American artist and illustrator Peter Devito creates images of the future. The young photographer walks us through his creating process and tells us why he’d rather create works with meaning that promote body positivity, self-acceptance, and equality.
HI Peter, first of all tell us where you’re from?
I’m from Long Island, New York.
How would you describe the work you create?
I would describe the work I create as current. In a lot of my recent work, I have tried to focus on societal issues that have finally gotten attention. I feel, as an artist, I have an obligation to raise awareness because if we don’t talk about these things, they are never going to change.
What do you want viewers to take from your images?
It varies on the image, but for the majority of my recent work, I’ve been trying to put forth messages of body positivity, self-acceptance, and equality.
You currently work as an Illustrator also; do you feel photography or Illustration is where your heart lies?
I am currently pursuing a degree in illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I picked up photography as a hobby, and have really grown to love it. Ideally, I wouldn’t have to choose between illustration and photography because I would love to be able to continue doing both.
In a statement you describe your work as “My work tells the story I can’t vocalize, the story I can’t describe with words” elaborate on this?
Some people may find this statement ironic because my images incorporate words, but it’s not about the words themselves. To me, it’s more about where the words are placed in a work.
Talk to us about your series “Wash Away Racism” how did this come about?
The “Wash Away Racism” series was a project I worked on last year where I would place temporary tattoos on models’ faces of phrases that signified racial stereotypes. Then I would have the models go into a shower and wash the phrases off in order to show how society should stop stereotyping people based on race and/or appearances. This project came about because I have always thought about people in societies perception of one another, the first thing they see is a person’s appearance. Appearance can lead to assumptions about race and race can lead to assumptions about who a person is.
What does curating mean to you personally?
Having ideas and figuring out which ones to create is one of the hardest processes. I used to create work for myself, but as time has gone on, I find myself leaning more towards creating work that benefits others.
Which place would excite you on an artistic level?
I’m lucky enough to already be in a place that excites me on an artistic level. I was fortunate enough to grow up just outside of NYC, and it has always felt like I belong there. There are so many different people from so many different backgrounds, and the amount of diversity is really inspiring.
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