The group of artists known as meadow starts with p is composed of a dad, Andrew Peterson, and his two young offspring – Angel Brain, 5, and Snake Puddin’, 3 (relax, the kids assume aliases for their public works). This unique collaborative is on a mission to show that “art and play are fundamentally interlinked, and are reciprocal manifestations of the creative drive within humans,” says Peterson, an adjunct professor of art at Seattle Pacific University, and the group’s spokesperson. He explains that while meadow’s projects embody the considered thesis that community building is possible through collaborative play, “Our practical stance is this: ‘Have fun.’”
meadow starts with p: Ackawacko meeting is the group’s madcap installation at the Woolworth Building. Angel Brain wrote the storyline, about an encounter with a mysterious, horned creature, the Ackawacko. “The Ackawacko is only nice to other Ackawackos. Because Ackawackos think people are going to attack them, Ackawackos attack people. Ackawackos don’t see like we do. They have different eyes. The Ackawackos think that we have horns instead of ears, one eyeball, and [are] bald. But we think we’re hairy, have two eyes, and two ears instead of horns. The end.” Peterson says that the tale can be read as a portrayal of strained race relations, with the party set up in anticipation of the monster’s arrival “intended to establish positive communication.” The work is pure riotousness: Festooned with ribbons and colorful yarn, jammed with stuffed horses, drawings, finger puppets, and blankets, it resembles the aftermath of a tornado ripping through a craft store. Yet, the overall composition of the exhibit – anchored by a grid of drawings on paper, in the center – is splendid.
Peterson’s art projects extend to youth outside of his family, and often involve robotics. A recent project, Visions of the Robopocalypse, was created with homeless and at-risk youth in Seattle. He is currently designing an after-school robotics/art program for middle school students in South Seattle. meadow starts with P: Ackawacko meeting, Woolworth Building, 11th & Commerce, through September 24, 2010; www.andrew-j-peterson.com