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Pop art to the max

Legendary psychedelic artist heads to Portland for retrospective of his work


Photo Credit: COURTESY OF RELEVANT COMMUNICATIONS - Peter Maxs art, including new works called Marilyn, based on Marilyn Monroe photos, have been on display at Road Show Company at Pioneer Place, where Max appears Aug. 23 and 24. I love mixing my own fantasy with reality, he says.When Peter Max was attending art school in Manhattan in the 1950s, a stunning blonde woman used to walk by him and his friends every now and then.

She even called “Hey fellas!” to him and his friends once, much to their delight.

Not only was she beautiful, she also happened to be famous. Her name was Marilyn Monroe, and her visage never has stopped fascinating Max, one of America’s most famous — and popular — painters, one of the artists who invented what’s now called Pop Art in the 1960s.

Max recently completed a new series of paintings titled “Marilyn,” using photographs of Monroe taken by the famed fashion photographer Milton Greene. Max used his vivid sense of color and brushstrokes to bring a new perspective to the images. When told the series seems akin to Andy Warhol’s famed Marilyn Monroe paintings, Max notes he and Warhol shared a hobby.

“We used to go together to stores collecting cookie jars,” he says with a slight chuckle during a phone interview from New York City.

Max is full of such stories, and likely will share some when he comes to Portland this weekend to meet and greet fans of his work. He will be available from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at Road Show Company at Pioneer Place, Suite 1310, 340 S.W. Morrison St.

RSVPs are required, so email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 844-810-9100.

There also will be a children’s event from 11 a.m. to noon. You can learn more about the artist at www.petermax.com.

Peter Max's art is the centerpiece of an Aug. 23-24  event in Portland.Max has assembled between 40 and 60 pieces of imagery, from his iconic Pop Art designs commemorating Woodstock to the 2013 unveiling of Max’s design for the cruise ship Breakaway, as well as the new Marilyn series.

Max has painted for five presidents and he has been the official artist of five NFL Super Bowls, the 2006 Olympics, World Cup USA, World Series, U.S. Open, Indy 500, New York City Marathon, and the Kentucky Derby.

The artist uses pen and ink, acrylic paints, color pencils and photos in his work, and has also sculpted, etched, created videos and worked in digital media.

His style, that of a sophisticated child filled with wonder at the world, made him a counter-cultural figure at first, then gained him entree into the mainstream of American life, as his work graced postage stamps, posters and other items. Interestingly, Max says although he’s known for painting the iconic and famous, the vast majority of his pieces are not about such subjects.

“I love mixing my own fantasy with reality,” Max says. “I love inventing images. Sometimes it’s partial reality, sometimes it’s outer space.”

He also wants the public to access his work, he says, which is why he keeps the prices of his pieces as low as possible, eschewing the high-end art collectors market.

“I actually physically keep the prices down,” he says, noting he’d rather make thousands than millions. Clearly a guy in love with life, Max says he practices yoga and relishes every moment. “I enjoy it, and I put it right back into the art.”