Peter Max – American Icon
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Peter Max is not only an artist; he is an icon for pop culture. He has added light and color to every aspect of American society. From presidential portraits, to music cd covers, to the big stages of sports championships; Peter Max has had an inspiration on every level of the totem pole in the USA and the world.
Max was born in 1937 in Berlin, Germany. In order to escape the Holocaust, Maxs family moved to Shanghai, China in 1938. After living there for 10 years, Max and his family bounced around different countries until ultimately settling in New York City. Growing up in many different areas of the world, Peter used his experiences to develop his mind; which would later have a tremendous impact on his artwork. A surprising influence on the young Peter was: American comic books, jazz music, and even movies fresh out of Hollywood.
When your mom is a fashion designer, you will sometimes be part of the designing. Peters mother would leave all types of art supplies on their balconies. She told him to express his mind and that she would clean up the mess he makes. After this, the family moved to Israel where young Peter studied Fauvism under the watch of Professor Honik.
Peter started his real art studies at the Students League in Manhattan, NY. There he was under the care of Frank Riley and was trained by George Bridgeman, who was considered to be one of the great anatomist of the twentieth century. During the class day, 8am to 8pm, Max worked hard at every aspect of producing the best realism copies he could. His commitment didnt end in the classroom. On weekends, you could find Peter in museums studying the masters of the techniques.
Upon leaving the League, Peter was in search of a showcase to exhibit his work. The art director for a record company stumbled upon Maxs work, and immediately had him make a cover for the blues musician Maede Lux Lewis. Within completion of this cover, Peter was awarded the annual Society of Illustrators award, and many more titles would follow.
While the Beatles brought the American renaissance of the 60s to music; Hair brought it to Broadway; and Max was bringing it to his paintings. With his gained popularity, not only did he make it onto television screens, he made it into 72 businesses. From clocks for General Electric to Burlington Mills socks, and even a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft! Maxs artwork was everywhere you looked. Peter Max was and still is an American icon.