McDonald was born in Tokyo, Japan and studied at St. Martins School of Art. He lives and works in London and Tokyo.Peter McDonald paints multi-coloured visions of our world, inhabited by interpretations of characters we encounter every-day, except in McDonald’s world they have giant balloon heads. The balloon heads are translucent and create sumptuous colour mixes when they interact with other heads, or their environment. McDonald has alluded to this visual device as being a way of ‘suggesting a connectedness between people and their environments’.
It’s a beautiful idea which reflects a Buddhist belief – that every action has a reaction, and so the pursuit of virtue will reap rewards. Indeed McDonald’s reasons for painting are virtuous in themselves; he wants to make works that make people smile and feel happy, and wants as many people as possible to enjoy his work. In 2008 Peter McDonald won the John Moore’s Painting Prize for his work ‘Fontana’, which depicted the Spatialist artist Lucio Fontana (with a balloon head, naturally) slashing one of his egg shaped canvases. As well as the painting not taking itself too seriously, McDonald’s work also stood out thanks to the artist’s choice of medium; ‘Fontana’ was painted with acrylic gouache – matte fluid acrylic.