Clay Peer is an artist living and working in Hollister, CA. As a self-described “do-er of all, master of none;” his work spans from automotive renderings and cartoons to portraits, landscapes, and abstract works. Clay earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from San Jose State in 2012 and currently is a teaching artist for the San Benito County Arts Council. In addition to being the lead teaching artist at Hollister Dual Language School and Gabilan Hills Elementary, he is also one of the resident artists teaching in our Dreams Project at Juvenile Hall. With the closure of schools related to the COVID-19 health crisis, Clay has also helped pilot the Arts Council’s transition to virtual art classes.
For this week’s Artist Q&A, I asked Clay a few questions about his artistic practice and sources of inspiration.
What inspires your subject matter?
I’ve been interested in cars and transportation vehicles my whole life so naturally that has inspired a large part of my work. I started going to car shows at very young age. I was always amazed by the artists airbrushing crazy cars on t-shirts and sweatshirts. I thought it was so cool how they could knock out a shirt for someone in minutes while you were there watching it happen. I guess that just stuck with me.
What is your creative process like?
Currently, my creative process relies heavily on doodling as much as possible. It allows me to try new things, like different types of shading methods without the pressure of ruining a drawing or painting. Any one doodle can contain several experiments that I can choose from and apply to new work.
What type of materials do you like to use?
I have difficulty using one medium at a time, so my list might be kind of long. I like the challenge of making multiple mediums work together. Markers, pencils, colored pencils, chalk, pastels, pens, charcoal and gouache are my “go-to’s.” I also like to dabble in oil paint and lettering enamel.
What are you currently working on?
Lately, I’ve been poking at some oil paintings and trying to incorporate lettering enamel in a way that enhances the painting without dominating it. Enamel lays down very clean with sharp lines and has a tendency to stand up and away from the oil paint. I’ve been attempting this with both car paintings and abstract paintings. So far, it’s been an enjoyable puzzle to work on.
What is your favorite thing about being a teaching artist?
My favorite thing about being a teaching artist is simply seeing a lesson stick with a student. I find it very satisfying to see a student carry over an earlier lesson and try to apply it to the next project.
*Featured artwork by Clay Peer.