Photography by Kayte Demont
There’s something to be said for each individual’s creative process. For some, the smell of fresh mountain air and the soothing sounds of nature spur a bout of inspiration. For others, it’s the bustling streets of a city and the whirlwind energy of a crowd that gets the juices flowing. Whatever you prefer, it’s the act of harnessing your sources of inspiration that truly turn it into art. It takes dedication, perseverance, and a strong desire to succeed. Artist and runner, Bobby Peavey has perfected the craft of turning his everyday inspiration, into beautiful and unique illustrations.
I initially met Bobby at a birthday party in Denver (coincidentally the same party that I met Kate at!), although he grew up on the east coast in Virginia (also where his love of running first budded). His energy was outgoing and lively but with a laidback essence, something that lent itself perfectly to the situation; he was the only male at the party. What started as standard group small talk turned into a conversation about passion and creativity. After that, I knew that I wanted to learn more about Bobby and his creative process. It’s not every day you meet such a genuine soul who pursues what they love in such a pure form.
What I love most about Bobby’s work are the clean lines and muted, almost pastel colors, that still pack a punch. He has absolutely crafted his own style of design and illustration and they never fail to give me pause as I ponder each creation. It’s clear that his love of nature and running have an influence on his work, in a subtle yet innate way. In the weeks following the party, I got the opportunity to sit down with Bobby to chat about life, his background and what makes him wake up every day with an urge to draw. The common theme throughout our conversation was how to source inspiration and then how to take that inspiration and harness it into trudging forward and doing what you love no matter what.
What is one thing that you do daily to trigger inspiration and advance your creativity?
Creative triggers are tough to predict. I just make an effort to go through every day with my eyes and ears wide open. Some of my common reoccurring triggers are music, surf & skate culture, the ridiculousness of social media, and simple pleasures like beer.
As far as advancing the creativity goes, I think the most important thing is putting pen to paper every day. I try to get a little weirder with it every time and experiment with new strokes, mediums, subject matters; sort of brain vomit until something new eventually hits the paper. My sketchbook is my place to test the boundaries of how visually honest and vulnerable I can be with myself on a daily basis.
You’re an avid runner and an outdoorsy type. How do your other interests and passions integrate with and influence your art?
My brain just ticks better when I get some quality fresh air and live inside an efficiently functioning physical body. I come from a competitive running background and have found a home in the mountains where I get to satisfy both the competitive and meditative physical cravings that creep in on a daily basis. Sometimes I spend my time in the mountains brainstorming upcoming projects and illustrations. But most of the time it’s really just my time of the day to turn the brain off, take deep breathes and unclog any creative blockage. I find my thoughts and creativity translate to paper much more effortlessly after a solid endorphin kick.
Many creatives who pursue any kind of artistic career experience pushback from loved ones for not getting a “normal job.” Have you had any of those conversations in your life? Did you struggle with deciding to really go after your drawing?
I’m very fortunate to have family and friends that emotionally support the hell out of my artistic journey. Sure, I had the “art isn’t a real job” talk with my parents when I left the business school for an art major my sophomore year of college. But for the most part, my inner circle truly believes in my creativity and work ethic. When they poke holes in my long term design dreams and challenge me on the finances of it all, I know its just because they want to see me succeed. I genuinely value those skepticisms/criticisms and use them to fine-tune my plans to chase happiness.
What’s a piece of advice that you wish someone had given you before you embarked on your creative journey?
Find comfort in discomfort.
I think this advice holds true both in art and life in general. But comfort zones are particularly detrimental to creativity. Moments of discomfort are opportunities to learn and grow as an artist. I’ve tried to make a habit of taking on projects that intimidate and challenge me. Sometimes the final product of those projects is super rad, other times not so much. But I always feel like I come out on the other side with a better understanding of myself as an artist.
If you resonated with Bobby and his words, give him a follow on IG! He’s open for design inquiries and would be an excellent addition to any project that you’re working on!