Today’s Notable Young Professional is Montreal-based artist Peter Farmer, who offers some great inspiration for those looking to balance their passions and career. Here’s where he sees himself in five years and whether or not he thinks money equals happiness…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
When it comes to art, I live and breath it. For half the week I am marketing director for a Montreal-based company and for the other half I am painter. I have been painting for 18 years and have exposed many collections across the country. Over the past 7 years I have specialized in live painting, which has taken me all over the world performing. My attention to just one discipline would bore me.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was studying for an anatomy and physiology exam in university, planning on medical school. In order to remember all the parts of the body I would draw it out. The mother of my girlfriend at the time saw the drawings and asked if I ever considered going into art. That’s all I needed to drop out of university and start my art path.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
When creating art, it has the potential to stay forever; hundreds of years after you are gone. The ideas and emotions remain for other people to share and enjoy and knowing that makes what I do exciting and worthwhile. The challenge is the problem solving aspect. If you duplicate what you have always done, your art becomes a craft. As a creative you must always strive to innovate new solutions and grow your own art.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
When inspiration dies out. Inspiration comes in waves I find, but it always flows one way or another. I have had dead spots. Those were the times I was so consumed I barely had the confidence to create.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years time I see Montreal still as my home. I love this city and all the people here. I could do with a little less cold. I am heading to Panama for a live painting tour in the next week. Setting up networks and connections in that booming country has been a long-term goal of mine. If all goes as planned I will be spending my winters there in less than five years.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I have had many successes but I have had my fair share of setbacks all the way. Juggling all these elements is necessary to an artist’s survival. You are not often handed opportunities. You have to fight for them. I have had several businesses, which I have owned, opened and closed over the years. Every experience taught me something new.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Money does not equal happiness. Wealth, I think, is what we are all after – the balance of money and the time to share it with those you love.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I have had many amazing experiences that have motivated me to push my art. I look for them. One memorable one was a solo art show I was planning at the Marriott Grand Ballroom (Chateau Champlain) with Na’eem Adam (Co-founder of Le Burger Week and La Poutine Week) back in 2008. We decided to do a promo event before the big gala show. The idea was to have a nude pose while I painted her in front of the invited guests. The event went so well and the electricity in the room was so powerful that I quit the idea of the solo art show to pursue live painting.
Having said, that I have not given up on the solo show in Montreal. I am bringing it back this spring in the old port at Galerie 203 on May 14th. It will be the biggest solo event I have ever embarked on. It’s called The Hanging Gardens, so look out for it!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Network. No matter what you do, make sure you are surrounding yourself with winners who have the same big vision as you. You will always be the average of who you surround yourself with.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I am a Mile End lad, so I like to be close to home. I recently have been hitting up Buvette Chez Simone, Kabinet or Sparrow. The soon to be open Maison Sociale will definitely be one of my spots.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I am constantly doing “me” things; I like to go to work so I get a break from me. I can really annoy myself after a while.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I am a huge history buff, so I would love to go back to Italy. It’s so rich in art and culture. Maybe do an apprenticeship under a master painter for a few months. I always want to learn more.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I have done lots of work for charities. Art is a great way to raise money for great causes. I have created artwork for Movember, the Underwear Affair, Cervical Cancer (Toronto’s Julyna). Hmm, I guess I have been doing a lot of cancer fundraisers that have something to day with private parts…
What to you is notable?
Bringing beautiful things into this world. We all have art forms in our careers that we share, and we should be proud of them. Things we have made in an exceptional way, things we make beautiful. I believe notable things make our world a more beautiful place.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, but I think its time to get a new one soon.