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Rising Stars: Meet Billy Peters

Today we’d like to introduce you to Billy Peters. 

Hi Billy, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m an artist that lives in KCK. If you look at my Instagram (@kcbillyp) you’ll realize quickly that I enjoy drawing people. Capturing someone in a drawing is really satisfying and I’d say it’s what I am best at. I also like drawing people’s homes. I’m always learning – a really cool thing about being an artist is that there are always new challenges to find. I like to say that I can’t remember a time in my life that I haven’t considered myself an artist. I have completed work for clients that ranges from small charcoal and pencil portraits, logo designs, fine art, and large projects like exterior murals or promotional chalk art. 

Oddly enough, I think the thing that I’m most known for in Kansas City is my chalk art. I create oversized drawings on pavement using chalk. Often these are 3D or anamorphic art pieces. These types of works are usually used as part of events and promotional items for events. I fell into this line of work through the Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival many years ago. Over ten years ago I met the director of the Kansas City Chalk and Walk, Lottie Halpern, and through her found many jobs doing promotional chalk art. She plugged me into a lot of really cool, high-profile, events. From there I’ve built a name for myself and continue to do chalk art when I can, since the pandemic came along there were not many events but it looks like things are opening up again so I’m hopeful. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I think that I’m blessed. The road hasn’t been bumpy necessarily, I’d say that there have not been many setbacks for me in my pursuit of being a good artist. If anything, I’d say that my road has been long. Not going to an art college and having an art degree, I’ve experienced a slow pace of growth. I’m in a position where my lack of notoriety may place me in an amateur category but if you put me and my work in a room of “professional artists” I’m confident to hold my own. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am an artist that will draw and paint in many different mediums. I’m always exploring and looking for ways to further develop my techniques. Digital illustration and graphic design are in my skill set as well, 

I’m most proud when I create work that has meaning to someone. Often, people will hire me to do a portrait of a loved one, and the sense that a person is going to treasure my work in a deep way is really gratifying. It may be the most important thing I can provide for someone, at least in a tangible sense. 

I’m also really proud that, through the years of creating oversized chalk art, my wife has started to get involved. She never considered herself an artist before. Over the past few years, she has really made an impact on how quickly I can get a large piece completed and I’ve really grown in trusting her to be able to jump in and help in some of the more technical parts of creating a piece as well. I used to ask her for help coloring a large color block or something simple like that and now I’ll leave whole pieces of a design in her hands, at times she is reluctant but I tell her that we can easily fix anything. It’s just paint or chalk! 

The majority of recognition I’ve had in Kansas City comes as a chalk artist, doing promotional events. Creating chalk art, for me, is usually done on location, at an event, and “in front of a crowd”. The spectator aspect of creating chalk art is like a performance art. I’ve always loved how creating chalk art from start to finish, in front of spectators, gives a real lesson in creating art. If you’re paying attention; you get a chance to see the entire creation process. That’s pretty dope to put on display, I think. 

How do you think about happiness?
Allowing people to see my process and watch how I create is awesome. I have really enjoyed the times I’ve had the chance to do drawing demos for students. Sharing my thoughts about my process and what I love about art is very satisfying to me. I’ve done events where kids get to help us create our work and that’s fun to see. The kids have fun and also, I hope they enjoy taking part in a team or group effort. 

I’m also happy about the opportunities to create murals and large-scale work in public spaces. The people that have trusted me to create something that will represent their business or organization is something that I value. It means they like my work and besides being paid, I get satisfaction from that sense of achievement. When you hire an artist, you are legitimizing the work that went into developing their skills and style. 

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