Seattle Artist Ten Hundred Walks Us Through His Colorful World
January 13, 2017
In 2006, artist Ten Hundred (whose given name is Peter Robinson) moved from his native Michigan to settle in Washington State’s bustling Emerald City. Since then, he has become somewhat of a local legend. His works can be seen across Seattle in the form of paintings, murals, illustrations, and designs, and, as an avid cannabis advocate, you can even find his work in dispensaries throughout the area. Ten Hundred’s colorful and imaginative creations have piqued the interests of Converse and Nordstrom, and he’s developed ties in both national and local art scenes.
Recently, we had the privilege to ask the talented artist about his creative process and how his relationship to the cannabis industry has influenced his work. You can view and buy his pieces at his website tenhundredart.com, and be sure to follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
When did you first begin to consider yourself an artist?
I have always done art since I was a little kid, but I started to feel comfortable calling myself an artist when I started doing art shows and selling work around 2007.
What motivates you to create?
I am totally addicted to making art. When I haven’t made something new for a few days I get really anxious. I have a strong addictive personality and art is a great outlet for that energy. I feel like I am in my natural state when I am making art. The rest of the time feels foreign and I am just waiting to get to work on the next project. I don’t really have to motivate myself to make art; it’s everything else that takes the motivation.
How and/or where do you pull inspiration?
I am inspired by my family, friends, and fellow artists. I get easily inspired by comics, anime, graffiti, street art, cartoons, children’s literature, world cultures, folklore, legends, and all of life’s mysteries. One of the perks of being an artist is that it teaches you to look at your world in a different way. Inspiration can be anywhere, and an artist’s eye seeks out the beauty and wonder in the world around us all the time.
What made you want to pursue a career in art?
I started out as a musician, producer, and audio engineer. I worked in recording studios and performed in bands for 10 years. I became a visual artist somewhat by accident. I would make a painting, then post it online and it would sell. I repeated that process until it snowballed into my current career. Some amazing folks reached out to me and asked me to do gallery shows and murals and big corporate art gigs. Everything just kind of happened very naturally. I didn’t just decide to quit my job one day and become an artist. It happened naturally over time. It has been such a fun ride so far.
What has been your most memorable moment since you began your art career?
I have had the absolute pleasure of painting live at music festivals, painting a mural for Jet Blue in NYC, and even a couple month-long trips to Brazil to make murals down there. But I think the craziest gig was painting a massive mural of David Bowie on the bottom of a swimming pool. I made a video about the project and it went viral. It was featured on Juxtapoze, Vice, Nerdist, and was even played worldwide television on CNN International. That was crazy — millions of people around the world have seen that video and it was amazing to see all the positive reactions to my art.
How does cannabis contribute to your creativity or thought process while creating your art?
Some folks may find this surprising, but I haven’t smoked weed in 5 years. I am a total supporter of de-criminalizing marijuana and I work and operate in the cannabis community every day, but for me personally, weed isn’t for me. I have done tons of artwork for many recreational cannabis companies in WA state and I love creating art for these companies. The people who run them seem to appreciate art a bit more than the average client, and people who visit cannabis shops really seem to appreciate my artwork.
Any changes you’re looking forward to seeing for cannabis in 2017?
It has been amazing watching this burgeoning industry grow. I am so hyped to have my art be a part of this movement and to be able to create some work for some really cool companies. Smoking can be a great experience and I am honored to have my art be a part of that experience.
Originally from Michigan, what drew you to Seattle?
I moved from Michigan to Florida to study audio engineering. Then I moved to Los Angeles and worked in major recording studios out there for a while. Then I moved to Seattle to create my own recording studio here and work with some talented musicians I had discovered online while I was living in LA. When I moved here 10 years ago I didn’t think I was planning on staying here for a long time, but once I landed here I was hooked. Seattle is such a creatively nurturing community. Both my music and my visual art have been embraced by the Seattle community with open arms and I am so proud to say I am from here.
Some of your artwork is sold at the Seattle dispensary Herban Legends, where you also painted an incredible mural – how did that relationship blossom and do you have future plans on working with other dispensaries?
My relationship with Herban Legends has been amazing! One of the owners knew me through my music from a while ago. Then, as I started developing as a visual artist, he was following my work for a while. He reached out to me to create a mural for his store in Belltown, and when that was completed the fun projects just kept coming. At this point I would consider myself a member of the Herban Legends family — I’m responsible for much of the visuals that represent this awesome company. We’ve worked together on creating a separate shop right next to Herban Legends that focuses on art, music, and apparel.
It’s been great working with the folks at Herban Legends because they really focus on creating a full cultural experience at the shop. I have done a bunch of art for other dispensaries, too, and will continue to work to keep bringing more art and creative energy to this awesome cannabis culture.
Through the years, what changes in the art world have affected you most, particularly in pop art?
Having tools like Instagram and Facebook have made it possible for artists like myself to show their work to the world without having to have a gallery show your work for you. I think I am blessed to live in a time where I have so many tools to show my work off on my own. It puts the power right into the hands of the artist, and that has been the single biggest way for me to get my work out there for people to see.
What is your next step for the future of your work?
As my art career continues to blossom I am focusing on getting my art out to the people. I have just started selling my art and apparel in Japan and I am heading down to Brazil this spring to do some more mural work. I also have my first ever solo art show in Los Angeles opening March 25th at Gabba Gallery. That will be a big moment for me because a solo art exhibit in LA was one of my main goals. I am so excited to continue working with Herban Legends on crazy projects and just keep having fun doing what I love.