From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
Axis Salon is hosting an open house for a small show by Dave Peterson, a local artist, photographer and designer on January 24 from 7 to 9 pm. Peterson first exhibited at the salon in 2011 at the request of Joe Ireland, whose interior design company, J.D. Ireland is housed above the salon and who creates Axis Salon’s window displays.
“It’s a great venue for my work,” says Peterson, “The windows are a real focal point on that block, and the salon has an amazing staff and clientele. When I was asked to do it again, I jumped at the chance.
Peterson started his own art and design company, branddave, in 2008. He had been drawing and working in design since graduation college and co-founded and created the artwork for Be As You Are, an apparel company. Peterson has “ felt really, really blessed” for the “great reception” branddave has received thus far. “It’s so rewarding to have a show, and hear people laughing, and pointing things out to their friends. That is the best feeling, and makes all those angst filled days of drawing, frustration, and self doubt worth it!”
He also had a long-standing interest in men’s fashion photography. “When I started branddave, I was just all about having fun, and doing things I really enjoyed, and letting that take me along.,” explains Peterson, “So I drew a lot, started screen printing on wood, and taking pictures. And as I developed my website and my portfolio, I’ve just kept up with these three things.
Peterson describes both his drawing and photography style as “freestlye.” Rather than careful planning or staging Peterson “tend[s] to draw the same thing (and take very similar shots) over and over, just trying to get that one perfect moment.”
The same holds true for his screen printing “I never know how something will turn out until it’s finished. Especially on wood – [a] very unpredictable surface unlike paper. “ Although it does take a certain amount planning and preparation, for Peterson there is always an element of “surprise when it works and I’m happy with it. “
The hardest part of running his own business based on his art has been propelling himself forward. “I have a big to-do list associated with pursuing new venues to sell, and growing the business. I much prefer the making to the promoting and selling. I have been really lucky in that opportunities just seem to come along…. But I know I can’t depend on that if I want to grow.”
He has several partnerships with local businesses and others in the art community. Branddave is a sponsor of D.C. musician Tom Goss, and Peterson also illustrated for the much-loved storytelling group SpeakEasy DC. Much of this work is commission-based
Instead of showing his art in galleries, Peterson, so far, prefers non-traditional venues like the hair salon and casual food shops, like Dolcezza and Buzz Bakery. “I really like these venues because they give me great visibility and are flexible. They are unique because people come in often, so they see the work over and over. And most of the time I handle sales directly, so it’s a win-win for both of us”
The show opening this Thursday at Axis Salon will be up for six weeks. Peterson also has ongoing shows at Buzz Bakery in Virginia and TROHV stores in Takoma Park and Baltimore. Peterson is also a member of Mid City Artists, and his studio is on 14th Street.