When you walk into Lance Peacock’s home, you notice the artwork hanging on the walls.
What you don’t notice is the way Peacock’s eyes shake, or the way he steadies himself with a cane when he walks. You would never know that he used to be paralyzed on the left side of his body. He couldn’t walk, talk or even swallow.
You notice paintings of a man tilting his hat to you in the pews at church, you notice the rough hands of a cowboy at work, and you notice the desperation and sadness in a boys face.
Lance Peacock is the artist behind these paintings, and at only 39 years old, he suffered a massive stroke.
Peacock grew up with a love for art and a supportive family who encouraged his talents. He became a successful entrepreneur who ran his own business for nearly 20 years—then suddenly on an October day nine years ago—he suffered a stroke and his life changed. After months of intensive care and rehabilitation, Peacock decided to go back to school and enrolled at Utah Valley University.
“It was hard to go back after a stroke, and it was hard going back in my 40’s when I was surrounded by young 20-somethings” he said. “But I had some really good professors. Perry Stewart really took me under his wing and all of the other students treated me well.”
When Peacock decided to go back to school, he took a few art classes because he had always enjoyed it. He then decided that he should get a degree in fine art, since he was spending a lot of his time at school in those art classes.
The stroke had damaged more than just motor skills, it had also damaged his cognitive as well. “A lot of classes were hard for me, like math. But art was something I could do, and it was something I enjoyed,” Peacock said.
His challenges with his motor skills were something to overcome as well. Peacock describes his paintings as “loose.” Even though his paintings are realistic, the loss of total control of his hands doesn’t allow for him to perfect the fine details of a painting or drawing.
The subjects of his artwork are unique. They are mostly portraits, but not in the traditional sense. “Traditional portraits can depict a person in their prime, a politician, an official or hero, usually at their best. I attempt to show people outside of their norm, maybe past their prime, or in their daily lives. Portraits don’t need to be a headshot. Hands or body, our surroundings or placement can depict what a person does for a living, the stage of their life, what they have accomplished, or failed.”
He states that because of his disability, he can see the value in all people. Paintings don’t need to be “sofa paintings” as he calls them, paintings that hang in the living room to match the decor. “I hope to show some commonality between the viewer and the portraits. I hope to hear someone say ‘don’t those hands remind you of…’ or ‘do you remember when we…’ or even just a ‘hmm’ as someone walks by,” Peacock said.
By Brooke Stokes