peter mikulak

I have always been an artist. The first person to take an interest was my Uncle Mark. At age 4, he encouraged me with small assignments. He’d check how I did a few days later and I was always excited to win his approval. I was doing murals by 13; my first was dedicated to a childhood friend who was killed by a hit and run drunk driver. I made the news and front page of our local newspaper. During that time my father would take us on road trips to New York City where I saw chalk drawings …”street art” as I later learned would become my passion. The artist was Keith Haring! and he profoundly influenced me. In high school I would try to find spray paint to create art. I’d pick up jean jackets from second hand stores, paint graffiti and sell them for a few bucks. Thankfully my art teacher saw the potential and nurtured my raw talent. She had me enter a show where I won 3rd place. My family moved to Palm Springs in my junior year and I missed out on a scholarship. I don’t have a formal education but it hasn’t stopped me from pursuing my dream … maybe derailed it bit. In my twenties, I continued to create art but I concentrated on having a family and building a general contracting company. I completed new construction and rehabilitations in southern Connecticut for over 10 years. When the market bottomed out, I decided to pursue my art career. If I was going to struggle, I was going to struggle doing something I love. I traded in my tools for paint brushes, donated my belongings to the Salvation Army, packed a suitcase and got on a bus and moved back to CA to become a professional artist. With no instruction manual, I quickly ran out of money and found myself homeless living in the middle of the desert in an abandoned camper in a windmill field. It was there I started to re-purpose materials. I found stuff behind buildings, in dumpsters and created the first work that I showed professionally … used pocketbooks, children’s rain boots, furniture or anything laying on the side of the road with character that I could paint. I even used the door off a washing machine and sold it at a gallery. Renegade Gallery invited me to come in so I hitchhiked with 10 framed paintings strapped to my back. The owner shook my hand, made me a resident artist and introduced me to my art family! That was my start as a professional artist; income was sporadic. I didn’t know that an opportunity would present itself by some good intentions on my part. Before Thanksgiving, my neighbors had nothing to eat and I wanted to help. I was walking by the Forever Marilyn statue and thought I’d do a portrait of Marilyn and sell it to get some money for a proper Thanksgiving. That led to selling over 700 Marilyn Monroe portraits at the statue, all over town and to visitors. People still ask if I’m the Marilyn artist! I’m back and creating a new style of work, through mixed media including spray paint drawings, paint brush, photography and digital enhancements. My last body of work was entitled “The Goddess” and it was on FIRE!