Painting Peaks – Chris Peterson

In October 2019, the Central Wasatch Commission commissioned the “Mount Olympus and Twin Peaks” mural from local artist Chris Peterson. 

“My objective for this piece was to provide a ‘quintessential view’ of the Wasatch skyline. The reference photo used for this painting was taken near downtown and showcases Mount Olympus, Twin Peaks and the stunning uplifted cliff bands of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The purple-leaning palette was chosen to evoke the majesty of the Wasatch Front, with coloring on the lower slopes mimicking our famous sunsets and the peaks frosted with the greatest snow on earth.” – Chris Peterson, 10/25/19

This 20’x6’ panoramic painting of the Central Wasatch is named “Mount Olympus and Twin Peaks”. Peterson painted this panorama in 2019 with acrylic, aerosol, and oil paint on canvas. The peaks featured in this painting are Mount Olympus, Mount Raymond, Twin Peaks, and Dromedary Peak.

After seeing a photograph of this panorama in the CWC’s office, a local business owner commissioned Chris to paint a larger scale version of this painting called the Wasatch Crown, which is located in South Salt Lake.

“Wasatch Crown” mural by Chris Peterson in South Salt Lake.

About the Artist

Artist Chris Peterson.

Chris Peterson was raised in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. He discovered his interest in drawing and painting from a young age. After graduating high school and a mission for the LDS Church to the South Bronx, Chris came back to Utah to work at Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon. This time, and throughout his early twenties, was a prolific period of painting for Chris. His work was inspired by outdoor adventures in backpacking, snowboarding, and fishing across the American West as well as his painting studies at BYU and Kansas City Art Institute. During this time, Chris exhibited his works locally and across the U.S in Utah, New York City, and Kansas City.

Chris Peterson geared up to paint a mural.

In 2001, Chris shifted away from painting to pursue a career working in conservation and community-building organizations. This work included Colorado River restoration, protecting Utah’s Rivers, rural development programs in East Africa and Asia, and directing Salt Lake City’s westside community & arts center. Chris earned an M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management & Environmental Policy and an M.A. in Environmental Humanities, both from the University of Utah. In 2009, Chris taught elementary art, inspiring him to paint murals and organize community arts projects. Today, he continues to work on murals and artwork inspired by the outdoors. His works can be seen throughout Salt Lake City and Provo.

The Central Wasatch Commission coordinates among community, stakeholders, and government entities to guide the future of Central Wasatch Mountain Range. The “Mount Olympus and Twin Peaks” mural celebrates the splendor of the resource the CWC works to protect, and serves as a daily reminder to staff and those who visit the office of the importance of the CWC’s mission: “Preservation of the Central Wasatch through canyon transportation solutions, concentrated development, environmental and recreational stewardship.”

Because Chris is a personal advocate for the protection of the Central Wasatch, and is proponent of the Central Wasatch Commission’s mission, he sold the 20’x6’ “Mount Olympus and Twin Peaks” mural to the CWC at wholesale cost. For information on the cost of the mural, see the 20/21 CWC budget spreadsheet.

To see more of Chris Peterson’s work, visit his website and follow him on Instagram at @chrispetersonstudio

The “Mount Olympus and Twin Peaks” panorama on display in the CWC office.

Written by Quinn Graves and Carly Lansche

Edited by Lindsey Nielsen

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