of upbringing in a first-world capitalist environment. My work is often extremely critical of idealizations, both from past and present, as well as the nepotistic, hypocritical nature of high art institutions. In these institutions, I witness a desire to project a sort of philanthropic public image, without truly engaging in the work necessary to push culture forward. Using common cultural signifiers and art historical samples, I attempt to bring light to these double standards which I commonly witness when engaging in the art world. My work is an attempt at self-awareness and criticality, an encouragement to others to remove themselves from the pattern of self-victimization which is so apparent in our society. I promote authenticity, vulnerability, honestly and freedom, with an often political and philosophical edge.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is full of amazing nature! I would take them to the beach in the early morning, and then Huntington Gardens, and have lunch from Honeybee Burger, an amazing vegan place in Silverlake. I swear they have the best vegan breakfast burrito I’ve ever had. Then we could finish off watching the sunset up the hill in Elysian Park.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to everyone who has helped me along my path, my supporters and collaborators, and all of the incredible artists in the LA scene who make up this incredible community. There are so many people I could name, but Id like to highlight my Queerspace community, Navel, Scum, Queer as Punk, Celeste Kamppila, Taco Guillen, Tom of Finland foundation, Hatt Merlino, my bandmate Dylan Zarate, Navel, Michael Holt, Luka Fisher, Kayla Tange, Daniel Crook, Tita Cicognagi, Sheree Rose, I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of people so I love you all!!