From Cecile Oreste
Rockville native Dave Peterson did not seek to start a business. But, after graduating from Wheaton College near Chicago and returning to the District he became an integral part of launching Be As You Are. It is an apparel company based in Georgetown that sells ‘fun and funky stuff’ including tee shirts, hats, flip flops and more.
Peterson’s involvement happened by chance when his former business partner contacted him after seeing fliers Peterson made to advertise his own tee shirt designs. The company has expanded and become successful over time thanks in part to Dave’s artistic contributions.
Two years ago, Peterson branched out to explore other artistic endeavors and has been actively involved with the DC arts scene ever since. He has participated in the month-long art festival Artomatic multiple times and recently joined Mid City Artists after relocating to a studio space near 14th Street’s Cork Wine Bar.
Local dog owners will also recognize his work at the Shaw Dog Park on 11th Street—the welcome sign includes one of Peterson’s dog drawings.
Peterson admits that when he first started his career as an artist that he didn’t really know what he was going to do. All he did know was that he wanted to live a life where he wasn’t afraid to take risks. Today, he experiments with a number of different materials including wood, pegboard, Styrofoam and plastics for his screen printing designs.
According to Peterson, “it’s fun to experiment with different materials. They add more texture and substance to the work. I also never want to have too much of the same thing. I like to mix up combinations of graphics and captions.”
Peterson’s work often features subjects like people, dogs, birds and, recently, pickles. The process of creating his screen print designs is surprisingly not that thought out:
“I like everything to be spontaneous so I don’t do a lot of editing. I try to make things funny, but at the same time not too cartoony. I like it to be kind of ambiguous although sometimes it is helpful to add titles and tell people what it is.”
Dave hopes to expand his current business of designing tee shirts and prints into designs for furniture and home décor like pillows. He also sees potential in partnering with interior designers to create innovative spaces and in the near future plans to focus on marketing Branddave, his ‘one-stop-shop’ for his various creative endeavors.
Peterson’s work was incorporated into the design concept of Barbara Franceski, who designed the guest sitting room of the 2010 DC Design House in Chevy Chase. His ‘Gaggle’ artwork was the first piece in the entire house to sell. Peterson has also exhibited at Baked & Wired in Georgetown and will be exhibiting his work at local area businesses Mid City Caffe and Caramel come September.
For more information about Dave or to view and purchase his work, visit www.branddave.com.