Graffiti spurred California-based artist Gabriel Luis Perez on the track to paining–the self-taught method of painting street walls matured through studio training while maintaining a punk edge and a street artist’s sensibility for working with the surface at hand. Perez earned an MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2014, but his influences are widely varied. I love the way he describes in his statement:
When I moved to paper and canvas, communication became less propaganda and more an integral concept folded into the aesthetic of the work. I give shout-outs to my existence in sub and counter cultures by using costuming, punk influence, and jousting fun at the seriousness of fine art with marijuana and dick jokes, playing to my vaudeville performance side.
This is what I like most about Perez’s work–the “jousting fun” at traditional attitudes toward art and the current contemporary market. I particularly enjoy the use of safety pins to hold swatches of fabric and canvas onto the surface, poking fun and at the same time addressing the sense of impermanence associated with graffiti, which is completely the opposite with canvas and paper works, typically preserved for posterity.
Perez has work in the upcoming exhibition Touched For The Very First Time at Lane Meyer Projects in Denver, CO, open October 9 to December 5 with a solo exhibition at Lane Meyer Projects upcoming in 2016.