Jamaal Peterman is intrigued by the human obsession of accumulating luxury brands and its relation to social status and power in our modern lives. Depicting contemporary luxury designer products in the European oil painting technique of trompe l’oeil, Peterman brings into question the illusion of wealth and the cultural impact that desirable brands have on the perception of an individual and how an individual perceives those around him/her.
In a social media obsessed world, we are plagued with visuals of celebrities touting brands that have become synonymous with power and wealth. One associates an individual’s value and sense of identity through the objects one accumulates. Peterman cleverly eliminates the human subject as a model, choosing to focus instead on the value of the material objects. Employing hyper-realistic painting style, Peterman paints within the frame of his canvas uber-luxury fashion goods — his chosen symbol of all that is desirable. He shows that the individual judges his/her self-worth and status through another’s’ perception of oneself; associated more than often to consumerism.
Furthermore, Peterman is creating a visual representation of that which is desirable in the current moment. Peterman shows how volatile the moment is — as representations of wealth changes swiftly and dramatically independent of the rationality. Framing the illusion of wealth that we hold within a physical canvas, Peterman brings into question the value of art in relation to such objects. The result is that the viewer is forced to consider what is worth more; the objects in the canvas or the art created on the canvas itself?