Peat ‘Eyez” WollaegerStreet Artist
Peat’s advertising career in NYC exposed him to the early graffiti scene, and the work of his favorite artist, Keith Haring. When he moved to St. Louis with his wife and newborn son, he started working with stencils. “In a sense it was art therapy. It was also a great way to get my message out; a way to wake up the street. I became recognized in St. Louis when the city commissioned me to paint an electrical box in Central West End”, says Pete. He points out that St. Louis is a great hub for artists because on an artist’s salary, you can raise a family, buy a house and afford to travel to major cities by car or a short plane flight. “There are so many resources in St. Louis, and because of Instagram, I can work on a project here while people see it in Japan”.
The symbolic EYEZ featured Peat’s large scale murals and stencils represent awakening. Peat believes his art will be a good representation of St.Art’s mission to be a catalyst for community enhancement, because he aims for his EYEZ to wake up St. Louis and beyond—to use EYES to open more eyes. “We all have eyes. At the end of the day we all want to be loved. We all want to be recognized, to be seen.”
As an artist, Peat prefers to focus on the positive. Instead of focusing on what he can’t change, he wants to focus on what he can change. “I have been blessed with this gift of art.” Peat continues. “My hope is to use my gifts to implement change in St. Louis and beyond. My frustration is that labels contribute to the divide. I am not a republican, democrat or liberal – I am human. There are good people and bad people everywhere. Everything is good and bad, black and white. I think when we stop labeling, we will get closer to equality. “
Peat remembers that after the Mike Brown incident in Ferguson, the streets were lined with boarded-up storefronts and people came and painted them. They painted positive images that had lasting impact — powerful reminders of what happened, but also part of the rebuilding process. Part of the healing. “Tragedy inspires artists to create, “ says Peat, “And that creates dialogue. Communication is the key to any kind of healing.”