Book Reviewers
and Interviewers

Books Reviewd by Peter

Kokoro by Soseki
Japan-A History in Art
No Longer Human
House of the Sleepin Beauties

A Favorite Quote

“Success is 99 percent failure”
Soichiro Honda (Japanese Honda Motor Company Founder, b.1906)

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A brief bio on the reviewer

Peter V. Grabas

"The news networks are highly selective and will distort your view of the world into a paranoid nightmare. It isn't that what they report isn't true, its just that they only select 5% of whats happening in the world, and that 95% can and would inspire you. Search for it." November 2009

Born in Chicago, IL, to Ukrainian parents, Peter attended parochial as well as public schools in that city and has been primarily a Chicagoan. He has traveled overseas to Ukraine, Canada and across the United States focusing on the swamps, bogs and Everglades of the southern US and the Caribbean (primarily Puerto Rico) for landscape or "jungle painting". He has attended a number of colleges and universities (including Northern Illinois University, Felician College as well as trade schools for the printing and graphics industry) graduated from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1985, with a BFA in painting and teaching. He has worked as an artist and a graphic designer since. He considers himself primarily a painter but the range of his works include stained glass design and construction, oriental brush painting, photography, as well as twenty years in the graphic arts making books, labels, packaging and "whole host of projects in-between". Although inactive in fine art due to family responsibilities and some illness for the last five years he is now reopening his studio to resume painting and a show next year. His interest is "two-fold, to finish a number of jungle paintings that have been on hold for too long, and to begin a new series on farm and agriculture of the mid-west." "The body of work I call 'Jungle Painting' is inclusive of flora and fauna of the primitive swamps, bogs, everglades and jungle I have visited and camped in. I had a 'Gauguin like' epiphany when I went to Puerto Rico for my first trip in 1982. It changed everything, the dynamics of color and content have never been the same. Every inch of a jungle is alive, hot, wet, turbulent air, filled with life struggling in fertility that I never perceived where I was born in the canyons of Chicago."

An avid reader of non-fiction and Sci Fi since boyhood he has been fascinated by "why are things the way they are?" and this gave rise to a considerable interest in history and art history. This prompted him to begin a series of fictional short stories about a 300 year old man's memoirs as an excuse to write about actual history which he says is "stranger than any fiction you can invent and more interesting than any sopa opera you've ever seen." "I plan to finish the series when I retire, but who knows, I just might surprise myself."

He is always into some project or interest and you can see some of it in his website(s) which he designed as well (including this one The Carlock Book Cafe). The two active sites there are fine art in Fine and Graphic Arts and stained glass in Glass Hearts Studio, although all are under construction, including a blog that is to begin on July 26th, 2010.

His interest in asia began with an introductory course in brush painting in 1980 and grew into his studying with the Shanghai Master Monica Ho-Pei Liu for three years and concurrently studying Tai Chi and Escrima martial arts. "It permanently altered my perceptions about art and the world." "When I was a kid, Asian art had no interest for me, or Medieval history either. Today I find it to be an incredibly rich source of wonder and admiration." He has also become very interested in Seinen Anime and participated as department head for the 2005 Anime Central Convention but does not consider himself an otaku. His humor show in his answer to my question, 'who are you?'. "Holy cats, philosophers have been wrestling with that eternal question for a thousand years, so I'll give you the eternal answer --I don't know!"
Jeff Bryant June, 2010