HOW MY ARTISTIC WORLD BECAME A WACKY, LOONY WORLD: A look into the past.
(Cartoonist, Peeby), Peter Betts: UK born, before I immigrated in 2009 to Orange county, California with my US screenwriter / novelist wife, Pat Silver-Lasky. I became an American citizen in 2015. Prior to that I was a UK Marketing Manager for Philips, Bosch and Sanyo, ran an advertising/promotions firm and at retirement time became a movie extra. Ultimately I became a Cartoonist/Artist.
I’ve had a career which included spells with Associated News-papers, and international concerns, Plessey, Philips, Bosch
and Sanyo. My early days at the UK’s Sunday Dispatch
newspaper included dashing off screamer headlines on
posters. The company actually had CHURCHILL DEAD pre-
printed posters ready for the great man’s demise. However typically, ‘Winston’ survived on that occasion and the posters were never used. Why? Because The Sunday Dispatch side of Associated Newspapers went to the wall before the great man! But it was in that environment that I learnt how to copy the elegance of Chinese paintings with printer’s ink via a felt tip on the end of a piece of wood. I see I experimented using the
back of the then current Miss Great Britain promotion!
I moved on to a drawing board (Plessey’s Aircraft wiring division) and have fond memories of those days including work for Concorde. During this time I painted and sold over 400 watercolors echoing the Chinese style of brushwork and subjects: horses, cats and dogs. Moving to the promotion department of Philips my responsibility included car radios.
The opportunity to use Pininfarina, Bertone & ItalDesign prototype cars (I had to try them out as you can see below) for promotional purposes was not to be missed.
A scoop during those Philips’ days was to exclusively photograph Prince Rainier of Monaco’s collection of vintage & veteran cars. My personal photographs (below) remind me how crowded his collection was on the first floor garage.
Moving to Sanyo I staged two noteworthy sponsorships:
1, the first commercially sponsored Jazz Festival which starred Sarah Vaughan and Woody Herman’s Orchestra.
2, sponsoring showjumper Harvey Smith and causing an ‘establishment’ furore for changing the names of his seven horses to Sanyo Video, Sanyo HiFi etc. Great publicity as they appeared on BBC which was advertising-free!
After ‘crossing the line’ from client to supplier I ran TECHnique an advertising/promotion company for several years serving British Airways, Virgin, the British Post Office and others.
Upon retirement I spent some ten years as a Movie Extra appearing with Johnnie Depp, Reese Witherspoon and other contemporary stars. Highlights were doubling for Paul McCartney (his hands) and Jon Voight (as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’s father).
I have six UK published children’s cartoon books, A Loony Look at Roman Britain, Celtic Times, The Vikings, The Tudors, Medieval Life and Kings and Queens. As well as two adult-directed ‘Wacky World’ cartoon books.
Currently, ‘Peeby’s Wacky World of…’ series is to include Doctors, Handymen and many others. Apart from designing the covers for OuroborusBooks.biz books and my cartoons I researched for Scams Schemes Scumbags our first husband/wife collaboration.
Added to which is a daily website strip cartoon featuring Kicker at GoComics.com/Sherpa/SoccerDude.
My portfolio is called ‘Contours’: acrylic on canvas abstracts. Like most artists, I’m excited when I start any painting because I don’t know how it will end.
It all begins with a concept based on the topography of the land. Until I study the actual topography map I have no idea which lines of elevation or ‘Contours’ I’ll select for my composition. Next decision, which color combinations I sense for that particular painting. These compositions are not just pretty colors. They highlight the character of each place. However, the same location can provide many variations of height and color. It’s all a journey of discovery.
Working on the set of Harry Potter was all part of a ‘normal extra’s life!
Later, I supplied cartoons for UK national Sunday Express, Editor’s page and front covers in trade/consumer magazines, papers (UK, Ireland and USA).
When I began the Contours series, the butterfly was part of the painting.
It still plays an important role because it specifies the heights (in feet and meters) and the chosen colors for each particular composition. I’m often told by people who live in that location and like to ‘interpret’ it, that it’s ‘cool’ because pictures should tell a story. I think mine do.
My blog highlights aspects of my past life encompassing extraordinary days as a film extra in the U.K.,
When time permits I enjoy a good book, the movies and good food that Pat cooks, which may account for my expanding waistline.