When I first met Peter Vigil in person, I had already been following him quite obsessively on social media, so it was as if I’d had known his work for quite some time already. Peter is that rare embodiment of unpretentious, yet yielding a stoic maturity like a sword among some of his more raucous contemporaries. Once I met him, he became almost an instant inspiration. Here was a guy who had it all figured out, as cliche as that sounds, bear with me. Here was a dignified, mature, selling artist who wasn’t trying to sell himself in the pandemonium that was Art Basel, or trying to flaunt his success. Peter was in the corner of the room, quietly observing the guests of whatever show it was that we were attending. Socializing here and there with a select few individuals that took the time to say hi, and just enjoying the art and the people around him. His style is as intense as his personality is easy-going. Abstract in a sense, but almost what I’d call detail oriented abstract. In the realm of Peter Vigil’s paintings, echoes of Picasso flaunt with strokes of DeKoonig, while rich, thick, vibrant brush strokes evoke a Gerhard Richter-esque interplay. Ok, I admit, all the aforementioned artists top my list of favorite masters of their craft, but it’s as appropriate as it is grandiose. Peter Vigil is undoubtedly one of my favorite modern artists, and an equally great guy. I had the privelege of sitting down with Peter and talking with him about his Inspirations, his Aspirations, and his process. What became of that is transcribed here in this rare interview with one of Miami’s fantastic artistic minds, by way of Cuba and Spain. Without further adieu; Ladies and Gentlemen…
Meet Peter Vigil
Articentric: Thank you for taking the time to meet with us Peter. If you would, talk a little bit about how you came to realize your talent, and how you decided to make it your profession.
Peter Vigil: Thank you. My first brush with art (no pun intended) was when I was nominated as the “Artist of the Month” in fourth grade for an abstract drawing that I completed in art class. I never followed up with any other artistic attempts until 2006 after experiencing the death of a loved one. In an attempt to alleviate the grief that I was experiencing, a friend of mine who knew how much I enjoyed art bought me an acrylic starter kit with some canvases. I found the activity to have a positive and therapeutic effect on me and from that day on, I never dropped my brushes. Throughout the following years, I honed in on my specific style, which is an amalgamation of Picasso, Matisse, early Pollock, and others, and sharpened my skills. However, it was not until 2012 that I turned a hobby into a way of life, where I seriously started to promote my art and became an active participant in a myriad of art events/shows in the East and West Coasts.
AIC: What is the most exciting thing to you about painting?
PV: It is the different interpretations and emotions that my works evoke from the general public, as well as from fellow artists. It is always a growing and fulfilling experience for me to hear such constructive criticism and apply these observations in the creation of future pieces. In addition, I find it rewarding to finish a piece that I am happy with and relinquishing it for others to view and interpret.
AIC: Tell us a bit about your process? How do you visualize a piece? Is it all about putting paint to canvas and letting it develop? Do you have an idea of the finished product in your mind before you start?
PV: For the most part, I lay the canvas on the floor to start the process and develop the concept as I go. I love to randomly place lines on a canvas, take a step back once the whole canvas has been covered with the random lines, and then discern the patterns and the images that I see within those lines. I have followed this process to create small paintings and mural size paintings (10 feet by 5 feet). It is both a learning and creative process that allows ones inner thoughts and emotions to create an overt piece of ones being. I have on occasion created sketches before hitting the canvas; however, I feel this process has a restraining effect on my creativity and it is not as rewarding and liberating as the random process.
AIC: You have quite a diverse portfolio. Our favorite painting in your online gallery is probably “waiting for the sun metropolis”, it’s a very powerful piece. You get a fantastic appreciation for the people, and the scale of the buildings crowding out their view, yet we’re forced to see what they might not, the intensity of the sun through the hues of red all around them. Fascinating. Can you talk about your use of the color red, and how it appears in almost your entire collection.
PV: This is also one of my favorite paintings. The piece does have a measure of intensity as you indicated. I love to use bold and vibrant colors, specifically hues of red, to provide the subject(s) of my paintings a physical sense of existence and to underscore the passion or fury inherent in the expression of intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics, as well as the expression emotional experiences. I feel the hues of red increase the depth and impact of the experiences depicted in my paintings.
AIC: You’re from Cuba, by way of Spain, and now in Miami. What is the biggest impact your environment in South Florida has had on your artwork, choice of subject, etc? Do you notice any of your past influences from your time in Cuba and Spain coming out in your work?….talk a bit about your creative influences.
PV: Both Cuba and Spain had repressive regimes during the time that I lived in both countries. Needless to say, Cuba still has a repressive regime in place. Both countries repressed artistic as well as intellectual expressions. However, South Florida is an extension of these countries and their cultures before the existence of the repressive regimes. I believe this has allowed me to retain, even at a subconscious level, my love for vivid colors, a love and passion for life, as well as an appreciation for the arts. These elements shaped and influenced, even if later in my life, the use of rich colors and the subjects of my paintings. In addition, my creative influences have expanded through the study of Cuban artists such as Wilfredo Lam and Carlos Alfonzo. These artists among many others have influenced the themes and configuration of my pieces and use of colors to accent the themes.
AIC: Is there one legendary artist living or dead, that you’d love to spend a day with and learn from? If so, who and why?
PV: Well, that is difficult since my paintings are influenced by many artists. However, if I had to narrow it down to one artist it would be Pablo Picasso. Picasso was such an innovative person and actually took what may have seemed as simplicity into a level of perplexity to evoke thoughts and interpretations, which I think is a central tenet of art. It had the observer thinking and creating his or her own reality of what was being observed. His paintings always fascinated me. One of most memorable Picasso moments was when I saw his painting “Guernica” in Madrid at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. I must have spent about an hour just absorbing the feelings as well as experiences Picasso portrayed concerning the bombing of Guernica by German and Italian forces during the Spanish Civil War. The energy associated with this painting made me imagine the pain and suffering the event caused. It is a remarkable piece. This is the kind of physical existence I attempt to bestow upon the pieces I create.
AIC: What is the best way to follow along with your career and find out where you will be exhibiting next (Website, Facebook, etc.)