Born in Portland, Oregon in 1959, Peter Mars began collecting at an early age: matchbooks, comic books, baseball cards, arrowheads and coins. Mars gathered small treasures that tell the story of American popular culture.
“Found objects are fun and I was obsessive about collecting them. Ever since I was a little kid, it was a running joke in our family that I never looked up because I was always looking down at the ground searching for stuff – pennies, arrowheads, match packs, discarded tickets, potato chip bags, agates – all these little treasures. My favorite part of the comic book was always the back, where you could order sea monkeys and x-ray specs. I still draw inspiration from these things we find in our everyday life, things we see all around us.”
Using the joy and nostalgia that can be found in everyday objects, Mars explores American pop culture, the passage of time, and the icons that each period adopts as its own.
“A lot of my art is inspired by Ghost Signs. In the case of Ghost Signs we often see worn out signs fading away as new billboards are painted on top. Old “ghosted” lettering leaches and fades through into the imagery of another layer of messages. As years go by, advertisements become layered on top of eachother, often creating entirely new designs.
Imagine driving across a Nevada highway and seeing the old faded signs. These signs also appear in the heart of cities and on the sides of rural barns; an ad gets painted up and then fades, to have yet another sign painted over and fade again.
We live in an era where we are bombarded with images creating startling new messages. People understand this new mode of communication, which I feel has been around for decades.”