Peter Horvath is a Canadian multimedia and collage artist, whose collages manipulate and rework images drawn from popular culture. Horvath uses scale, juxtaposition, and saturated color in order to create surreal, often humorous artworks.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I come from a lineage of image-makers. Both my grandfathers and my father were photographers.
I created my first series when I was 6 years old. I decided to photograph each of my friends individually, in my room, while holding an object – a car model, piggy bank, etc.
After that, when I was a bit older, I photographed parked cars individually. I would lay out these small Instamatic photographs on the floor and put them in an order that made sense to me, sometimes random, sometimes chronological, sometimes in a grid pattern or shape. What I came to understand at an early age is that groups of images help tell a larger story, which influenced my attraction to use found objects through collage & assemblage. So I guess I realized I was an artist at a very early age.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
I am inspired by urban infrastructures, decaying street postering, and vintage movie posters; the work of Alexander Calder, Jenny Holzer, and the Dadaist John Heartfield; Francis Bacon’s sublime paintings and my painter friends James Lahey and Shelley Adler who influenced me to experiment with paint in my assemblages.
Also, a huge influence is music – I tend to work with headphones on – so in particular presently, John Coltrane & Kendrick Lamar, whose music strikes me often as audio collages.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
I am the lone wolf.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
My assemblage series “Heroes” is ongoing. I bring together street ephemera, movie posters, photographs, ink, acrylic and spray paint, creating densely layered portraits using imagery of iconic and celebrated public figures.
I obscure the central character with peeling, torn paper fragments, and paint, frenetically surrounding a stilled subject. When I began making these works I considered how we have become a society obsessed with aging, clinging to, and in pursuit of our emblems of youth.
The images of the people I choose for these portraits have strength and vitality. I place them among the wreckage of crumbling, entropic elements – suggesting nothing lasts forever.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Jazz musician. But then that is an artist too, isn’t it?
I’ve never done anything other than relying on my creativity (I sold t-shirts in a shop for 3 days when I was 18 but quickly realized it wasn’t for me) so I can’t imagine anything else.
Have you found any other artists on Singulart whose work you admire?
Niki Hare’s work is great – we’ve been in a couple of shows together.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
Filter out the noise, just keep making the work.