Pecou, known for his self-portraits and other paintings addressing themes such as hip-hop culture and black masculinity, said that no one was present at the time of the fire but that “[years] of work, supplies, tools, and fond memories lay in ashes.”
Earlier this year, Pecou received a doctorate from Emory University’s Institute of Liberal Arts and the Visual Artist Award from the National Black Arts Festival. His exhibition “Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance,” which originated at the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in 2016, continued its national tour, and he also presented a solo exhibition, “Memory,” at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York.
Pecou has been one of Atlanta’s most prominent artists for over a decade, having received an Artadia award in 2007 and later featured alongside artists Wifredo Lam and José Parlá in the exhibition “Imagining New Worlds” at the High Museum of Art in 2015. In 2017, he presented the solo exhibition “Black Magic” at Backslash Gallery in Paris, his fourth exhibition at the gallery.
Pecou’s wife, the chef Jamila Crawford Pecou, has created a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to raise funds for the artist to rebuild his studio. According to his Instagram post, Pecou himself is determined to “be reborn from these ashes stronger than ever.”
In his 2016 book On Fire, LA-based writer and curator Jonathan Griffin writes, “Throughout art history, artists’ studios are always burning down.” The book, published by Paper Monument, comprises a series of interviews with contemporary artists whose studios have burned down, including Brendan Fowler, Christian Cummings, and John Riepenhoff.