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  • Peter O'Neill

    United States

    Art Brokerage: Peter O'Neill American Artist: A professional art career came late to Peter O'Neill but in truth, it was close to not coming at all. After two failed marriages and a botched suicide attempt, Peter O'Neill felt he had nothing and found himself in a New Jersey hospital hopelessly despondent and in treatment for acute depression. Then something clicked within him. He looked around at the others with truly severe mental impairments and realized that he did not belong where he was. He checked out of the hospital and literally, checked himself back into life. Peter's childhood dreams had been to become an artist; but he received little in the way of positive re-enforcement. "I liked to draw when I was a kid, but art classes weren't even offered and when I'd sketch in my notebook, they'd tell me, ‘stop drawing, and pay attention!'" With no positive influence, he took a job in real estate with the lure of riches and prestige. Still, Peter could never shake the feeling that art was his true calling in life. When his career crumbled along with his second marriage, he found himself at a crossroads. So, in April 1996, with only his inner resolve, a heart filled with creative need and relatively empty pockets, he boarded a Greyhound bus for Florida determined to become an artist. "I think I was too numb to know the risk I was taking," he said. It was just something I did." At age 36, he arrived in St. Augustine with under $200 in his pocket and nowhere to stay. For a year, he eked out a living as a street artist, doing pencil portraits. His first commission earned him $15.00 – not a lot of money, but proof positive that people would pay for his work. Peter worked as a street artist for about a year and then moved into a small gallery on Treasury Street where he began exploring other mediums. He, like the Old Masters, finally settled on oils and continues to use them today. Mr. O'Neill is entirely self-taught, a fact of which he is quite proud. "I haven't had to unlearn the garbage poured on students in art school," he said. "I never had to shed the concept and design theories. I could immediately make art that connected with people and their emotions." For him, art is a communication between the viewer and the creator. "It should never be judged. Listings wanted.

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