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March 18, 2019 1:38 pm

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Pen & Ink Artistry Of John Peterson On Display At Saugatuck Center For The Arts

      A fascinating illustrated world, brought to life in the complex pen & ink drawings of artist John Peterson, is currently on display at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver Street).  

   The drawings are on display in the Art Center’s educational wing during the winter months; Free admission Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5pm and during evening events. 

     The works are for sale with all proceeds benefiting the Saugatuck Schools’ art programs.

     The suite of Peterson’s ink drawings are a series of highly imaginative faces. Each incredibly detailed drawing features a completely unique visage, replete with headpieces. 

     A careful look at each headpiece – and even the backgrounds surrounding the faces – reveals countless drawings carefully hidden in the details.

     “It’s like the ultimate ‘Where’s Waldo’,” said Whitney Valentine, SCA Education Coordinator. “Peterson’s drawings are breathtaking in their originality and detail, and they’re also terribly humorous. The artist clearly had a great time making these drawings and is challenging the viewer to have some fun too.”

     Born in Chicago around 1949 without his left arm, Peterson was an extraordinarily talented, eccentric artist who left behind countless evidences of his creative spirit.  

     Peterson attended art schools across the country including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Laguna Beach School of Art, and the Mendocinio Art Center. 

     He spent time living and travelling on the West Coast, the Midwest, and the Southeast. 

     As Peterson travelled from town to town, he supported himself by creating intricate drawings of landscapes and homes, painting colorful murals, and turning to generous locals to fill in the gaps: an ideal life for a man who was only interested in following his passion and sharing his work.

     According to Saugatuck resident Judy Oberholtzer, who owns the drawings and was a long-time friend of Peterson’s, art had been important to him since he was a child. 

     Born into an artistic family, Peterson said he remembered drawing at the age of three and browsing a book on Hieronymous Bosch, the fifteenth-century northern European artist. 

     Bosch’s detailed paintings and engravings, bursting with symbolism and imagination, had an impact on the young artist.  

     Peterson passed away in 2008. 

     Valentine says she is delighted to have Peterson’s works on display for the public – and for children taking classes at the Art Center.  “John had an extraordinary talent which children immediately recognize. 

     “These works are at the same time playful and amazing,” said Valentine. “And I think he would have appreciated that the proceeds from sale of his pieces are supporting art programs for the next generation of young artists.”

     Pieces may be purchased at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts during regular business hours. 

Pen & Ink Artistry Of John Peterson On Display At Saugatuck Center For The Arts

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