I’ve been friends with Peter Draw for a while now on Facebook, and over the years I’ve seen many posts of him that draw a smile on my face. Peter is an artist who tries to make the world a better place with art projects and drawings with children. The man himself is just as inspirational as his mission, so we were very happy he wanted to tell his story to us!
Hey Peter, first of all, can you give a little introduction about yourself?
My name is Peter Draw. My real name is Peter Zhuo. I started teaching art to kids when I was 16 years old. The kids always call me Peter Draw, so I started using the name they gave me. I’m from Singapore, I’m 32 this year. My job is being an Artist and I love to travel, drinking coffee and explore new places. I use art to protect children who can’t protect themselves and I want them to keep on going long after I’m no longer around. I want to make art that puts a smile on peoples faces. Drawing is the only thing I know, and to me, making people happy is meaningful. So I combine these two together. I love that what I love became my life.
For example, in 2011, I visited survivors of earthquakes and tsunamis in Costa Rica, China, Taiwan, Indonesia to make drawings to bring over to children in Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi to encourage them not to give up on their dreams.
Why are you doing this?
I’m doing this because.. Even though people say that we can’t protect everyone in this world, but for those we can, we must.. And because we can, we must.. This is why I draw.
I believe our children are our future, and if we want to change the future, we must start with the children. I believe in a future that’s built entirely on love, and that’s why I hope to reach as many children as possible with my art.
It is true that sometimes people may comment that what I do may not seem fair to myself, it doesn’t pay off for myself, it doesn’t justify my efforts… Sometimes I get hurt, sometimes I feel loss, sometimes I feel down and hopeless too… But I just keep on going… How I feel is this.. If at the end of my life, maybe when I will be 80, or 90 years old, if everything I did proves to be futile, then the loss is personal. But if what I do succeeds, this could bring positive change to so many children and children’s children in this generation and the next generations. If you ask me, it’s worth it. Maybe my life has only one story… Using drawings to do something for our society… But it’s the only story I want my life to be.
What do you love the most about it?
As a child, I always wanted to meet someone who can make the world a better place because of what he does as an artist. If I don’t meet this person, I’ll be this person. What I love the most about doing this is hearing people’s stories through all the work I have done.. I’m actually collecting many stories and children’s drawings from Costa Rica, South Africa, Japan, China, Taiwan and all over Asia. I hope that one day, I can sit on a swing and tell my future children and grandchildren about how a little boy went for his dreams to be an artist and changed the world.
You’re also doing art projects. I saw on Facebook that you did and exhibition with a lot of balloons. Can you tell a little bit more about that?
For the balloons exhibition, it is really simple. Each day, I add in new balloons and remove old balloons, everyday, throughout the length of exhibition. The idea is everything changes, but nothing really changes. Until we start doing everything we do with love. Unless we start everything we do with love, if not, we cannot really effect real change. Therefore, the title of the work is “First, Love”
What life lessons did you learn in your journey?
I’ve learned from the passing of my lategrandfather that sometimes in life, our loved ones cannot wait forever for us. If there’s something you want to do, do it now. Hesitate and you may lose the chance forever.
In 2008, I visited over 10,000 children across Southeast Asia in the 10 ASEAN states to make them happy, find out what makes them happy and use their happiness to remind us the adults one simple message we already know, but have forgotten. Sometimes in life, it’s only the simple things in life that are already around us that truly make us happy.
What advice would you give other people?
My advice would be that sometimes we don’t realize the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. If there’s something you really want to do, go do it. The challenge for young people is that sometimes they overthink how difficult these challenges can be… My reply to them is that if its something you really love, how hard can it be?
Are there some memories you have doing this that you will never forget?
Too many.. In 2008, I was in Myanmar when I visited the home of a local driver. He invited me to his house and his daughter knew that I’m an artist and showed me a jotter book filled with her fashion design drawings. It was beautiful but I asked her one question, why is everything in black and white.. she replied she never owned any color pencils before. Immediately, i went to the car and emptied the luggage, took out 100 of boxes of Faber Castell Crayons and gave it to her.. It was her birthday too. She cried, and gave me a hug.
The next day when the local driver was driving us back to the airport, he passed me a new jotter book and said it was from his daughter. I opened it and saw new fashion design drawings. The big difference this time is that all drawings were filled with colors. It was so beautiful. On the last page, she wrote that one day, she hoped she would be a successful fashion designer and make me something beautiful to wear. The father said she hasn’t slept the whole night and that she kept on coloring as she was so excited. I may need a lot of courage to wear her design because all of her fashion design drawings are sexy dresses!
Last but not least, what is happiness to you?
Happiness to me.. is smiling from our heart. Not just on the outside, but on the inside.
Peter also heard about the terror attacks yesterday in our country Belgium. He wanted to add the message to this article that his prayers are with all the people in Belgium. He also drew this for us to show his support and love (thank you Peter!).
Peter has aso written a book called “Draw on Love“. You can find it in the Amazon bookstore, and if you’re in Singapore, you can find it in Kinokuniya and Popular book stores in Singapore.