Peter Cameron

Peter Cameron inadvertently took up art whilst serving a nine year prison sentence in 1987, “I had intended to learn Spanish but the class was too chaotic and I somehow ended up in the art class that was run by the now acclaimed cartoonist Steve Best (Bestie) where I copied a photograph of two chimpanzees about to make their space debut from a back issue of the National Geographic. I put them in prison uniforms, gave them a plastic bucket, a visiting order, a cell card, kept their expression of despair and sold the result to a car thief for half an ounce of tobacco thus launching my career as a professional artist.” Peter came to an ‘arrangement’ with his austere surroundings by making it the subject of his art. “I sort of painted my way out of prison, if you like”. He went on to win top awards in the annual Koestler art exhibition, a national exhibition for prisons and special hospitals.

On his release he began to work part-time for the Koestler Arts Trust and became one of the category judges and latterly a trustee. “Getting nicked became a career move”. This enabled him to afford to attempt living from painting pictures.

Peter now works from a Liverpool studio he shares with ten other artists. His work is still consistently figurative, pictures of the other people in a detached, almost voyeuristic, and unposed way, a legacy from the time spent inside possibly. “I can’t imagine painting a picture without a person in it.” He uses most media but seems to concentrate on soft pastels these days and has been selected for the Mall Pastels Open on the four times he has entered, winning the Alexander Prowse award in 2007. He has also exhibited at Whiteleys, Micheal Parkin gallery, Smiths, The Royal Festival Hall, The Battersea Affordable Art Fair on three occasions, The London Art Fair and The Chelsea Art Show. Other London venues include The Pleasance theatre and Cosa Gallery in Notting Hill. Peter has also exhibited and sold work in various venues in Liverpool and Manchester and was a De Montfort finalist at the NEC autumn fair in 2005.

Peter was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2003, “It could be the reason why I’m happier with pastels. The proximity to the surface seems to minimise the tremor and allows more control over the image. I’m not too worried really, I’m pretty interested to see how I pan out as an abstract impressionist.” Peter won the Mervyn Peake award for Parkinson sufferers back in 2004, and has sold consistently in the North West. He also has work in America, France, Holland and Spain.