Peter Schacht is a Kitchener-based illustrator and visual artist who specializes’ in painting portraits and interpretive narratives using uniquely stylized figures and animals. While attending Sheridan College in Oakville Peter majored in Interpretive Illustration that consisted of studies in Book, Editorial and Advertising Illustration. Shortly after graduating he became an Assistant Project Coordinator for KOR Gallery & Studios where he received two six-month contracts from the Youth Service Canada Project. During this time Peter continued to work at a local art supply store. With his personable nature he began a dialogue one day at the store with an established Illustrator. The following conversations led him to a job as a Studio Assistant. Working and learning along side an Editorial Illustrator helped inspire him to create an original world of figures and animals of his own.
Encouraged by family members including his mother Patricia who is a gifted pastel artist he applied and was accepted into the 2004 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. This venture marked his first step into the area of fine art display in a public space. He still holds that exhilarating weekend experience very close to his heart. A few years later he was awarded Honourable Mention in the Mixed Media category at the same exhibition. Peter continues to pursue and participate in gallery shows along with indoor and outdoor art fairs in south central Ontario. As he moves forward in his artistic endeavours he remains passionate about presenting a unique vision and style within his portraiture as well as in human and animal narratives that reflect upon life, past, present and future.
My fascination with the human and animal condition continues to challenge me when interpreting such moving themes of personal strength, growth and change within our daily existence. Inspiration is found in stories past and present that share and reveal how living organisms are connected to one another and how they thrive everyday. These stories often leave an impression, whether it’s the emotional, physical or spiritual connections within life found around me or those imagined and read in various publications.
Each new idea is looked at as a beginning to a visual story in which the figure(s), animal(s) or the human face are the primary subjects. The positioning and size of each subject is the key; they set my stories in motion, always creating a feeling of joy within me as I shape and place them. The bodies in my figure and animal pieces are stylistically exaggerated in order to create wonder as well as expand the negative spaces that surround them. The symbols and objects that accumulate in these negative spaces help link each relationship, and add to the overall narrative. The environments that surround the main subjects frame each story, and help pull the composition together.
I paint on carefully selected pieces of wood that contain spontaneous areas of texture. With the additional use of wood carving tools I’ve been able to enhance the texture by removing pieces while still maintaining the natural patterns. I feel that working on found wood compliments my deep interest in people/portraits, wildlife and the environment by linking each element with the steady flow of surface relief. Through constant experimentation with colour and layering using graphite, modeling paste, acrylic and oil, I have discovered that each is equally important and has a purpose within my process.
As I anticipate moving forward, I will continue to draw inspiration from life as I see and feel it. I hope through the steady development of my style and each new idea that springs to mind that I continue to be challenged while facing new possibilities.