Artist Spotlight: Gio Black Peter
Gio Black Peter is the kind of artist who creates artwork, videos, and music that make you want to create these things yourself. He makes it look easy and joyous to access the best and most vital parts of your creativity. Clearly, this young man is having fun.
The Advocate: Why are you an artist?
Gio Black Peter: I don't know how not to be one. It's how I cope with life. In fact, I don't understand how anyone can function without expressing themselves through some form of art.
What catches your eye?
Everything around me; the shiny bits, the shitty bits. People. I'm currently working on a series of people on ceramic tiles.The tiles are as individual as the people. I found them in a box on the street near my apartment. I want to display them all together. For example, there will be a portrait of a middle-aged woman next to a Latin teenager. Lots of different types of people. All beautiful in their own way — like the tiles.
Tell us about your process or techniques.
Sometimes I have a particular message I want to get across, so I enter the piece with a basic idea of what is going to happen. Sometimes I just start drawing and I let the piece guide me. The results are always perfect because they are genuine and unique to that moment.
What artists do you take inspiration from and why?
David Wojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Diego Rivera, to name a few. They challenged the system and fought injustice and oppression. That's the power of important art, and that's what I aspire to make.
Have you had any trouble, legal or otherwise, from the nature of your work?
My biggest problem comes with the censorship monster. But I am going to stand my ground. Sure, it would be more lucrative if I dedicated my time making nonconfrontational work, but I will never conform. There is nothing wrong with nudity and sexuality. We live in a sick society that embraces war culture and promotes and glamorizes violence. The latest battle came with my new music video Revolving Door (New F*ck New York) which was directed by Bruce LaBruce. It took longer to upload then it did for the video to be taken down and banned from the Internet. The saddest part was when it took me half that time to find a video on YouTube of two idiots punching themselves in the face until they were bloody pulps. What does this say about our society?
The “Communion” pieces: Have any of them been installed, and, uh, used?
They were on display as part of a group show last year in New York. Yes they've all been used and blessed by the pope himself.
Can you tell us about the experience with SUPERM?
Collaborating with SUPERM (a.k.a Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny) is always organic and enjoyable. Whether its through paintings, videos, photos or installations. We've gotten to the point where we can communicate without speaking. They are great guys and talented artists. I feel lucky to have them as friends and as collaborators.
You are a young artist and seem to be making use of the popularity you have now. Tell us where you see yourself in 20 years?
Still making art and still standing my ground.
Gio Black Peter (born Giovanni Andrade Paolo Guevara) is a New York-based performance artist as well as an ardent visual artist. He examines text and subject, truth and fakery, rebellion and authority.
His subversive work quickly earned him a name in the downtown New York scene of young emerging artists who participate in today's dialogue about the deconstruction of high profile, white box presentation and the desire to raise art awareness. At the core of Black Peter's thinking is the idea that the life of art depends on the viewer’s willingness to suspend his or her rational thoughts and play into the believability of lies and realistic falsehoods. Familiarity and a seductive aesthetic draw the viewer back to Black Peter’s art — a visceral exploration of vulnerability and self-reflection.
Since 2007, Gio Black Peter has performed and exhibited work worldwide, including New York, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Bergen, London, Antwerp, Tokyo, and Paris. He has also appeared as an actor in James Bolton's film Eban and Charley (2001) and Bruce LaBruce's film Otto; or, Up with Dead People (2008). He continues to grow and develop his range as an artist.
"I Fought in a War," a solo exhibition of new work on canvas. BrianRiley1 ProjectSpace, New York City, February
Gio Black Peter New York Artist: A documentary by Manuel M Mercier. Release date TBA 2012.
Don't Tell Me Nothing ft. Strobo Monsters: Music video directed by CyCy Sanderrs. Release date December 2011.
Below: Gio Black Peter performs "Pope Sex"