THE WORDS AND WORKS OF ARTIST PETER TUNNEY

BY WILLIAM MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNA PIMENTEL

58   A XESS

© PHOTO CREDIT HERE

AMARA

F E AT U R E © PHOTO CREDIT HERE NTHINE A XESS   59 .

” ( Continued on page 62 ) characteristically frenetic. my accountant. music. The guy I was sitting with. Aside from his appearance. the future of art.WE ARE ALL STUMBLING Original painting. The immensely successful 49-year-old artist has a shock of blond hair and a smooth. Man Ray. he says something like. 60" x 48˝ “ TRY TO KEEP U P WITH M E. which would be appropriate on a golf course or at a New England country club. acrylic paint and collage of mixed media on canvas. high-octane speed. “I find that ninety percent of dialogue is gibberish. his childhood—all at his THE TRUTH ALWAYS HAPPENS Original painting. and Proust. After giving an enthusiastic. the most salient thing about Tunney is that he is a talker. you know what. In the span of two minutes and 30 words of introduction. ‘Who would ever use that word?’ So I told him. indeed. It is. acrylic paint and collage of mixed media on canvas. His white polo and cargo shorts. we have to stop short because Tunney has exhausted the battery of my tape recorder. Tunney unself-consciously rattles off the names of Picasso. John Nash. It means ‘unfading’ and ‘everlasting. Two hours into our interview. spinning connections in fields as disparate as politics.” “You ever hear of the word ‘amaranthine’?” he suddenly asks. the Democrat and Republican intractability. he tells me that he has been reading the dictionary. He says that he has noticed that most people don’t know the definition of the words they toss around. It’s so predictable. he is already in full stride.” These are the first words that Peter Tunney says when I meet him at his studio in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. boyish face that belies his age. I would. For Tunney’s latest project. 48” x 60˝ Socrates. I shake my head. and I thought it was pretty cool. Galileo. rather hard to keep up. there’s no respect. are splattered with fresh paint. Words seem to rush out of him in little verbal avalanches of thought. There’s no boundary.’ And that’s what I want my art to be. whirling dervish-like from topic to topic. In another typical sentence. Tunney sits down to talk about his life and his art. fast-paced tour of his canvas-filled studio. history. 60   A XESS . science. “I saw this word in the dictionary the other day.

” —PETER TUNNEY © PHOTO CREDIT HERE A XESS   61 .F E AT U R E “ I WA N T TO P U T A TI M ER EL E A S E BOMB OF P OSITI V IT Y I N YO U R LIVING ROO M .

one living room at a time. 22˝ x 10˝ x 6˝ If you wanted to put a label on Tunney’s art. TUNNEY MUNNEY Hand-painted oil paint and 23-karat-gold leaf on handcrafted hardwood box. it marks the time. He tells me.000-square-foot “art pad” in the middle of the popular Crobar club in New York City for one year of debauchery. to the bad economy. These messages (“The Time Is Always Now. It goes away. I ask the artist why his paintings have been selling so quickly. fast.” As far as work is concerned. Tunney’s business is booming. it’ll just say ‘Gratitude. a club manager. you could describe it as a unique species of optimistic Pop Art—Warhol with a smile. and though they may seem overly glib to some. paradoxically.’ Everything these days is fast. magazine advertisements. for Tunney. and how Beard was once stomped on by an elephant and lived. His work is defined by meticulously hand-painted text over a dizzying array of sources—pastiches of newspaper clippings. I really like that. Rather than negatively critiquing American consumerism in the vein of most Pop Art. It’s one of the few things that can be a constant in your life.” .) are unpretentious. they reflect sentiments that. It’s amaranthine. Now he is a well-regarded and an accomplished artist in his own right. a 62   A XESS string of collectors had come in for arranged visits to his studio. The idea is that you’ll be driving into New York City and instead of seeing a billboard trying to sell you some kind of car or vodka. “I don’t like this kind of contemporary art with string and cereal boxes.’ or ‘Today Is the Day. I like art to say something that will last a long time. about his adventures in Africa with world-renowned photographer Peter Beard. it’s too impermanent. He has been an immensely successful Wall Street investor in biotechnology. fast.” Before becoming an artist. his studio and gallery in Tribeca. and about celebrating New Year’s in São Paolo with Brazilian soccer legend Pelé. Earlier that day. You move into a new apartment. New York City. and a magician. a movie producer. you know?” When asked about the contemporary art scene. and it’s like a good friend. Tunney worked at an astonishing sequence of jobs.” Tunney admits. Tunney accepts visitors only by appointment. I think that people need to slow down sometimes and appreciate life. The man is brimming with stories: about how he lived in a 1. He attributes it. a stock broker. Tunney tells me that recently he has been involved in plans for a billboard project in New York City. It’s the old expression—they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Tunney’s work transcends the mire of mere pessimism and leaves the viewer with a feeling of hope and peace. It never changes. Thompson. “I want to put this time-release bomb of positivity in your living room. and let it affect you and your family over the next twenty-five years.F E AT U R E PETER TUNNEY The artist sits at his desk in Tunney Art. Unfading and everlasting. just as the messages in his paintings seem to overpower the background noise of newspaper clippings and other media. “I’ve had a pretty wild life. about winning a golf tournament in Bhutan. It’s there for you. a car dealer. Tunney expresses disgust for some of the newer art. about the crazed antics of the late Hunter S. “It’s called the Gratitude Project.’ or ‘Remain Calm. are both deeply personal and deeply felt.” etc. Most people will never throw [one of my paintings] away. “People are tired of being cynical. or the detached fender of a car. surfboards.” “Enough Is Possible.

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