Artist Interview: Peyote (Minneapolis)

Artist Interview: Peyote (Minneapolis)

Peyote is part of a new wave of street artists rising to prominence in the Minneapolis art scene, such as Deuce 7, Wundr, Von Shank, HOTTEA, Adept, and many others who have bent the rules of graffiti and redefined street art in the Twin Cities.

Besides displaying his art alongside some of the best artists in the scene, such as Barry McGee, Neck Face, and even Ozzy Osbourne, Peyote is affiliated with brands like Blood is the New Black and artists like Mr. Dibbs and Nobuddy. With a distinct style that will make you stop and stare for hours, Peyote is an artist to take note of. Although he mixes it up between paintings, drawings, stickers, wheatpaste posters and more, his style is always recognizable and unmistakably unique. Each piece has infinite detail that looks like it was spewed from a nightmarish mescaline trip deep within the grimy heart of the Tijuana underworld. Somehow the gritty insanity that makes up his artwork comes together to make a flawless ghoulish image. We caught up with Peyote to see what’s behind the artwork and what’s going down in the graffiti underworld.

"Peyote-Party" by Peyote

Peyote is an interesting name; does it number amongst one of your influences?

As far as influences, yeah I’ve done mescaline, and other hallucinogens; I hold peyote higher than others simply because it is a life changing experience and should be viewed as such, I’m not a fuckin’ hippy though and don’t get it twisted.

Do you have any early memories of hip hop or street art that stick out in your memory?

Yeah I guess when I was in 6th grade I got thrown in the back of a squad car for stealing a Busta Rhymes CD, does that count? Nothing really came out of it they just kind of taught me how not to get caught, I suppose that’s the earliest memory of anything hip hop…

You’ve worked artistically with some rappers, like Nobuddy and Mr.Dibbs of Rhymesayers and Machina Muerte, how does hip hop influence your artwork?

I don’t know if it directly influences my work but I will say without music we would be nowhere whether anyone wants to admit it, well that’s another thing entirely.

What other aspects of life influence your work?

Probably people I meet all the time, I have always lived or surrounded myself with people who aren’t afraid of the seedy underbelly of life, I think that has always been an inspiration for me to draw the way I do, mostly people who just come in and out of my life or hang out in my area i.e. prostitutes, drug dealers, drug addicts, heavy metal kids, small time rappers, graffiti people who can pretty much fit any of the latter.

"Acid*Eaters" by Peyote

How has moving around influenced your art, how have the different regions contributed?

I would say that each place had a different effect on me, as far as the way I draw things I definitely owe it to Mexico for the patterning and the way I draw. I’ve heard a lot of people say it also reminds them of Oaxacan folk art which I like a lot and also Huichol Indian art or the peyoteros. I think that Southwestern American Indian art has also contributed to some of my style so it’s a pretty mixed bag at this point.

With such intricate works, can you describe the process behind one of your pieces?

Difficult question, really there is a starting point and I continue from that point outwards, I don’t usually plan the finished product to look a certain way unless it’s a paid illustration and there is a certain goal, you have to make money somewhere, but in my personal art it just works itself out, basically not much of a process.

"Which, Witch" by Peyote

What mediums do you typically work with?

Preferably above all, I would have to just say black ink on white paper or white ink on black paper, I see the world that way I think I have always been a person of extremes so this seems the best way to interpret the world, frankly I have a very hard time with color.

You do both street art and studio art; do you prefer one over the other?

They’re both good, both can get you places, it’s really how hard do you want to work at either one, what would you like to risk; I like both the same to answer your question. I’ve never been a person to say, “oh this dude is more legit, look how much he has bombed.” So what, who cares? If you are good you’re good I don’t care how you do it, just what it looks like, this world doesn’t need more trash so please don’t add to it.

What is the Minneapolis street art scene like? How does it compare to the art scene in other cities you’ve been to?

First and foremost, I would say Minneapolis street art scene is pretty crippled, you can owe that to a heavy buff, tough law enforcement on graffiti/street art and just the winter. All of it contributes negatively to what people are doing. Also as far as better cities top three: NEW YORK, MELBOURNE AND BARCELONA.

"SketchBook 2011" by Peyote

How do you think art and hip hop coincide, and how are they important to each other?

Same thing, different medium maybe. I guess I listened to a lot more hip-hop growing up now it seems like I almost reverted to shittier music for the lack of a better term…

Have you had any run-ins with law enforcement concerning your art?

Actually just the other day I was chased but luckily didn’t get caught, I consider myself a lucky person although I’m sure there is just something much worse than getting arrested awaiting me.

Do you think there’s something that musicians can learn from the street artist ethic?

I guess be prolific? Should get somewhere eventually. That’s a pretty big law.

What do you want people to take away from your artwork?

Whatever they like, I don’t want people to make assumptions about the person who made it more than anything. I would rather they just take away something personal that they can relate to, if they can at all.

What do you have in the works right now?

Yeah I have a show in NYC December 15th at Pandemic Gallery in Crooklyn. Come see it if you can, lots of great people on the roster including but not exclusive to, FARO, 27, DR.CRAB, OZE 108, GEN 2 the list goes on…

Any last thoughts or shout outs?

Yeah shout out to Steakmob, Palmetto Family, RIP CHARLIE MARKS, my good friend Elberto Mueller who just put out a book titled “The Autopsy of 2009”, awesome read cop it on, and my biological family of course as well as anybody who is behind me, you all know who you are.

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