Most artists tend to draw interest through their use of brilliant and bold color schemes. But Ken Peloke opted for a different route.
Then again, the Arizona native really didn’t have much of a choice. Color is, for the most part, absent in Peloke’s art, just as it is absent in his world. Peloke is colorblind, but the vision deficiency no longer hinders his art like it used to.
“At first I didn’t know how to get rolling in the art world,” Peloke said. “I didn’t have much encouragement ... and colors were just really frustrating to me.”
Peloke finally reached a breaking point with color and started focusing his efforts on black and white. That commitment has since helped Peloke bring a hyperrealistic dynamic to his work.
“Working with black and white really helps me create a photo likeness,” Peloke said. “All the things that go into a good photograph can also go into a good painting.”
When you gaze at Peloke’s pieces you might question whether you’re looking at a photograph or painting. One aspect of Peloke’s work that never requires questioning, however, is its emotional appeal.
“When you look to his work, you see a very emotional light and dark due to his lack of ability to see color,” said Hollee Armstrong, Rare Gallery director. Armstrong, along with her husband and Rare coowner Rick Armstrong, will show Peloke’s “Photorealistic Journey” exhibit today through Aug. 3. The pair have been hosting Peloke’s work since 2012 and have savored the chance to include a unique talent in their gallery.
“He is definitely one of our top artists,” Armstrong said. “Just the way he introduces his world to us isincredible to see.”
Peloke’s world mostly captures two of the most striking images of the West: horses and cowboys. Though born in New York, Peloke has lived and painted in the West since the age of 15. He’s gradually gained recognition as one of the country’s top equine artists, a honor he partially owes to his wife.
“My wife loves horses, and I painted one for her kind of as a gift,” Peloke said. “A studio near to me saw it and wanted more.”
The cowboys, a natural fit for Peloke’s Wild West flavor, came next. “The cowboys are little more playful … and also more rough in my approach,” Peloke said. “It goes into the cowboy way, uncertain and unpredictable.”
Peloke said he’s always enjoyed the oldfashioned feeling of cowboys and horses. It reminds him of the feeling he got growing up in a rural town of 500 people, an interesting start for a man who now features his work at galleries in Martha’s Vineyard, Houston, Tulsa, Sun Valley, Idaho, and Jackson, the cream of his crop.
“Jackson does the best for me as for as revenue ... Rare sells the most of my work,” Peloke said. The success in Jackson is no surprise given his subject matter, but don’t expect Peloke to become complacent.
“It’s been a challenge for me now to take it to the next level,” Peloke said. “I’ve gotten into this comfort zone with horses ... and now I’ve started doing some different wildlife.”
Though horses will always be Peloke’s mainstay, a trip to Rare this week may reveal a bear or bison in the hyperrealist’s eyecatching blackandwhite style.
“He’s starting to branch out,” Armstrong said. “And as we look to this exhibit it’s exciting to see the changes he’s bringing to his work.”