Peter Tunney's art (and a secret room) inside a Manhattan movie theater

- Catch a movie at the iPic Theaters at Fulton Market in South Street Seaport and you will learn a lot about Peter Tunney. When you first walk in, you see a giant piece of Peter's art inspired by two square inches of his jeans.

There's "Something Wonderful," which is filled with movie references, and "Easy Rider," which he made with spray paint after declaring himself a street artist.

Peter's art is splashed all over the theaters and he even has his own secret room. It's a private bar filled with treasures from Peter's past.

Press the bookcase and enter his world. Life's Imponderables is the book you have to press, Peter says.

Inside, there are all sorts of memories like photos of his Little League Football Team from Stonybrook, Long Island, in 1974. Peter says he was the worst player on the team.

There's the Cap'n Crunch box he signed and sold as art. A similar piece, he says, sold for $2,000.

In the corner, there's a photo of Peter dressed as a mushroom holding a sign that says "I'm not a mushroom" with Grace Jones at the Crobar on a Sunday at 8 a.m. Peter was living at the Crobar at the time, something he did for 320 days from December 2003 to November 2004.

I asked him if it was an inspirational time. It was good inspiration, he says, to go to rehab.

Over some non-alcoholic drinks in the iPic, Peter and I talked about what his life could've been if he hadn't gotten sober. Peter says he thinks about it every day. He certainly wouldn't be here, he says, calling himself a guy on borrowed time having the time of his life.

He calls his art his "living amends." It's his way of trying to cheer people up and make things a little better.

It seems like a 180 for a guy whose first career was on Wall Street, but Peter says the pressures in business and art are similar.

He can remember staying up all night trying to write prospectuses with a legal team because they wanted to launch a deal on Friday and it was Tuesday and they had to print. He also remembers working on IPOs and needing everyone to be on board by 9 o'clock in the morning.

These days, Peter is working on his show for Art Basel in Miami next month. He's calling it Tempus Fugit, which means Time Flies, because, he says, that's how it is. Time flies. A bit like his secret room at the iPic, the show looks back in time on his 31 years as an artist.

Peter says it will include the worst things he made in the beginning when he had no idea what he was doing. He also made about 30 new pieces for the show, on the theme of Tempus Fugit.

But Peter is his own tough act to follow. Last year at Art Basel, he dropped the remnants of Atlantic City's Taj Mahal on the beach.

This year, he says he's going to integrate pieces of that show. He's leaving the chandeliers and carpeting and two pieces from the Taj show and adding in two pieces from every other show he's done.

It's tough to imagine topping the Taj show, but Peter says, he's not planning on it. That just may be the coolest show he's done in his life.

For more of Peter's art or to check out some of his work for Art Basel Miami, follow him on Instagram.

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