Eye am super excited about this next Dabble Talks. Peat and I serendipitously met at his studio for the first time about a month ago. Having passed his gallery 2222 almost every day on my way to and home from work, it was great to finally put a name to a face; and to start working together to build a special Dabble class which you can sign up for here. This is Peat’s story. It’s long. It’s rich. Enjoy!
How long have you been painting?
My whole life! But I started doing Stencil Graffiti back in 2002 and have tried to perfect the technique ever since. Eye can’t wait to share 13 years of experience at my upcoming stencil class on March 11 at 2222 S. Jefferson!
I’m sure you’ve been asked this question before. How did you start painting eyes and why have you kept painting them for so long?
It was right after i did a limited edition bottle of Moutain Dew, and I had some extra cash in my pocket. I bought a 1963 snub nose econoline pick-up truck. At this time I was mostly creating portraits of people, but all of these portraits had these Eyes staring deep in to your soul (stenSOUL)… so I took those eyes and cut a massive pattern to paint on the side of the truck, this was the birth of EYEZ. I then took those eyez down to one Red Eye, the red eye symbolizes life since we all have red blood running through our veins. I then started to put eyez all over the streets and waking up Parking meters, Fire Hydrants and other inanimate objects by just giving them some eyes… and the rest is history.
You had an exhibit displaying eyes on trains over in Maplewood. Can you talk about that?
I met a scrapper on Instagram about two years ago and he was scrapping full sized locomotives and invited me to come out to his yard in East Saint Louis. This is any graffiti artist dream, so for over a year and a half, I went out to the yard and painted faces on the front of 13-15 trains, took photos of them and then proceeded to pick these locos, bells, side mirrors, train doors and even the entire front of a Union Pasific Locomotive. I then hauled these items to my studio and used them as my canvas’ for my “Eyez on Trains” exhibt which was at Hoffman LAChance Contemporary last december and sold out of most of the train part paintings!
This video will explain most of this crazy show https://vimeo.com/114320360
What is the difference between graffiti and stencil? Your work incorporates both. Can you talk about both in terms of how they are perceived as street art?
I usually do not consider myself a graffiti artist, even though I got my start in this world back in the 90’s. I look at stencils artists like myself and Banksy are more about the imagery than the name game and having conversations with the people who find our stencils in the streets. I believe that most Street artists have a motivation to beatify the streets versus taking them over. There is a big difference in Street Beatification versus Vandalism and my motives are to wake up this world through the use of public art.
The St. Louis Graff scene is mostly just 2 or 3 crews that are running game here, I know many of these guys and like how small it is….b ut would really like to see more Street art and miurals pop up. I would say that Street art is very minimal here, but am very stoked when i see a stencil or a wheat paste on the streets. I do get to NYC a couple times a year and love to see all the street art and am always leaving some eyez and murals there when i visit. Other great cities in the US to see great street art is Miami (Wynwood), LA, SF, Philly, and Chicago.
Bonnaroo recently commissioned you for a really cool project and you’re currently working on a set design for TED X Gateway Arch. Where else have you recently shown your work?
Yes Bonaroo commissioned me to create a two sculptures to be hung in the Nashville airport for the last year featuring my EYEZ and there logo, this recently came down and is now hanging in School of Rock here in St. Louis and one in my studio. I was TED’s first artist in residence here in st. louis and commissioned me to design a set that looked like the street had been brought to the stage. I also gave a TedTalk and was crazy nervous to get up on stage. They gave me a few speech coaches that really helped me with public speaking and even in speaking with other in my daily business. Well to my dis belief the talk was really well received, eye left some people in tears and got a standing ovation! I also recently did a Live art event with URNewYork at Urban outfitters in NYC and am really wanting to but the EyezBrand Clothing line out to the whole US in 2015.
COFFEE BABY…sweet and Creamy!
What music are you listening to when you work?
Eye love funk music and 90’s hip-hop. A really great radio stream I listen to that incorporates both is called wefunkradio.com def great music to cut stencils to!
Something about STL that people should know… And didn’t know.
Many do not realize that we have one of the Largest Graffiti Walls in St. Louis just south of the arch that is almost 2 miles long. Do you self a favor and visit this or go to @paintlouis on instramgram
Name some local artists that deserve a shout out…
Some of my favorite local artists are Cbabi Bayoc (who is my studio mate at 2222 S. Jeffereson), Alicia LaChance, Killer Napkins, Ender, Art Monster, Mitch Bierer, Justin Tolentino, William Lobdell, Jarvis and way too many more to list…such a great art scene in the STL…Get out and see more art! We have a Keith Haring tribute show coming to my gallery at 2222 S. Jeffereson on March 21, from 7-10pm featuring works my Dave Otiz (NYC), Adam Dare (NYC), Eric Orr (NYC) and Charlie Houka (STL) whom works have been influenced by the artist Keith Haring. Not to miss!
What are you dabbling in when you’re not painting, and stenciling
I got my start in Music, and played in many ska bands in the 90’s. I recently got a really sweet Midi Gutair that sounds like 20 different instruments with a flick of a button, super fun! You can hear a song I just wrote for Stange Donuts, I was recently on their Strange house podcast and played a song on this crazy guitar for them at the end of the show.
What’s your best piece of advice?
Don’t get in to art to make a money. Try to get a day gig that pays your bills that will give you time to explore what art to put out in the world as yours. Once you figure that out, try to do some group shows to get the work out there and possibly on the streets. Once you start getting collectors of your work, then set a date for a solo exhibit, having a date set will motivate you to produce more art and will give you a deadline to have it all completed by. Also, get a studio where you can leave messy and keep as a place to create. And be sure to get your art on all the amazing social networking platforms like instagram and you will reach people all over the globe from st. louis. So once you have accomplished all this and are spending more time creating art to pay bills, then now would be the time to consider going full time as an artist. GOOD LUCK!
To see more of Peat Eyez work go to