Meet Peyton, the Artist
My name is Peyton, the Artist, and I am an evolving creator who is mostly known for my visual artwork. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was always surrounded by inspiring, artistic individuals and placed in creative atmospheres that nurtured authenticity. This pushed me to go after my dreams of becoming an all-around artist at a young age and to find out what truly made me unique. Since I was as young as 4 years old, I was already drawing and painting my own pictures, and as children tend to do at that age, spent most of my time in my own world creating. My parents, who are some of the most creative individuals I’ve ever known, fostered freedom of expression through art in our household and never tried to quiet that artistic voice inside of me, or be a hinderance to my growth as an evolving creator. Today, they always show me drawings and paintings that I created on scrap pieces of paper when I was little and videos of myself dancing to old school music, rapping to Lakeside and Grandmaster Flash, and running back and forth from the kitchen to get pots, pans, and spatulas to bang on and create music with. There was never a moment in my house where I wasn’t trying something new or attempting to materialize the many worlds that existed in my imagination. This is all thanks to my parents who always made it a priority of theirs to not only provide me with what they could to help me create but to participate in the many processes of manifesting the ideas that floated around in my little head.
My dad, an architect and artist, and mom, an interior designer/event planner, also have extensive backgrounds in visual art and design. My dad’s paintings portray and celebrate Blackness and our regal history as a people, which were the first visual influences that inspired me as a child to start painting. My mom, who has a ridiculously amazing eye for detail and visual balance, is excellent at calligraphy and highlighting the little things that we normally wouldn’t see in an area or space. She also comes from a family of musicians and artists, which influenced me to learn how to play the piano, violin, and guitar. Music has definitely been one of those driving tools and sources of inspiration behind a lot of my artwork alongside others such as street art and other mediums displayed in the Los Angeles area.
I never really thought when I was a kid that I would continue into my adulthood with painting let alone graduate to the point where I am, today. In fact, my three biggest dreams as a child that I was adamant about achieving were becoming a fashion designer, architect, and musician because I was surrounded mostly by individuals who designed clothes, played music, or were into creative construction and community development. But life has a funny way of bringing you full-circle back to your roots where you started, and somehow intertwining those childhood dreams and talents together to shape who you will become in the future.
I’ve stumbled upon numerous obstacles and roadblocks along the path to reaching my goals, and am still making mistakes here and there to this day. The number one roadblock that I have had to overcome on the journey to unlocking my imagination and finally allowing my senses, emotions, and life experiences to work together to speak through my artwork, is myself.
Sometimes, I can be a little timid, and am extremely critical of myself, especially when it comes to creating and sharing my art. For many years, due to a series of traumatizing events that I experienced outside of my household while growing up, I was very closed off and lived in a protective shell that I had created to block out anything and anyone that I might have suspected would try to hurt me, lower my self-esteem, or even scarier, truly want to get to know the real me. Like many artists, I have struggled with opening myself up and allowing what’s inside of me and what I have been through to come out and speak my
For the longest time, I use to think that if I shared with my peers the parts of myself that made me who I was – which are my high standards in God and being Black – that it would drive them away. But little do many of us think to ourselves, that it is the truth that will speak to the hearts and minds of other people who could be struggling with the same things; trying to discover their own uniqueness; or, simply searching for the truth in a world where everything has been masked and disguised. As my mom always tells me, “It’s not all about you, Peyton. Your art is for other people to discover the truth more than it is for you. So, don’t hold back.” And that is my message to anyone out there who is looking for that reassurance or sign that it’s it okay to be yourself, make mistakes along the
way, and unapologetically speak the truth. Don’t hold back.
The name, Peyton, the Artist, was created by my friends and family who called me this in reference
to my oil paintings. Though I am still currently developing my voice and personality as an artist, my style of artwork currently ranges between expressive and political, and surrounds the theme of Blackness.
In my portraits, I like to highlight the internal characteristics that make my subjects stand out the most along with their exterior features. My most recent work has involved raw materials such as gold dust, pigments, and gold foil, which not only fits aesthetically into my work, but enhances the regality that already lives in each of my subjects. My political pieces, on the other hand, express and educate people about the truth of the times that we live in with regards to the Black community in America, and bring to the forefront our hard, but rich history. To be a person of color is to be royal, fearless, and resilient. That is the message that I try to exude through all my artwork no matter who or what the subject is. That is my job as a Black artist.
There’s no rule book on how to be a “real” creative/artist. It’s either already in you, or not. It’s up to you to train and exercise the gifts and talents that God instilled in you. Yes, you can look up and reach out to other people and outlets in your creative field for guidance and support on which directions to go in, but it really is all you at the
end of the day. After all, it’s your journey, and no one else can embark on it for you.
With that being said, success is really what you make it out to be. Even though it seems to be extremely difficult in this day and age with all the distractions that we have around us for individuals to define for themselves what makes something successful, and more importantly, what makes them stand out in society, it is not impossible. My criteria for defining whether I have truly achieved something good or if I have done my part as an artist, is if what I have done or created has convicted/inspired my peers and audiences to take action in their own lives to be better, and do better. As long as you have breath in your lungs and have a mind of your own to think with, you have not failed at turning the tables in your life and inspiring someone else to do the same in the process. Take a break from social media, get a notebook and pencil, go on google and research, and step out of your various comfort zones to really find out what it is that makes your wheels turn – what inspires you to be you.