Page 9 - Arts Management Magazine Iss 1
P. 9

The colorful artwork of Peter Max is among the most                Just coming out of art school my style was very apropos for the
                                                                   60s. The most defining moment for me was that I was a well-
recognizable art spanning generations since the sixties. Peter     known artist came at age 24 or 25 when I was walking through
Max defined pop culture through his art at a time when the         New York City with my then three-year-old son, Adam. Adam
Beatles were changing the world’s outlook with their music. His    viewed the four Peter Max Life magazine covers at a news
openness and willingness to meet new people and experience         stand and shouted to me “Isn't that you?” I bought all four
life for all it has to offer is what keeps him so young and rele-  copies from the news stand. When the salesman handed me
vant, seeming to never age from decade to decade. Peter Max        the issues he recognized the cover photo was me and pulled out
is a wonderfully welcoming man with talent that one not only       two more copies of the magazine asking for me to sign, which
visually sees on his canvases but also can feel in his aura.       I proudly did.
Peter Max is so much more than a mere artist that garnered         CRW: The word psychedelic automatically brings to mind
fame for his color filled statements of beautiful artwork. I feel  Peter Max-How does it make you feel that your name is used to
so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know the man    define the word and was such an important part of the 1960s to 70s?
behind the work that impacted my life as a child of the 60s and
70s. Peter Max has taken viewers out of this atmosphere and
into a colorful cosmic world filled with color and love through
decades of war and peace. The humble Max has transcended
political party lines getting to know, and proudly painting for,
six United States Presidents including painting six renditions of
the Statue of Liberty at the White House for President and Mrs.
Reagan and painting 100 portraits of President Clinton span-
ning 20 feet wide by 5 feet high.

Peter Max was born in Germany but spent most of his child-
hood growing up living in Shanghai, China where he began to
develop his artistic abilities and his true love of art.

Carol Ruth Weber: What age do you remember first beginning
to create art?
Peter Max: At two years old; my father would draw with me in
Shanghai. My mother recognized my artistic talent and looked
for someone to teach me to grow my abilities. She found an artist
on the street who sent his daughter, Umba, over to begin teaching
me when I was only three years of age. She became my beloved
nanny as well.

CRW: Who first inspired you as a young artist?
PM: I studied the great artists such as Van Gogh but my father
and nanny Umba were who inspired me. When I left Shanghai
at age of ten I remember crying as I left my art teacher nanny
and beloved kitty behind.

As a side note Max discussed how he made his first friend as a     PM: It was just a period! I do not view myself as a psychedelic
boy in New York.                                                   person but as a Yogi. Although most link the Beatles with bring-
My family moved to Israel and Paris before making our final        ing awareness of yoga to the public it was myself who actually
move to New York in the 1950s. I was in a new world as a young     brought yoga into the mainstream in the United States. After
teenager. I met my first friend in the school locker room after    studying yoga with Swami Satchidananda I brought him to
hearing a startling musical note being sung. The operatic voice    America. After opening yoga centers, I received a phone call
belonged to Paul Sorvino who I am still close friends with.        from George Harrison, with Ringo, proudly telling me that
CRW: When did you first feel that you were finally publicly        they also had their own Swami Maharishi Mahesh in England.
recognized as an artist?                                           CRW: Even though no credit was given to Peter Max for the
PM: The first time I sat with Johnny Carson I was on air for       movie “Yellow Submarine” people automatically acknowledge
25 minutes and went on to being a guest on Johnny Carson’s
Tonight Show three more times. I also appeared on the Ed Sulli-
van show. Ed Sullivan followed that show by devoting an entire
show to me.

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