LAWTON (KFDX/KJTL) — If you were to ask artist Robert Peterson if he thought 10 years ago that his artwork would be in museums and homes across the world, he’d surely tell you, ‘not at all.’
“I picked up a brush just to take my mind off an injury so it’s amazing. It’s a blessing,” Peterson said.
Peterson began his career as an artist a decade ago doing work for some big names and some big places. But it’s hard to imagine any other client having the reach of his latest employer: the United States Postal Service.
“I thought it was fake, to be honest. I thought I was being scammed or Punk’d or something like that,” Peterson said.
Not a joke or an episode of Punk’d, but instead the real deal.
Peterson was commissioned to create a painting that would be used for the 46th stamp in the Postal Services’ Black Heritage Series. Peterson, well, he would be painting novelist Earnest Gaines, a black creative that reminds him of himself.
“He’s a black author that writes stories similar to how I paint, to give us a place in history,” Peterson said.
The stamp would soon be available in every post office and going on mail to be shipped around the world. Robert said he’s grateful for this, but even more excited for the attention it puts on Oklahoma, and especially black creatives.
“It just allows artists to see someone doing something with their art more than Native American or Western Art because that’s what our state is known for. There’s not really a lane for Black art,” Peterson said.
Robert’s main goal? Portraying Black America in a truth that isn’t always told.
“300 years from now when people are going to these museums who own my work, they’ll be able to see a reflection of themselves but also see we are more than the help we are just as deserving to be important enough to be on these walls,” Peterson said.
He adds that if his dreams can get him here, then so can yours.
“I love what I do, but I feel like this is what God put me on Earth to do. believe in yourself enough and eventually, others will, too,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s work is currently on display at the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In September 2024, Peterson will have his largest solo exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum in Wichita, Kansas.
He has also started a scholarship at Cameron University, you can find more information by clicking here. If you are interested in buying the 2023 Black Heritage Stamp, you can click here.
To view more of Peterson’s work and inquiries, you can visit his website here.