Caspar Petéus is an internationally renown male model. He has walked for Etro, appeared in ads for Diesel, and is slated to appear in an upcoming editorial with Beautiful Savage Magazine. What is lesser known about Petéus is that he is a solid artist. He was always an artist, and much like Johnny Depp who took up acting because it was available, Petéus took up modeling because photographers and agencies swoon over his angular jaw and Nordic eyes. But like any great novel, the real substance is found within, and for Petéus, this equates to expressing himself by way of visual mediums.
Petéus works primarily with acrylics, but he recently collaborated with performance artist Lena Marquise to create a series called “Alchemy: the process,” where the pair used the digital manipulation of micro photography to explore the emotional effects of dysmorphia and purification. Today Caspar Petéus, the Swedish born artist is based in New York and we are thrilled that he took the time to answer a few questions for us. To learn more about his work, visit his website: Caspar Petéus
Caspar, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for “Beautiful Savage“. We are highly interested in your working process, so could you tell us about your visual aesthetic and your artistic style?
My first interest in art was through graffiti. Bending letters was the most amazing thing I knew, and I was drawing several pieces per day. I was very active in the sewing and woodworking classes in school. After high school I started working with conservation and restoration of historical paintings, buildings and churches. I’ve been around a lot of religious figures and spaces and I like the gestures and the majestic aura these places have. I guess my work reflects all of that in some way. I like to deconstruct classic ideas.
I’m constantly trying to expand and experiment with different mediums and sources as it allows me to go into very different aesthetics. I believe that although my works all have different attitudes, they can still play together. I like the notion of transgression and the idea of periphery. I enjoy the synergy of pairing entities that never had anything to do with one another other until you joined them – and together they created something new. A lot of my work, aesthetically, evolves around negative spaces, whether its a abstract painting, collage or a portrait. I feel that everything I create stems from my own thoughts on transgression, desire and sexuality.
What influences your creative process before you start working on a new project?
Theres no kind of math or pre-planning, everything is very simple and direct. When i take the spontaneity out of the process i also take the fun away. I was lolling around at Target the other day and i found some paper sheets I thought looked quite nice. I took them to my studio and birthed 5 pieces that week; that unplanned purchase propelled a new series of collages that I’m working on.
I used to bleach and process clothes I no longer used. I made patches from cutouts and sewed them onto other garments. I feel I’m now revisiting that through my paper collages. The only constant in my process is the absolute urge to do it, whatever it might be.
You had a recent show called “Alchemy: the process,” can you tell us a little bit about it?
Alchemy was a show Lena Marquise and I put together, consisting of 26 photographs. We photographed and represented one other with 13 pieces each. We then worked on the images individually, in different countries. We worked to distort the human figure in its purest form and then puzzle it together backwards, upside down.
Which are your role models or different artists you are inspired or influenced by?
Francis Bacon is someone I’m always looking at. Im possessed by his gestures and color pallets. I really am taken by Nicola Samori. For the past months I’ve been obsessing over Berlin De Bruyckere’s work. I don’t think I’ve seen such honest brutality, aggression and vulnerability in any artists work other than Francis Bacon.
But I think music is the most essential thing to me. Ive been listening to Return to Bubble Metropolis mixtape by Drexciya every day for the last month. Some things just put you far, far away from everything that is reality.
What made you leaving the world of fashion to turn to be a practicing artist?
I’m still working occasionally, but its more of a side show. Pun intended. Theres so much uncertainty in the business, you can’t rely on anything or anyone, it gets to you after a while. I also had my fair share of dealing with shady agents and clients so I’m a lot more careful about who I work with now. I wouldn’t be able to live in New York if it wasn’t for modeling, so I’m very thankful for the opportunity.
How would you describe the word “Beauty??”
Beauty is often thought off in terms of visual aesthetics, but could also be a kind of temperamental or psychological aesthetic. It exists in so many different and dichotomous ways. Theres an aura about it that people get or don’t get. Beauty is anything, it can’t be proven.
If you could have a specific super power, what would that be?
To expand time, turn invisible and occasionally experience the life of a flower.
What are you working on currently?
Im working on a collaborative body of work based on the uterus with Pärra “Ruskig” Andreasson, an artist and good friend from Sweden.
I’m showing a few of my pieces at Club 157 in Brooklyn, and LA Mother in Los Angeles in February. I am also in the beginning phases of a mural project with Hanro of Switzerland’s New York location.
Caspar Petéus – All images courtesy