Peter Scherrer arrived in Los Angeles in 1991 with a tiny duffle bag and directions to the Rainbow on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. He ‘d heard it was the place to be.
A native of Switzerland, Scherrer grew up in a small village outside of Zürich. Although he’d traveled throughout Europe, Los Angeles was new territory. It was a place to test his mettle and experience rock n’ roll, sex and beach culture – American style.
Scherrer had been in art schools since the age of 16, earning a degree in graphic design in 1990. L.A. was creative, fertile ground and home to one of the best design schools in the world. Always hungry to learn but mainly looking for an excuse to extend his stay, he enrolled at Art Center College of Design, and in 1993, he completed a BFA in graphic design and packaging, and a few years later an MFA in media and communications at the same school.
When he started out, graphic design was pretty much hands on. Designers had to know how to draw, paint, photograph, process and produce. They got dirty. They sliced their fingers on their straight edge.
Scherrer liked designing with the tools of his trade but he was also adaptable, and eventually – like everyone else – he transitioned from drawing boards and paper to computer screens and design applications. He also made the leap from hired gun to running his own design studio.
Years later, with a successful studio and a substantial portfolio of creative, professional work, Scherrer returned to his first medium – painting. Now, his hands get dirty. He smells his medium. His tools are real. Sometimes he returns to the computer to set typography to use in his paintings, but mostly he works with acrylic on canvas. Although there is a sense of chaos or freeform, in fact, Scherrer maintains a grid – sometimes hidden, sometimes more obvious.
“In the end, I think my work is very reflective of who I am,” he says. “It’s my way to process my experiences.”