Christopher Peterson’s inspiration comes from several sources. The first is from the subjects themselves. Using the traditional skills of drawing and painting, he can observe and express not only the physical thing but also the emotion in any given subject. Technically, any subject can be a beautiful opportunity to use paint, color and value to express the multitude of effects that light, reflection, shadow and cast shadow have on a subject.
His artistic inspiration comes from a tradition of American painting beginning with artists like N.C. and Andrew Wyeth, Charles Sheeler, Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargeant and Winslow Homer. His more contemporary influences are from artists such as Wayne Thiebaud, Chuck Close, Robert Cunningham, John Register and Richard Estes. He has always been fundamentally an illustrator though, and accordingly, has been influenced by such artists as Norman Rockwell, Milton Glaser, and James McMullan, but feels that it is important to be very discerning when choosing one’s artistic influences and prefers the traditional American realist painters.
He was born in New York City May 26, 1957, and grew up in Westport, Connecticut. His father was a salesman, and his mother was a clothing designer. Like many boys who grew up in the suburbs during the sixties, his earliest influences were The Beatles, The Monkees, Rolling Stones, Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, Peter Max and Andy Warhol.
After a moderately idyllic childhood, he went to art school in Boston, and then at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He began his career as an Illustrator in New York City in 1980 and immediately started working for The New York Times and Time magazine. Since moving to the Bay area in 1984, he has been a steady fixture in the landscape of art and design, working in newspapers, advertising, exhibit design, teaching, and as a painter and illustrator.
He has been published in the Los Angeles Society of illustrators 35 and five times in Print magazine’s regional design annual. In 1995, he won the bronze medal for advertising in the San Francisco society of illustrators show, in1996 he won gold, silver, and bronze medals in the San Francisco Society of Illustrators show. In 1999 his poster for John Lee Hooker at the Fillmore won the gold medal for advertising at the San Francisco Society of Illustrators annual show and was selected in the 41st New York Society of Illustrators show. In fact, he’s taken the gold medal for advertising four years in a row in the SFSI show. He is in the US Air Force Art program and his client list includes The New York Times, Time magazine, Fortune, Readers Digest, Watson-Guptil books, Bill Graham Presents, The String Cheese Incident, Metropolitan Entertainment, Pacific Bell, Nickelodeon, Buick, Duracell, Heineken, Goodby Silverstein, McCann-Erickson advertising, Citigate, Macy’s, Marketing Drive USA, Ogilvy & Mather, Arnold Worldwide, Dave Matthews Band and Phish