10 Peter Max Quotes About His Incredible Career as a Cosmic Artist
In the cover story for the September 5, 1969 issue of Life Magazine, there’s a large headline that reads “THE MARK OF MAX IS EVERYWHERE.”
It’s referring to the art of Peter Max, who came to define the spirit of the 1960s perhaps more than any other artist. His colorful, kaleidoscopic designs flourished in the ‘60s, but his artwork continued to grow and evolve, eventually becoming an integral part of the visual fabric of the past century.
Max released a memoir in 2013 titled The Universe of Peter Max, which combined his life story with his own ruminations on his career as an artist. In the book’s introduction, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson praised Max for capturing “the soul of the cosmos on canvas.”
To help you better appreciate the uplifting personal philosophies that have inspired Max’s art over the years, we’ve collected 10 of our favorite quotes taken directly from his memoir…
“To me, the universe is itself the ultimate expression of creativity. That we, as human beings, have been endowed with the ability to channel that creativity fills me with a sense of awe and wonder.”
“In art, or writing, when you’re in the flow and something unexpected happens, welcome it. It can open up a whole new opportunity for creative discovery.”
“Drawing is like sailing. Sometimes you have to sit very quietly and patiently wait for a breeze, and then suddenly a breeze comes along and your sails billow and you glide across the water effortlessly.”
“When I tap into my inner cosmos—that nucleus of creativity within me—it becomes a source of ever-expanding possibilities, enabling me to go from one magical adventure to another.”
“My cosmic art subjects were always euphoric: Himalayan sages levitating under a shower of flowers beside snowcapped mountain peaks; faces and flowers exploding into a symmetrical cosmic butterfly; mirrored lakes and mountains with a cascade of stars and planets; flowers in perpetual states of organic growth, blossoms begetting blossoms.”
“Although we are living in increasingly uncertain times, I try to maintain the same hope that I had at the beginning of the century and that I’ve gravitated to since the 1960s.”
“Eileen Ford, the director of the Ford modeling agency, gave me the greatest compliment when she said, ‘Peter Max not only has an eye for beauty, he also has the mastery to capture a beautiful lady’s profile in a minimalistic style that is reminiscent of Matisse and Picasso. Max’s profiles are as lovely as my most beautiful models.’”
“Swami Satchidananda inspired me when he said, ‘Our greatest purpose is to express what’s in our heart. And those who have the talent should express it through their art.’”
“Freedom is what I value most in life, and I’m happy to say that my lifelong goal of keeping myself in a space of creative and spiritual freedom has been met, even though at times it has been difficult.”
“I love the quote that’s on a plaque at the New York Public Library: ‘The universe is not made up of atoms; it’s made up of stories.’”
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