Peter Hazel worked as a tile and granite contractor for over 28 years. He is a master craftsman well-known for his design expertise and creativity with color, layout, and grain matching. Growing up, Peter was surrounded by great artists including his own father, Richard Hazel. Richard was renowned for his fine landscape oil paintings and entrepreneurial flair. On a trip to Barcelona in 2008, Hazel came across the works of Antoni Gaudi. A Spanish architect, Gaudi is known for his highly individual and distinctive style that integrates the use of neo-Gothic and Oriental architecture with ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork, and carpentry. After seeing Gaudi’s work, he couldn’t wait to get home and start creating his own. As his first piece, he made a birdbath for a friend as a birthday gift. The whole experience was not only profound and enjoyable, but the reaction was so positive that it really inspired me to take it further. He didn’t know if it was going to be good, and apart from his experience with ceramics and stone, he was entering new territory. He said, “I was so inspired by what I had seen in Gaudi’s work.”
Spurred on by early reactions to his work, Peter set about making a large piece of functional art – The Wave Bench, made entirely out of recycled ceramics. It is currently on display at the Napa Art Walk. In 2012, Peter Hazel was commissioned to create a giant mosaic pumpkin by Cameron Palmer, committee chairman for the world-famous Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival. Measuring 10-feet high by 12-feet wide and weighing in at 10,000 pounds, it is considered the world’s largest, heaviest work of “pumpkin art.” Most poignant, however, is Peter’s personal connection to the festival, first initiated by his artist father in 1971. Among his significant pieces is a fan favorite, “Love Letter to Elaine,” featured at the 2014 Burning Man festival. “Love Letter” is a tribute to his sweetheart and her favorite flower, standing 15 feet tall. He again participated in the 2015 Burning Man festival with “Fly By,” a giant manta ray, in collaboration with Colin O’Bryan, a steel artist. In 2016, Peter was granted an Honorarium through the Burning Man Arts Association to create a massive octopus, with a width of 25 feet, and standing 12 feet tall. This piece, “Octavius” has attracted much attention to Peter Hazel as one of Reno’s biggest up and coming artists, and was also featured at the Reno Sculpture Fest. Most recently, his largest piece “Bloom” stands 40 feet tall and is a jellyfish comprised of glass and steel. This is Peter’s largest piece to date and received an Honorarium from Burning Man for two years in a row. 2019 He took home honorarium on a massive 40ft Crocidle, Nicolitus, holding over 100,000 tiles. Every year he gets bigger, better, and bolder.