PETER DELLERT HIDDEN WORLDS, 2018. Vintage atlas pages behind cut and altered laser print on washi, Colored pencil. A3 297mm x 420mm framed to 16” x 20”
It was a very special childhood from that perspective. And very inclusive given Maine is very white. My Dad hired counselors from all over the country and the world. He was ahead of his time in those ways. Who was your mentor and guide for you in your youth and adult life? What did they pass along to you that you still treasure and utilize? Peter: I have had many wonderful generous mentors. One in junior high who taught me about observation, and taking notes. One older man, Uncle Sam we called him, who had introduced my parents, and had worked on whaling vessels out of New Bedford at the turn of the century taught me how to sail and a few other things besides. He was also a pretty good woodworker. His son had become an oceanographer. So I knew one. I had a biology professor at Clark, Rudolf Nunnemacher, an early electron microscopist, who was influential but not enough to get me to go to grad school. He rode a unicycle and was also a jeweler, sort of a renaissance man. They invited me to come back to Clark for grad school.. Another three or four 36 • JULY 2019 THE ARTFUL MIND
years in Worcester. Yikes! But I had a printing instructor at the Worcester Craft Studios who was very helpful and inspiring. My uncle was a printmaker so I had to try it.. One day I mean to get back to it. Ron Burke was my mentor in clay and I consider my time in his studio as my graduate school. I had my own little studio in the milk room of what had been a dairy barn. I learned how to figure out how do things. I learned how to fail. I learned how to make mistakes and learn from them. He became a life- long friend and only recently passed. I am still close to his wife and their children. It was a second childhood for me. They had a farm a with a pond, hay fields and gardens. It was a lot gentler than my life in Gardiner. And, now, perhaps you have artist friends that share in your same interest in a post-industrial / post-apocalyptic point of view? Maybe more now than ever. Are they doing similar things to what you are doing, and share the same interests in the natural world and its destination? Are there exhibits all over the world that focus just on these topics and issues in which you try to participate?
Peter: Yes, there are some environmental residencies here and there but I have not been accepted to those that I apply to. My work is serious, and based in science and sometimes I think it is over the heads of the juries. I have a proposal, I am floating that wraps trees with surgical gauze and tape to mimic dying / dead coral reefs. I think it is too depressing to imagine. But actually, when done it becomes quite beautiful. I did one small dead tree here in Holyoke in a park. Now it is in rags but for a year or more it was very striking. I put a plaque up so folks would know what I was getting at. City kids need to be taught about what is going on with the planet. I know some of the artists who are doing such things worldwide. My friends Donna Dodson and Andy Morlein have been quite successful siting their large bird sculptures in many places, even the fashion district in New York. They are made of natural materials and call attention to environmental issues. In the U.S. people like Patrick Dougherty get all the attention. His is great work, but not so environmental. He just uses a lot of twigs. And Andy Goldsworthy. I like his work. But he is really a photographer. His work is extremely ephemeral. But any work that