Student and Artist
My name is Petterson, which means "son of a stone" (one of Jesus' apostles) as my father liked to brag when they asked where he got that name from, but the real meaning of it comes from that my father was in love with Disney movies and I was born soon after he saw Petter Pan and then one thing led to another and here we are.
My relatives don't really value art or photography (which has become my passion) - my grandmother was not literate and grew up working in the coffee fields, she was my first foundation and my second foundation was my father, a raw man who never talks about feelings who will say about things he thinks "futtil" like art. But despite everything, art came to me, it started with music and when I saw it, I was passionate about painting pictures in my room and reading poetry.
I always thank the universe for making art so present in my life, it's often been my salvation.
What is it like to live in a country where art is not valued by the current government?
Well... I think that through time we have always had bad times in humanity and especially in art, highlighting the periods of history where it was scarce and the only place where oppressed peoples could express themselves and desire revolution.
I see artists in many places who live on art struggling to survive amid the pandemic and with our government that neglects everything and everyone, some with not so much luck have already closed their doors and others have sought other means outside the art to keep themselves. It makes me sad to see and follow it all this closely, but I try to remain hopeful because it is our only choice and whenever I let myself fall I remember a phrase from my favourite movie called "Seven minutes after midnight": "Believing is part of healing. Faith is healing, faith in the future that is to come." When we had nothing but faith on better days and a little strength to keep us standing, that's what led us forward.
How does art touch you?
Art has always touched me in various ways, it has always been present at all times, from modern poetry to the ancient paintings that I looked at and brought me peace. At the beginning of my adolescence I went through very bad phases, I lost my maternal grandmother who was my number one for everything and was the main pillar of my family and two years later my mother also left suddenly and I went to live with my father. I spent most of the day alone and when night came and my father was at home he wouldn't show emotion or share his feelings, so at that time books and music were my refuges of the world and mourning, I feel that without the books I would not have passed so linear through that phase. And since then it has been so, art and its different forms have been with me in bad and good times, sometimes putting music in moments of happiness and also comforting me in unexpected losses or in that discouragement at the end of the afternoon when everything is silent.
When did the art help you the most?
There's been many times, an example of this was how it helped me deal with mourning in early adolescence, but I think the most important moment was when I discovered makeup. In 2018 my father divorced and we moved to town, I was in the last year before high school, at that time I didn't have many friends and when I changed city it got worse, I didn't know anyone and when I started at school my adaptation was terrible. In the first few months I had no friends, I was always alone both at school and at home and had just left my first relationship that had been an abusive relationship. When everything I was going through came together, I went into depression, I was always discouraged, nothing else was good, everything that excited me before no longer made me happy and with all this I always felt I had a horrible appearance. And that's when I discovered makeup, it was all very new to me and I didn't know anything about it, I ended up testing everything alone at home and sometimes I had a disastrous result of so ugly, but I was happy! After a while trying I learned a little and with that little I got ready and painted myself all in my room when I felt bad about my appearance. Painting myself alone in the room listening to music often made me empty my head of many bad thoughts I had about wanting to put an end to everything and I consider this moment one of the most important in art with me.
How do you relate to beauty?
Nowadays, although I still follow some standards of beauty, I no longer judge myself as before, I see beauty in myself and in others in a different way now. My definition of beauty has changed a lot since I started doing makeup and got to know the old paintings and sculptures, before I thought that beautiful people were only those who were in the standard of beauty of society. And, of course, I still consider them beautiful. But now I see much more beyond. There are so many people who are not necessarily standardizedly beautiful, but they are not ugly, they are so beautiful being different and unique. Beauty is far beyond what society thinks is beautiful, it changes, transforms and is totally unstable, how can anyone say if something is beautiful or not if tomorrow or later it can become the highest standard of beauty to seek? Beauty and standards should not and do not need to be sought, they who should seek us, seek our reality.
When did photography become so present in your life?
The idea of eternalizing moments has always been fascinating to me, I as a fan of poetry and totally emotional I love these things. Since I was a child I had a strange desire to always be taking pictures, I always wanted to capture every moment and things I thought were important, I liked to date everything and see some time later remembering what that moment was like and with every detail. I grew up and with my self-esteem increasing I started taking pictures of myself, at first it was just normal photos, everyday things. But after a while I wanted something different, I saw the editorial photos and wanted to imitate, I wanted to have photos like the "conceptual" that everyone finds interesting. Nowadays whenever I can, I try something new and I know that I'm still a long way from truly conceptual and professional photos, but for now I'm happy with what I've been doing today.
When you try something new, how to write, paint or photograph, where do your inspirations come from?
Like every 21st century human being and teenager, I'm very connected to the internet, much of the concepts I try to recreate is taken from what I see there, but also a part is always inspired by what I'm feeling at that moment. When I want to take pictures and I'm sad, I usually comb wet hair back and leave my face a little cleaner, try to show transparency, try to let my feeling of fading shine to the eye. But I don't want to give an image of sadness so when they see the photo, I want to give an image of comfort, because most of my bad moments I was comforted by looking at real photographs and that with a "sad" or unfeeling appearance I thought that those bad moments were not only mine, that everyone goes through it too, you know? A comfort in not feeling the only one going through that. I feel that having your feelings exposed in your art whatever it is, brings comfort, empathy and recognition of the other in you.
And what are your plans for the future? Do you intend to put art as a profession?
It's a desire, but distant and frightening today. Working with art would be wonderful, but seeing artists and those who work with them struggling to keep up with incredible content and art without any recognition, it is discouraging to think about having a solid future in this area. Currently my plans are to attend advertising and work in this area, it has always been a profession that pleased me very much and that I want to be part of.
In my opinion, the most accessible art that has become through the years, living on it is still for only a small portion of people, who in current situations I admire for still standing firm in what they love and believe.