Peter Whitehead

PETER WHITEHEAD is a composer, songwriter, performer, instrument builder, and visual artist. Born in England, Peter has lived and worked in the US since 1975, exploring visual arts and music. His work in both fields has received critical acclaim. Growing up in London in the 60s, musically he gravitated to the guitar and the more experimental styles of Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Syd Barret, Frank Zappa, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Poetry and words took precedence and folk songwriters such as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan became strong influences. Whitehead presently focuses his time on composing music for dance and film and instrument building, a career that has required a New York and San Francisco presence.

A fascination with unusual sounds, voices, early music and the instruments of other cultures inspired his extensive research and travels through southeast Asia. The travels motivated Whitehead to construct one-of a kind instruments containing found objects in a minimal format, often generating sounds with eastern nuances.

Simultaneously his visual art work took on a collage style, or what Kurt Schwitters would describe as "mertz". Schwitters said his term Merz "essentially means combining all conceivable materials for artistic purposes..." In the early 80's, inspired by the journals of Peter Beard, Whitehead began an ongoing practice of building collages in large books as a parallel visual world to his musical universe of cobbling sound with original instruments and vocals.

Peter Whitehead presents painting and journals at 60SIX.

link to Bay Guardian 2012, 60SIX exhibition artist interview:

Peter Whitehead