We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Healy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As an artist I believe risk is vitally important. It’s one of the key factors in the development of an artist. As a father and in my personal life, I find risk to be frightening. My mistakes have the potential to have consequences way beyond myself. Which brings it back to taking chances in my art. I look at it as an opportunity to be bigger than myself and to take chances that will make me grow and improve as an artist. Risk and change are about getting uncomfortable, but it’s one of the only ways I can evolve in real time. It can be scary, but unlike in other aspects of life, with art I get to choose what changes/risks I’ll take. When it works there is no better feeling , when it doesn’t work it maybe it will sting for a moment, but I will have certainly learned more than if I had just played safe. It feels like I get to push back against fear and the worry of failure. Even if I do fail from time to time, I have also succeeded in some ways too, so it balances out. It also keeps me looking forward and asking questions in the form of paintings and sculptures. Thats what makes it exciting, it makes me enjoy the journey and not worry about the final destination. And the more risks you take the more comfortable your relationship with risk becomes. That’s a powerful feeling.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
This year I’m most proud of a public mural I created for Houston Angels, a non-profit organization benefiting children and families in need. It was immensely satisfying to be able to contribute to something so positive. As far as getting to where I am today, I did so on a winding path, to say the least. Growing up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, adversity and tragedy are not strangers to me. I’ve thought a lot about those days this year, though our challenges have been different, many of the feelings they invoke are the same. As I did then, I now draw on my own reactions to those feelings to create something joyful, whimsical, curious, as an escape from the things we’re all faced with. I’ve learned along the way to try and do the things that frighten me the most, and that only in doing them do they become less frightening. Change is inevitable, so I try to just go with it and focus on the things that, even in the darkest of times, still manage to bring joy. Regardless of what we’re faced with, we are surrounded by color, shapes, lightness and dark. we use symbols to create language and guide each other. I try to recreate those things in an abstract way through my work. There are certainly many things going on in the world right now that deserve to be addressed, and I’m grateful that there are many talented artists out there who are doing the work of addressing them. For me, I feel like I’m called to create work that provides a respite to all that’s going on around us, and gives the viewer a break, a chance to just experience color and spontaneity and hopefully joy. Who knows, maybe it’s because that’s what I need right now.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d start with a great pastry and cup of coffee, from maybe Siphon (I’m biased because it’s a few blocks from my door) or Agora. I’d definitely make time for the CAM and the MFA, but top of the list in terms of museums would be the Menil and Rothko Chapel and the surrounding grounds. The reflection pool is a place we walk to with our kids often. There’s great Korean BBQ and Japanese BBQ in mid-town ( Gen Korean BBQ house, and Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ). I also love Kau Ba for a date day/night, and we recently tried out Ostia, which we will definitely revisit. A walk on the paths along the bayou cannot be beat. The Orange Show, while a bit further out, is a must. Poison Girl, Cecil’s, Grand Prize are great casual drink spots. If we venture to visit my studio at Hardy and Nance (which I force on most of my guests), the night would not be complete without a stop at La Carafe for wine and excellent ambiance, and then a drink at Notsuoh to understand why we need to keep Houston weird, and then a stiff pour of a nightcap at Warren’s. If we’re talking about a whole week in Houston (lucky you, visitor!) then we’d take a day trip or two to Galveston or Roundtop. My wife and I made some amazing friends in Roundtop, one, Lee Ellis, who runs a fantastic place called the Ellis Motel (misleading, I know, but while there are no actual rooms for rent, it is the place to be in Roundtop for cocktails and the very best company), and another couple of friends, Paul and Brooke Michie, are in the midst of bringing a family friendly brewery/eatery called Roundtop Brewing to life there. I’ve lived in a lot of places in Europe and the states, and I’m constantly amazed at what Texas, and Houston in particular, has to offer.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Wife Sara. My kids. My family back in Ireland. My high school art teacher Noelle McAlinden (@noellemcalinden). My university art and illustration teacher John Hodkinson (@john.hodkinson1) My studio partner and great Houston artist Matt Messinger( @mattmessinger9 ). @hardyandnance studios, @artistsforartiststx, @larartstudio, @clairerichardsart, @kelleydevineart, @artist_traslaughter, @aaronrambocreative, @i_am_the_are, @mzzslaughter @wendyzero, @devin_borden_gallery, @todbaileypainter, @danielelliotart, @j.paul_jackson, @di_henshaw, @objetstrouveok. Thank you all for your love and support!
artists own, Sara Healy