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"I think most of the kids raised there had to be institutionalized," Honig says. "It's not that anything terrible happened to them. They were just raised too freely."
Honig's parents divorced when she was three. As she grew older, she fought with her mother, from whom she is now estranged.
"My mother was pretty verbally abusive to me," Honig says. "She had a horrible temper. I knew I was going to have to leave early."
By the time she graduated from high school, Honig had won a commission from the Mission Cultural Center to paint a mural at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. One of her paintings had won the National Congressional Award. She'd been accepted at several art schools on the East Coast. She chose to attend the Kansas City Art Institute, which had awarded her a partial scholarship.
At seventeen, Honig moved into a dorm in Kansas City.
"Peregrine was kind of out there," recalls Lester Goldman, professor of painting at the Art Institute. "She tended to tweak the gender and sex content in her work in a way that was provocative."
Honig challenged the acceptable gender roles and what was considered permissible in society. Her erotic imagery of young girls had a sexual edge to it and spurred classroom discussions. Honig was outspoken and made sure she got the attention she believed she deserved.
"If I didn't recognize the kind of work she was doing, she would make sure I saw it," Goldman says. "She hobnobbed with visiting artists and made sure they knew her work."
Honig frequented the Bluebird Café and the Corner Restaurant, where she ran into national artists who dined there while they were in town. She was relentless in her efforts to meet the artists she admired.
When Aspen, Colorado-based Pam Joseph, a renowned sculptor and painter whose work portrays strong, sexual, contemporary women, had a show at the Dolphin Gallery, Honig asked gallery owner John O'Brien if she could meet the artist after the opening. Joseph would be busy later, he told her, at an invitation-only reception.
Later that night, Honig and two other art students pulled up in an old Honda Civic at the Brookside home of Richard Hollander, a prominent art collector. The girls peered through the numerous windows at the Art Institute professors and administrators and art collectors drinking wine inside.
They knocked on the door. A guest invited them in.
Honig chatted with gallery owner and Art Institute instructor Jim Leedy. The host soon booted the intruders from the party, but not before Honig had met Joseph.
"It was her last night in town," Honig says. "I was determined to meet her. I'm still in contact with her."
Honig's brashness was one way of questioning the protocol at the expensive art school. In her junior year, Honig and three other female students, tired of feeling belittled by male instructors and students, started their own sorority, Theta Alpha Omega.
"We got sick of hearing, 'Oh, you make girl art,'" says Ellen Greene, one of the sorority's founding members. "People don't say, 'Jackson Pollack made guy art.' It's just considered art."