The Perez Brothers were immersed in California lowrider culture from a very young age, their work showcasing the culture to allow viewers a glimpse into the complexities that leave an emotional imprint through each generation, layering exciting subjects with nuanced sentimentality.
The resulting show is a love letter to SoCal–the people, the weather, the whole vibe. With 6 works on canvas and 7 works on paper, the display is varied but the sentiment is constant.
Our interview with the Perez Bros discusses their process, dream car, and their signature WWE move.
What would you define as distinct cultural markers of Los Angeles? Where would you take someone to show them what you love about LA?
For sure a lowrider car show or a cruise night either on Whittier Blvd or in Van Nuys. You can’t get any more L.A. then that.
How many pieces do you work on at a time? Was there a piece in this show that really challenged and stretched you two as artists?
Alejandro: We usually work on one piece at a time. If it’s a big enough piece, we both paint it together at the same time. For smaller pieces, we both paint one separately, then switch off and complete the other one. I would say there were two pieces in the show that really challenged me. “Viva La Raza” was really challenging because it’s our largest piece we’ve ever done, and it’s highly rendered, so it took a long time to complete. “Straight Posted” was a bit challenging too because it was our first time using gold leaf, and it took us a while to figure it out and get it to come up how we wanted it.
Vicente: I agree; working with the gold leaf was really hard and frustrating. We didn’t really get it to work the way we wanted. Also, Viva LA Raza got really challenging for me during the last two weeks of working on it. I caught an infection in both my eyes, and it really affected my vision. I was literally painting blind the last few days.
Are you still on the pepperoni hot pocket kick, or is there another preferred studio snack?
Haha, yes. It is still what we eat in the morning before heading into the studio.
We also snack on chocolate chip chewy bars throughout the day to keep us going.
Listening to music is an essential part of tapping into your creative flow. Are there any newer artists or albums that excite you? Or do you tend to listen to familiar and favorite artists on repeat?
We listen to a lot of different artists and genres, and we usually stick to our favorite artists on repeat. But some newer bands that we’ve been listening to are definitely Tropa Magica and The Crudes.
Have you driven across or visited the 6th St Bridge yet? Do you have any thoughts about what’s currently happening in LA around the bridge?
A: I haven’t driven across the bridge yet, but I visited when they had the grand opening event. I couldn’t get in, but I saw it from afar on a hill. I think it’s really beautiful; I think it’s funny that people were doing random things in the middle of the bridge, like someone getting a haircut and a banda playing. Los Angeles is just a crazy but dope city.
V: Yes, driving across it is still something we want to do. Who knows, maybe we’ll see something crazy. Apparently, something different happens there every day.
If you had become WWE tag team champions, would you still be called The Perez Bros? Or need something menacing? What would your signature move look like?
A: If we had made it to the WWE and became Tag Team Champions, we would still be The Perez Bros. Our signature move would probably be something off the top ropes, like a frog splash, to pay tribute to Eddie Guerrero.
V: Yea, we’d still be The Perez Bros. We’re not menacing; we’ll probably be the good guys. I agree; our signature move would probably be from the top ropes. We’re little guys, we probably wouldn’t be able to suplex or body slam anyone.
Can you share a painting technique or piece of knowledge that you feel helped elevate your skills? What advice would you give artists about developing their skills?
A: Definitely doing an underpainting. It really helps figure out all the tones and highlights before we start the actual painting. And also painting in layers helps us build up the contrast. Some advice I would give other artists about developing their skills is just to keep practicing. To try out different techniques and figure out what works best for them.
V: Also, use lots of water. A teacher in high school named Mr. Islas told me once that if you’re working with acrylics to use water, because otherwise, you’d just be painting with plastic. The water helps the paint move more loosely and it also doesn’t dry up as fast. Some advice about developing a skill is to keep practicing and never stop.
Do you have a dream car? How would it be painted and modified?
A: I would really love an impala, but I feel that I’m too short for those. So I would love a 1985 Buick Regal. I would keep it simple. With some Daytons, hydraulics, a simple paint job, and a sick-ass mural on the trunk. Another dream car of mine is a 1969 Ford Mustang. I would just keep that one stock because in my eyes it’s already perfect.
V: My dream car is for sure Eleanor from the movie Gone in 60 seconds. It’s a silver 1967 Shelby GT 500. Ever since I saw that movie at like age 7, I fell in love with it. My dream Lowrider is an Impala; I’m not set on the year yet. Not sure how I’d modify it yet, but it would be horror themed because I’m a huge horror movie fan.
Are there unspoken rules and etiquette at a lowrider car show? Is there a show that you’d recommend to people if they wanted to see the world of your paintings for themselves?
Some unspoken rules at lowrider car shows are don’t touch the cars, just be respectful to everyone, and don’t start any beef. We would recommend the Torres Empire Super Show that happens every year in the convention center here in L.A. Also any cruise night on Whittier Blvd or Van Nuys Blvd; those usually happen on Sunday Nights. Another really cool one is Cinco de Mayo weekend in Elysian Park.
If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do/ be an expert at?
A: Recently I’ve been thinking about learning how to airbrush. It’d be dope if I can airbrush a sick-ass mural on my dad’s 1961 Impala or any lowrider in general.
V: It would be cool if I can translate my thoughts into paintings. Like if I have a thought, I’d just blink, and it would already be a finished painting on canvas or whatever it may be.
The ‘Cruise Night 2’ opens on August 6th with a reception from 6 PM to 10 PM.
It will remain on view until August 27th at Thinkspace Projects