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Peter Triantos – The Emerging Contemporary Art Superstar


BY GEORGE WAYNE

 

The world’s next emerging pop art star could very well be Canadian, and he goes by the name Peter Triantos.

 

The Canadian contemporary artist is receiving burgeoning international acclaim for his dynamic, supremely visual abstract works whose signature use of vivid, free flowing forms, command respect from his native Toronto to Shanghai and now New York City where the artist just debuted his first one-man show in the capital of the world.

 

The supine elegance of his splotches and swirls are so sinuous and expressive. On first glance, it is not at all hard to be surprised that his original narrative commands a growing audience amongst the art world cognoscenti.

 

”Nobody truly perceives abstract art in the same way, and my technique is to just let my sub-conscious flow to just free my mind, release all compunction and just let it flow.”

 

Peter Triantos is a bundle of nervous energy. He speaks with the rasp of a gangster bit-extra from a vintage episode of the Sopranos. And he looks the part too. His toned brawny torso glints with constant movement and hand gestures.  His hyper-active,over-enthused joy – his uber-febrile personality is unquestionably intoxicating. And it is quite the testament to see how he translates all that to his riotously colorful abstract compositions.

 

The Peter Triantos canvases that GW requires as a must-have, and the best current art world investment would be the paintings from your ”Jelly Bean Series”. I love the immediate emotional joy those paintings bring. There is an immediate Triantos signature work. Talk about your jelly-bean paintings – as you have dubbed them.
This series here, the ”Jelly Bean Series” have been some of my best selling paintings. That series all started one afternoon in my Toronto studio where I was working on three different canvases all at the same time….
Wait a minute! Is that how you always work? You work on more than one painting at the same time? Is that the core to the Peter Triantos creative process?
Yes I do. I have multiple empty canvases lining my studio, some are hanging, some are not, and I sometimes move from one to the next. But what I was imagining for this painting, as with all my paintings – is just not to think about it. I just paint. I am in my studio from around to 8am to 7pm at night. People ask me how long it takes to create a piece of work. And I always say it takes 56 years. {The artist is 56-years-old}.

 

Then I look at the work you have dubbed ”The Napa Valley Series” and can immediately see why some naysaying critics of your work would scoff and say they look like very poor Jackson Pollock imitations.
These are not drip paintings a-la-Pollock. First of all I don’t drip the paint. I throw it. I just throw the paint. You’re right – I think my jelly bean paintings are also pretty powerful.

 

Personally, I am not fond of your ”Napa Valley Series”. Your strongest work emerges with your ”Jelly Bean Series” and your ”SP2”.
The corporations and big companies love the ”SP2 Series” of works. We do very well with those larger pieces.
Those are gorgeous and original signature statements. I see those work and I say – ”Aaah, that is a Triantos!” And that is what every great artist wants from an audience, to see the work and recognize immediately who the artist is. Before we go any further – I also hear that you have anecdotes from your brief encounters with the (Meghan) ”Markle Sparkle”!
She used to live on our street!  {Toronto, Canada}. She was always such a beautiful person. She lived a block away from my gallery/studio in Toronto. And then on top of all that, many of my works were featured in the last episode of season 6 of her hit TV show ‘Suits’.

 

Are there any cool, very famous Canadians who collect your work? Folk like Joe Mimran who created Club Monaco and the Joe Fresh retail brands?
I don’t know if Joe Mimran is a collector but we were both featured in the same issue of the Jewish Review Magazine, a Canadian publication! And we’re excited that we have recently signed a contract with the prestigious museum, Art Gallery of Ontario who is in the process of selecting my pieces possibly from the ‘Napa Valley’ and ‘Jelly Bean’ series.

 

I always say if you want to enjoy my paintings you cannot hold any pre-conceived notions. You just have to let loose. Just shed your skin and enjoy the art! My studio is like my aquarium. I consider myself an artist as much as I am a businessman. I love working and collaborating too with designers, architects, corporations and creating truly spectacular high-end investment art for hotels, corporate corner suites and private collectors across Europe and North America.

 

That is clearly a lucrative business. Andy Warhol would have been impressed with that business strategy. You just staged your first one-man show in New York City with a gallery I consider one of the leading post-millennial contemporary art galleries in North America – The Georges Berges Gallery on West Broadway in Soho. What was that moment like? Your first solo exhibition in Manhattan?
It was an incredible honor. It took two years of cajoling and persisting with Georges Berges to take Peter Triantos on as one of their exclusive artists and I am happy he finally got around to his senses. I am going to make him a lot of money.

 

You don’t lack for self-confidence – that much can be said Peter Triantos.
I never give up. My ultimate goal is to always seduce you with my art.

 

Talk about what you were like as a 12-year-old growing up in Canada. A first generation Canadian from a family of Greek immigrants?
To do in life what you really love and want to do is a rare thing. I feel blessed everyday that I get to do what I love doing.

 

Were you a hyper-active kid?
I don’t know where or when that happened. My brothers are really calm, but I have always been active. My family came from off the boat from the mountains of Greece. My mother and father and their three boys arrived to Canada as refugees, immigrants, from Romeri in the mountains of Greece. We were immigrants from Greece to Canada in 1966 and arriving to Canada via Halifax, Nova Scotia by boat. I was five-years-old. We got to Canada and they gave us a bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb – I remember it so well. I never even saw candy living in those Greek mountains. And here we were now in a new country half way around the world. We were Greek peasants arriving to Canada.

 

Wow! That is an amazing story. And now today you are a increasingly famous and prolific Canadian art star. Your work has to be your play or you will never be happy with your life – is what I always like to say.
Money is not important. It is about enjoying what you do with your work and your life. I tell young people all the time. You strive to please no one but yourself, first and foremost.

 

And like Andy Warhol who also famously said. ”Do something you love doing and sooner or later you will be able to sell it”. That has always been my mantra.
And to think, I never finished high school. I quit high school in Grade 9 and I never went back. I’m a high school drop-out. It is probably the best thing I ever did.

 

Unbelievable! A high-school dropout! So how did you make a living before your art?
I was a carpenter for many years, building homes. But before I was a high-school drop-out that was where the art bug hit me and where I first realized what I wanted to do with my life. I knew instantly the first time I was in middle school doodling and playing with paint and colors in early art classes. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I was immediately riveted. From that day on no teacher could tell me what I ought to do with my life. I knew it. I never finished high school but I always knew what I would be one day – an artist.

 

Tell me more – this method to your brilliant madness?
Starting on a new piece is super exciting for me. Although I sometimes have a pre-conceived notion of creating something unique and exciting, ultimately the process creates its own flow, it’s own energy. And once the work is done and seeing how that dynamic evokes every emotional chord imaginable is the best part about my job. Art moves us all in very different ways and that for me is always the most fascinating aspect of what I do.

George Wayne, Contributing Editor
Acclaimed New York-based style scribe George Wayne welcomed the opportunity to sit with New York’s influential downtown gallerist, Georges Bergès, to chat about his ‘platform for collectors.’ The Jamaican-born writer will have his ‘’quasi-memoir,’’ Anyone Who’s Anyone – The Astonishing Celebrity Interviews 1987-2016, published by HarperCollins available now.

Photo of George Wayne | John Nacion