ARTIST PROFILE: VICTORIA PETWAY

Posted by Claire Brandon on

Victoria Petway grew up in the hills of Franklin, Tennessee and settled onto the rocks of Cape Ann, Massachusetts after gaining a B.A. in Art (Painting and Printmaking) at Gordon College on the North Shore of Boston. She currently lives among the concrete and palms of Los Angeles and is pursuing a series of portraits of skateboarders on their own used decks. Petway has developed a strong devotion to knowing a “sense of place” that has been augmented by working at the Cape Ann Museum and The David Hockney Foundation, two organizations that celebrate artists that are deeply tied to the people and places around them. When she isn’t creating art, she’s probably making music with friends, going on walks, or trying to nail pop shuvits.

I’ve known Victoria since 2004. Our brothers, art class, and Kirk Franklin brought us together, college took us apart, and adulthood reunited us. With an honest bias, Victoria has long been one of my favorite artists and I’m yet to tell her how two years ago I dreamt of a retail space filled with her skateboard pieces; except instead of The Worble’s skate group, they would feature the faces of Fannie Lou Hamer, Janis Joplin, and Po Monkey, available for all to see.

When it came time to design the zine for Delta Vintage, I started with Victoria and I’ll be damned if she didn’t try to do it for free. Going with my gut, I selected one of my favorite photos for the first piece of art I’ve ever purchased. I did my best to bring her down to the cross streets of Johnson and Main in Greenwood, MS via email and wound up clarifying for myself why it was that I needed to cement this moment in time — 

“I chose this photo cause of the juxtaposition it represents for me. This car is legitimately always parked on this same block in Greenwood, MS after you cross the train tracks going into a rough part of town. It's perched up on this iconic block of what used to be an iconic town and now represents something completely different, demanding your attention with a very "take it or leave it" mentality. No need to explain all of the dynamics that I am sifting through, but this is definitely an underlying note of that region. I like the confidence behind it, I like the consistency I've found in it being there, and it makes me want to know more.”

The stars aligned and I wound up on her daybed in LA for the GRAMMY event, which meant leaving with the souvenir of a lifetime taped up a box meant for her vacuum. For a moment Southwest thought they lost my favorite appliance, but they didn’t know what precious cargo they had.

Grateful for her friendship and work, I am proud to have Victoria’s Pillar of Johnson and Main cover my first print project shared with each of you.

You can find more of Victoria’s work on her website: http://victoriapetway.com/