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Whenever Peggy Guest visited her grandmother’s garden as a young girl, the imaginative and fanciful names of the flowers perplexed her. With names like bleeding heart and dandelion, Peggy couldn’t help but be inspired.
Coupled with the fact that her grandmother always had art supplies, it’s no wonder Peggy created a life with art in it. Today, Peggy works as a full-time artist doing murals, carvings, illustrations, sculptures, and more. Her artwork is a self-proclaimed sort of “horticultural hysteria one whisker off center.”
The series of illustrations based on flower names that sound unusual caught the eye of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, so she did a show for their ninetieth anniversary for their Children’s Garden. Her work has also been featured in Powell Gardens outside of Kansas City and the Elizabeth Rozier Gallery in Jefferson City.
After Peggy graduated from Park University with a degree in fine art, she became a graphic illustrator at the now closed Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in Kansas City. The serious subject wore on her, and she turned to her own outlet.
“I started doing whimsical subjects,” Peggy says.
“It was a 180-degree turn, so that I wasn’t always doing bombs and things like that. I wanted to do something happy.”
After many sidewalk art shows in Kansas City, Peggy moved to mid-Missouri with her husband, Joe. People asked for nursery murals, and Peggy happily accepted those commissions, becoming a full-time artist in 1992. In 1993, she painted a Boonslick mural on a building on the corner of Main and High streets in Boonville. In 1994, she carved a twenty-eight-foot totem pole in Rocheport. She and Joe now have a studio in Fayette.
These days, Peggy is experimenting with automaton toys, which are small toys with machines in them. Her unfaltering curiosity makes her wonder how things work, and she dives in wholeheartedly to find out.