Jan. 5, 2022

Artist Brian Peterson on Using Art as Community Building for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Artist Brian Peterson paints his neighbors experiencing homelessness and uses the money from sold portraits to support them in achieving their hopes and dreams. Brian has founded a non-profit organization based on this idea called Faces of Santa Ana.

Artist Brian Peterson paints his neighbors experiencing homelessness and uses the money from sold portraits to support them in achieving their hopes and dreams. This week on the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast, we interview Brian about his non-profit that was founded on this process, Faces of Santa Ana.

Brian admits approaching strangers isn't easy, but his ability to connect with those experiencing homelessness has led to some remarkably heartwarming stories. In the episode, Brian shares how approaching a screaming man on his block named Matt led to a profound friendship that inspired the first of many portraits, and about how painting one of his subject's drug dealers, Kim, allowed her to financially support her daughter for the first time.

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Read more about Brian Peterson's work and the projects we discuss:

Artist Creates Portraits of the Homeless and Uses Proceeds From Sold Paintings for Their Rehabilitation

Interview: Artist Changes the Lives of the Homeless by Painting Their Portraits

Best of 2021: Our Favorite Moments From the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast [Podcast]

Brian PetersonProfile Photo

Brian Peterson


They say that life begins outside of your comfort zone and Brian Peterson is a true testament to that theory. Art is nothing new for Brian. His artistic skills were discovered by his 4th grade teacher in Miami, FL and he’s had a passion ever since. Brian attended art programs all throughout elementary school, middle school, high school, and later graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2009 with a degree in Industrial Design. His industrial-focused career left his desire to paint on the back burner as he pursued his dream job as a Sr. Automotive Designer at Kia Design Center America. Through his car design endeavors, Brian has had the privilege to design multiple Kia cars and travel around the world to present his work.

In 2015, Brian discovered his acceptance of faith and in Jesus which ultimately reignited his passion for creativity and the desire to create alongside God. This reemergence of artistic life started with addressing the “Elephant in the Room’. For the first time in his life, Brian was able to connect his love for art, his community, and Jesus together to form The Faces of Santa Ana. The Faces of Santa Ana is a non-profit organization that focuses on homelessness and the rehabilitation of our neighbors in Santa Ana, CA.

As Brian continues to pursue his devotion for art, his private collection of work is inspired from his relationship with the Creator and the beauty that he finds in nature. (Fun Fact: Brian loves nature and animal shows.) Brian has currently expanded his portfolio of services to include personal commissions, large-scale murals, and public speaking engagements.