The artwork of Peter Max is immediately recognizable. His distinctive style, use of bold, vibrant colors, incorporating cosmic and mystical characters and psychedelic patterns, has reached the masses, via album covers and posters that covered dorm rooms across America in the ’60s, as well as paintings that are in more than 100 museums and galleries worldwide. His designs have been licensed by 72 corporations and he’s been the official artist of five Super Bowls, the World Cup, the World Series, the US Open, the Grammys, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and more.
Born in Germany, Max’s childhood was spent in China, Tibet, Israel and France, before his family ultimately settled in New York, where he began his formal art studies at the Art Students League under the realist painter Frank Reilly. From his first album cover for Meade Lux Lewis, Max went on to do much more, always incorporating his fascination for the universe and love for life.
Max’s design for this Dan’s Papers Hampton Classic cover is his latest work to date. The cover art includes elements of the Classic Bridgehampton horse show as well as motifs distinctive to Max’s work—bright, harmonious colors that evoke late August warmth, two mystical faces peering inward, and a bright orange sun radiating outward.
When asked what was the inspiration behind this particular cover, Max responded, “I’m constantly inspired. I don’t even think about it—I dream art, I see art, I’m creative all day long.”
Asked if he was aware of the expansive, radiating quality in many of his compositions. Max replied, “I’m always aware of composition. I’ve been thinking of composition since I was 11 or 12, when I lived I Shanghai. I was surrounded by some incredibly creative people—it was just unbelievable.”
Max’s creative process is not separate from his life. It is his life. On creativity, Max says, “I wake up with a tremendous urge to paint. I never know what I’m going to paint. I just dip my brush in and begin. I start at 7 a.m. and I don’t stop until I go to sleep.”
Owning a few Beatles albums Max designed the covers for, I had to ask which he enjoyed working on the most. To which he replied, “I’ve done probably 50 to 100 and I enjoyed all of them. Posters and albums for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Rolling Stone magazine, all my contemporaries, I love them all.”
Peter Max’s voice radiates love for his work just as much as his artwork does.
For more on the artist, visit petermax.com.