About

I paint space, I flow color and I hear voices.

© 2017 Alicia R Peterson, Color Storm. Acrylic on canvas, 29 x 18,” $1900. Photo: Peter Scheer Yes, I felt an internal storm while creating this painting. This work is featured in my video below.

 

 

The voice inside my head would not be silenced.

Out of the blue in 1994, I was commanded to paint. Over and over I heard only a single word, “PAINT.” I ignored the voice but it became louder and louder… relentlessly taking over my life.

I argued back with the voice, “I am a Doctor of Audiology. I have never painted in my life and you can’t make me!” My inner Buddha, a.k.a. “The Voice”, won this argument hands down and damn, she is a force not to be reckoned with.

In desperation…feeling on the brink of crazy, I went to my local art supply store and was guided by a seasoned painter to choose acrylic paints. I have painted voraciously ever since.

Without knowing how, without thought, I began to paint. The voice silenced.

I saw my story slowly unfold on my canvas. It was a story I did not know.

What emerged on my canvas was an airless dank void where no light could enter. I felt unable to move with the weight of memories trapped. I did not have words for what was buried inside me but I could paint it.

The voice, my inner Buddha, commanding me to paint coincided with a time in my life when I thought my light had been extinguished.

But in creation, I saw sparkle in the darkness of my paintings…always present…always glowing… even if in just the tiniest corner of my work. Sometimes, I was compelled to paint over my light with layers and layers of black paint, but I knew my light was there, I had seen it.

© 2017, Alicia R Peterson, BioEssence. Acrylic on linen, 10 x 20,” $650. Photo: Peter Scheer

On my canvas, I found a sacred space for shadow to emerge. I found truth and clarity. I was transmuted.

But I kept silent for 2 decades. I was convinced that no one would find beauty in the shadow and the light of my work, convinced that being in the public eye would destroy me, convinced that my fear was stronger than my art.

© 2017, Alicia R Peterson, SeaBreath. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 18,” $650. Photo: Peter Scheer

But my story does not start with the call to paint.
I am a native New York City gal from the lower east side before it was hip.

I loved color (and drama evidently) even in grade school. I was salutatorian for my graduation, but I so wanted to be valedictorian. Yes, I am a keener. (LINK to BLOG) Photo: Artist

I entered the State University of New York at Binghamton at age 16 after graduating from the Bronx High School of Science. In my first semester I became fascinated with the field of Biopsychology. I helped pay for my education by being a lab assistant. I ran rats and mice through mazes investigating the effects of various brain lesions.

Midcourse, I realized that although I was captivated by the workings of the brain, I had way less interest in the rigors of the detail required for the study of neuro- anatomy.

© 2016 Alicia R Peterson, LifeBlood. Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36,” $1600. Photo: Peter Scheer

I had a heart to heart with myself and realized I wanted to help change the world.

I became the first Women’s Studies major at Binghamton University and I interned for 2 years at the Binghamton Rape Crisis Center.

Because of the nature of that work, big time fear set in and I began martial arts training with Sensei Hidy Ochiai studying Washin-ryu Karate-Do. I practiced kata (pre-arranged techniques) and sparring (free form exchange with a partner.)

© 2016, Alicia R Peterson, Purple LifeBlood. Acrylic on linen, 30 x 24,” $1300. Photo: Peter Scheer.

The buzz from the men’s locker room was “Watch out for Peterson’s side kick” and “She does not like to lose (in sparring matches) to men.”

Yes, I will admit to having a chip on my shoulder when it came to men at the dojo. I know now that it was a fear-based chip and FYI, I have lost that chip.

I remain a fierce warrior of light. Circa 1984  Photo: Artist

When I graduated from university, I knew I could not continue being an activist for ending violence. I was unable to separate myself from what I had thought would be my life’s work. I returned to science which led to a career in Audiology, the diagnosis and rehabilitation of hearing loss.

Through three decades of work, I gave children and adults with hearing loss a voice.

Since the call to paint in 1994, I was an Audiologist by day and a painter by night, weekend and every moment I could find. I kept my work private, painting voraciously in solitude.

In 2013, I experienced a bone deep sadness that I was alone with my paintings. Where before I was comforted to be surrounded by my work, I now had a cavernous longing to be seen and heard.

© 2016, Alicia R Peterson,Yellow LifeBlood. Acrylic on linen, 24 x 18,” $750. Photo: Peter Scheer.

The fear of sharing my story remained but my visual voice was louder. My voice had found light.

I had a certainty that I must pursue my art as a profession. I jumped off a cliff and quit my job as an Audiologist. My glorious life as an artist entrepreneur began.

I was oh-so wobbly on my feet.

I began taking business classes. I incorporated Alicia R Peterson Art. I started my studies with eminent painter Stan Brodsky at the Art League of Long Island.

Shadow, was first shown at The Art of the Figure: Curated by Philip Pearlstein, Gallery North, Setauket, NY
© 2013 Alicia R Peterson, Shadow. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 36,” NFS. Photo: Christina Bohn.

Since my first painting in 1994 of odd colored, barely recognizable, flowers and larger than life question mark shaped sun…I have rejected external reality. I abstract our existence on every canvas.

Line, color, and space connect us.

In spontaneous expression, I paint our inner story and in those moments of deep vulnerability, shadow and light emerge creating an intimate dialogue.

It is a knowing deep in my bones that a painting is ready to be birthed. The tides slowly rise inside my body and I am overflowing with creation. © 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist.

The world falls away and paint pours out of me

©2017 Alicia R Peterson, Emerging. Acrylic on linen, 30 x 24 inches. $1300. Photo Peter Scheer

I have realized that it has always been about voices—giving others voice and then finding my voice through painting.
I remain honored to be a Doctor of Audiology and will talk shop with you if you ask…perhaps for too long. But I’d rather talk about my art.

Joy inside my north shore of Long Island Studio.
© 2017 Alicia R Peterson. Photo: Artist

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