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Artist's world tour makes a brief stop in North Bend

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NORTH BEND - North Bend will be a rest stop on a long artistic journey for Peter Teekamp.

After putting a few finishing touches on a mural he painted at Jeani's Sunshine Cafe, Teekamp will rest and consider what to do next after traveling and working throughout the United States.

The artist came to the Valley at the behest of a friend he had met in California more than 10 years ago named Julie Moshay. Moshay, who now lives in North Bend, planned to write a story about the history and philosophy of Teekamp, who has traveled the world and painted to earn a living.

"If you have a talent, you can take that talent all over the world," he said. "That is what I have done."

Teekamp was born and raised in Amsterdam. Despite the lack of formal art school training, Teekamp became a painter. While traveling and painting as a young man, he met a woman from Minnesota whom he would eventually marry. The pair moved to Minnesota and had two children. Teekamp continued to work as an artist and even opened up his own studio.

Once his two children were grown, Teekamp grew restless. Missing meeting new people and seeing fresh places, he began traveling around the world.

"Some people travel and take pictures," he said. "I paint pictures."

In Israel, Teekamp was painting a mural at a home when a man starting looking him up and down. The man initially made Teekamp uncomfortable because there was tension between Arabs and Jews in the area and many people mistook Teekamp for a Jew. The man surprised him by asking if he wanted to play one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ in a movie that was being filmed called "The Body." Teekamp agreed and even had a scene with Antonio Banderas. Not too long after, he was again asked to play one of Jesus' Apostles - this time in a mini-series being filmed by the British Broadcasting Corp. about the life of Jesus. Later, Teekamp was asked to be in a Jean Claude Van Dame movie. All in all, the artist appeared in five films or shows while living in Israel.

After Israel Teekamp headed to India, where he stayed and worked in the 5,000-year-old city of Varanasi. There he learned what wealth is and what it means as Teekamp was surrounded by severe poverty.

"It was hard in India," he said. "This country is so blessed with abundance."

In a hotel in India, Teekamp watched the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on television. It was watching the World Trade Center collapse that made Teekamp realize he was an American.

"It hurt me so much to watch," he said. "I realized, 'I'm a Yankee.'"

Following the attacks the artist resolved to return to America and see as much of it as he could. So, for the past two years Teekamp has traveled America, staying where he could for as long or as briefly as he wanted, and always painting. He even stopped in South Dakota to work on a three-generational painting with his daughter and grand-daughter.

"This is such a great country," Teekamp said. "I wanted to dot [like dots on a map] America."

He arrived in North Bend a couple of months ago when Moshay told him about a new cafe that was opening. He has since covered Jeani's Sunshine Cafe with murals that are personalized by himself and the people for whom he paints. For instance, a dog is featured on one of the walls holding a dollar; a likeness inspired by the owner's dog named "Buck."

With each stop, Teekamp said he has been inspired by the philosophies he has learned from his travels. One of those has been to keep moving and to keep learning. While being a traveling artist may not make one rich, allowing a talent and passion to earn a living will make one happy.

* For information about Peter Teekamp, visit www.muralsbypeter.com.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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