by Ron Fernandez

As a creator, Peter Kalisch is drawn to the primeval power behind art.

“I’m trying to access a primal state,” he says. “The confusion and anger you feel at a certain time in your life. I guess it’s a fuck you to idealizations.”

Born in Escondido, California, Kalisch explains that there wasn’t much to do as a kid, unless you counted going to Walmart. But as far as “Artistic spaces that I identified with – No!” he recounts with a dark laugh.


Posted by Peter Kalisch on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Working in different materials, Peter started doing visual art involving music or sound-activated components a few years ago. Bands would play and he would do performances, combining theatrical exercises, visual projections, and later in solo efforts, his own noise music, which he terms a “wall of noise.”


Fleeing the confines of a small town comprised of “tweakers and Republicans… And gang-related activity,” Peter made the jump to LA, and was proud of himself.

“I made my escape without my parents stopping me.”

Nowadays, Peter fashions performance pieces for underground art scenes of Los Angeles, which he sets to musical scores. They feature costumes, props, and his own body, which he does not mind abusing.

In one performance, Peter was suspended upside down and miked for sound. He proceeded to have the audience whip him on stage and made a mix tape of the proceedings.

“I am trying to be vulnerable in my performances,” he explains.

Frankly, it sounds painful to me, like the needles he asks spectators to insert into his forehead during other shows. I ask him if these sort of stunts hurt.

“It does hurt. It hurts a lot.”

I let that sit there for a sec, until the obvious (at least for me…) follow up question – So why do you do it?