A drifter is “one who travels or moves about aimlessly,” an apt description for both the artist Kenneth Peloke and the wild characters he paints. Inclined to wander creatively since childhood, Peloke now finds himself drawn to animals who do the same, who embrace the freedom to roam: horses unencumbered by corrals; bison undaunted by property lines; wolves roving for prey; even cowboys on the range. All are wild souls disposed to cover wide terrain, a disposition Peloke shares. Having taught himself to paint and draw at age seven, he meticulously depicted the natural world around him and then layered his academic study of art and music into a deep appreciation for abstraction. While practical concerns led him to choose a career in graphic design, the sea of change that is fatherhood allowed him to rediscover the drifter-artist within.
“Art saved me,” he says. “People ask me all the time, ‘How did you become a painter?’ To be honest, I don’t know. I didn’t have a plan or direction. I followed my instinct." He identifies with the elemental priorities embodied by free-range animals—providing for their young and themselves, protecting their territory—“completely opposite from the world we live in today,” he says. “To be in a field, free and alone, I’ve always been drawn to that ideal.” Ideally, collectors connect with this notion and see his canvases as a conduit for reflection and an indication of personal achievement. “I feel blessed to paint,” Peloke says. “I hope my paintings inspire people to take a deep breath and give people a sense of satisfaction for all they’ve accomplished. I hope they provide a bit of an escape, even if for only a moment.”