I once took a touristy picture for a man in Seattle, and as he shook my hand, he introduced himself the Japanese Ambassador to the United States. It was a staggering moment. I have also seen Tom Cruise in the flesh, and once I received a note from Johnny Depp. These are all “storybook” people to me, and these were all story book interactions, with no real sense of connection.
Recently my favorite character stepped outside the story book, and when I heard his voice and his sweet, nervous giggle, I realized that he is just another inquisitive soul, wandering through life with eyes wide open, looking for ways to express what he sees and loves. His name is Peter Gullerud.
I spent a day in the fall of 2002 painting with my friend Julie, and she looked at my painting and said “It reminds me a little of Gullerud.” I said, “who?” I didn’t remember that name from ANY of my art classes, books, museums… And yet she seemed shocked and horrified at my ignorance. Later that day I Googled “Gullerud” and discovered everything I wanted my art to be: varied, intense, yet at ease; imaginative, soulful, vibrant, at times simple & understated, detailed, expressive… something that just flowed, without hesitation or doubt.
I started a small collection of whatever of his art I could afford. Small pieces: pen & ink drawings, Prismacolor, even some pencil drawings. I’ve gathered mostly things of a gestural and not finely finished nature. For the past seven years I have adored Peter Gullerud’s “Insider-Outsider” art, and have at times, I must admit, passed on that shocked, disdainful, “What do you mean you’ve never heard of him?” look that Julie gave me that day.