Hunter Peatman is a local visual artist and the frontman of up-and-coming band Aldente. I sat down with him to discuss the role of art is society, how he differentiates himself artistically from his peers as well as his music.
What is art in 2019? How does someone differentiate themselves from everything that’s already been done while staying true to your influences?
I really don’t know. I used to paint like Ed Roth I used to paint like basquiat, now I don’t really paint that much. I’ve been trying to focus on painting clothes when I’m feeling creative. When I feel like I’m doing something that feels derivative I like to switch mediums or subject matter. I think about my work in series a lot. I pretty much paint and draw the same thing over and over until I can do it so well that I hate it. In 2019 people like to focus on the process that went into the creation of the work. They’ll tell you how many layers of this they did, and how many thin [layers] they hand cut and put together but to me good art needs no preface. Good art should show you what went into it and you should understand without a 6 minute spiel or a plaque.
What do you think the role of purposefully derivative art and music is in society today? Or designers like Virgil Abloh who are selling nothing but a brand?
There is a vacancy in at today as far as fine art in popular culture. Memes are the most popular art today. Painters are basically practicing a trade that should be extinct. Everyone has a phone, everyone is a photographer and everything that ever could have been painted has. Instagram has replaced the need for visual creative works in the lives of the people. People are derivative because there is nothing original to be made. The envelope cannot be pushed and it’s out of reach. Bands like Greta van Fleet are able to win Grammys for making what is essentially a cover band because originality in Rock music usually sounds terrible. People want what they know. Virgil had the Pyrex shirts going crazy and then when that fell off little bought his new clothes that we a renamed version of the same brand because people value status over the actual fashion of the item… Wow I’m jaded….
What makes the music and art you make different from everything else in Athens?
I’m in a band… But I can’t sing… And I rap… And it sounds nothing like limp biscuit. We make music that I want to listen to. It’s not really my rap that makes it new or interesting it’s that I’m rapping over a live band. I can’t really be better than Gucci Mane or Ski Mask [the Slump God] but they damn sure can’t play an instrument.
How has your music evolved since freestyling over youtube beats in a freshmen dorm?
I don’t freestyle at all anymore. If I make a song, I want the lyrics to be worth and captivating. I want you to listen to the song for the fourth time and laugh about a lyric you never noticed before. I also will never touch a YouTube beat again. There are a ton of people who are better rappers than me that have already killed that beat, and I love hearing my lyrics over live instrumentation.
Where did Aldente get its name?
I honestly have no idea. It’s just something my friend said as a joke and I started using the term incorrectly to describe all type of stuff. As a band name it just worked so well because we’re a band with a rapper so we like to imagine we aren’t quite as soft as your run of the mill Athens band haha.
What’s on the horizon for Aldente?
We’re playing a house soon on the 21st and we’re going to play a frat in April. Also everyone that reads this will email us to see if we will pay their house show/fraternity/wedding/funeral. We’re awesome and I can’t imagine we don’t kill it this year.
Check out Hunter’s band Aldente here!