About the Artist

”Pete Jackson is both a gifted artist and a genuine visionary. He combines unique painting skill with a keen perceptiveness of nature and spirituality. I treasure his work.” 

– Justin Talbot Zorn, Author, Meditation Teacher, Former Senior Policymaker

Almost as if he were painting with both hands, Pete Jackson blends history and surrealism as a visual invitation for contemplating metaphor and the unseen spiritual world. A fitting ability for an artist who continues to bear witness to the extreme and the uncanny.

Pete was born in 1956 into the peculiar southern oppression of the State of Virginia, with its broad-brush disenfranchisement of Black people and segregated, monochrome still life of Whites-only fountains and building entrances. He came of age in Washington, D.C. during the Black Power and Black Arts movements of the 1960s-1980s. The birth and rise of hip hop culture during the same era led to universal and specific questions about fairness and life purpose. Art and providence began to provide answers.

“Surrealism was not intended to transcend, but to penetrate reality.” 

– Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism

The real-life collage of being human, Black, male, visual and martial artist eventually led Pete to an appreciation of the surrealist art movement called Dada. His affinity for a creative expression embracing freedom, emotional connection and political resistance grew into an avid artistic pursuit. The culmination happened in 1987 with an extremely rare opportunity to apprentice with master surrealist Abdul Mati Klarwein in Majorca, Spain.
A former student of legendary cubist Fernan Leger, a contemporary of fantastic realism painter Ernst Fuchs and a good friend of Salvador Dali, Mati attained legendary stature himself in the art and music worlds beginning in the 1970s. His paintings grace the most iconic album covers ever seen, including Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Santana’s Abraxas, and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Last Days And Time among many, many others.
Jackson is the only African-American artist to have studied under Abdul Mati Klarwein. Over the course of a rigorous apprenticeship that became a lasting friendship, Mati introduced Pete to 15th and 16th Century Flemish School of painting techniques that he employs to this day, with a contemporary and distinctly cultural twist.

Mati also encouraged Pete to find and develop his unique voice. As Afro-Surrealism art continues to grow in practice and appreciation, here’s what Pete Jackson says about the diverse worlds his humanity, culture, artistic training and perspective inhabits:

“I feel as though just simply by speaking, I’m representing a perspective as a Black man, as a martial artist, an artist, and am called a spiritual teacher. My artistic voice births paintings that use symbolism, mythology, world religions, philosophy and diverse cultural beliefs to ask and answer questions. I make the effort to honor the lineage and purpose of the surrealist movement.”

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