Last year, Demont “Peekaso” Pinder was a “freestyle portraitist” in every sense of the term—-traveling the world with an iPad and an easel, hoping to capture the moment and build a reputation as the DMV’s hardest-working painter. “I’m everywhere,” he told me in December. “I’ve gotta make it happen and I can’t take no for an answer.”
Almost one year later, Peekaso isn’t nearly as frantic. He’s still Raheem DeVaughn‘s art director, and he still paints live on stage when DeVaughn performs. But he doesn’t run around as much, partially because the soul singer has slowed his tour schedule to work on his fourth studio album. Peekaso still paints each Tuesday at the Up and Up Open Mic. At this week’s, he executed an intricate portrait of a young Michael Jackson.
Peekaso says he is exercising patience these days, slowing down the speed by which he paints, and using different brushes to accentuate his work. In years past, Peekaso applied his colors with squeeze tubes and blended them any way he could. Now, he uses more refined brushes to highlight the details of his subjects’ faces. “I’m staying true to what I believe in, but it has a whole new feel to it, more raw emotion,” he says. “It’s new to me again.”
Given his popularity here, it’s hard to believe that Peekaso’s show at Lamont Bishop Gallery this weekend is his first solo exhibit in the area. He says the show features 100 paintings, some of which were completed within the past month. You’ll see a piece made from Roc-A-Wear clothing fabric, a portrait of Kurt Cobain, and some artwork inspired by Peekaso’s young daughter. “I have a lot of supporters out there, so this gives them a chance to see me in a different light,” Peekaso says.
A reception on Saturday begins at 7:30 p.m. Lamont Bishop Gallery is at 1314 9th St. NW.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery