Let the Paint Fly: An Interview with Kevin Peddicord

Like his eccentric collection of work, Raleigh-based artist Kevin Peddicord is full of surprises. From creating caricatures for the big leagues, illustrating a children’s book, being a family man, and painting pieces that transport viewers to a different time and more imaginative place, Kevin Peddicord is one artist to keep on your radar.




Surround Yourself: You’ve been around the block when it comes to painting and design. What have been some highlights from your career?


Kevin Peddicord: It certainly has been an interesting career so far! I started off as an eighteen year old artist doing caricatures for sports clubs like the old Washington Diplomats and New York Cosmos soccer teams. I got to meet the players — including Johan Cruyff — and the owner, Sonny Werblin, who once owned the New York Jets, managed Madison Square Garden, and was Frank Sinatra’s rep. Pretty cool for a kid!


I also did some outdoor murals for the Durham Bulls stadium and was asked by film director Ron Shelton to recreate one of the murals for his office in LA. He was directing Cobb at the time and liked my work. I’ve been fortunate to illustrate for the late “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Baltimore Oriole Eddie Murray, and the Carolina Hurricanes. I recently produced an illustrated children’s book entitled “Time to Walk the Frog!” And, finally, each art show I have is special because I love interacting with the art patrons and listening to their takes on my work.




SY: Raleigh has a budding art scene. How have you seen it change since moving here in 1991?


KP: As a bit of a late arrival to the art scene, I’ve seen an expansion of the diversity of the types of art in Raleigh. I’ve also seen an increase of independent artists setting up their own shops to show their work. This increase in diversity just adds to the richness of Raleigh.




SY: Tell us a little bit about your family. Has any of your artistic talent rubbed off on your sons?
KP: While I think they have talent, each of them has chosen to pursue other interests. They are certainly creative in their own right, just not in the visual arts. My youngest son recently spent a summer in the performing arts, acting and dancing in a play in Boone, NC.


SY: Many of your pieces have a nostalgic look to them. What drew you to creating scenes that nod to the past?


KP: I’ve always been a big fan of vintage imagery, old movies, illustrated movie posters and pulp art. There’s something very appealing, elegant and timeless about that particular time span, namely the Twenties through the Fifties. I’ve always loved the Warner Bros. crime films, Film Noir, German Expressionist, French New Wave, and Italian Neorealism films.


Some of my work reflects a scene that would be right at home in a Marx Bros. movie. And then, there are more than a few musicians I’ve painted that would have been welcome at the local jazz club, or at least performing on the street outside.




SY: You label your work as “character-driven.” Do you have some characters who make more than one appearance in your artwork?


KP: Not specifically, although there are certainly similarities… I’m a low cost option for a model! By character-driven, I mean to say there’s something other than just a face and a body in the painting. I’m not really trying to build a narrative, but maybe a snap shot of one with emotion. Overall, they’re pretty eccentric!


SY: Is there a particular piece in your Imagekind collection you’re most proud of?


KP: My personal favorite is “Watusi Rodeo.” I was influenced by Guadalcanal Diary’s song and thought it would make a fun piece. It has absurdist imagery with undertones of social and political commentary.




SY: Where do you turn to for inspiration for new pieces?


KP: Sometimes it’s a movie I haven’t seen before. I’ve had more than a few dreams that have sparked my imagination. Certainly seeing the work of other artists is inspiring, but sometimes it’s as simple as observing people and places.


SY: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not painting?


KP: I’m a big fan of music so I try to see my favorite bands when they tour. The Stranglers (on my bucket list), Echo and the Bunnymen, Gang of Four, Roxy Music, The Bongos, The Feelies… I could go on! I also enjoy NHL hockey and the Premier League matches. And, of course, spending time with my family.




SY: What’s next for you as an artist?


KP: I’m going to grab the camera and explore. As painting is a continuing evolution, I’d also like to experiment and loosen up… let the paint fly!


SY: What do you surround yourself with?


KP: My studio is somewhat dizzying. I have a large number of classic movie posters covering every inch of wall space. I also have a ton of relics from my comic book collecting days, an array of classic films and no studio is complete without a dog, a cat and a few Monty Python and the Holy Grail action figures! Outside the studio, my incredibly supportive family and friends!




Thanks so much, Kevin! Find him here or shop his collection on Imagekind.