Thinkspace is pleased to present Cruise Night featuring new work by Los Angeles-based artists Alejandro and Vicente Perez, known as The Perez Bros. The duo grew up in South Gate, California where their early exposure to car culture in Los Angeles has greatly influenced their artistic expression.
Through their paintings, the brothers try to capture the moments and energy that they see when they attend car shows to welcome observers into a world they love.
In anticipation of Cruise Night, our interview with The Perez Bros discusses the power of being twins, misconceptions about car culture, and why bad paintings are good.
SH: For those that are not familiar with the two of you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background? You both went to Otis here in LA, correct?
PB: As kids, we used to draw a lot of characters from comic books and cartoons, such as X- Men and the Simpsons. During school, we would always draw on our notebooks and stuff, but it wasn’t until our junior year in High School I think, that we took our first painting class. At first, we didn’t know what we were doing, as far as mixing colors and blending and things like that. It was actually one of our friends, Jesus, that taught us how to blend. Then in our Senior year, we both took A.P Art with Ms. Tinajero and made a portfolio. We then used that portfolio to apply to Otis.
SH: Do you find being twins has given you a special connection other duos can’t speak to?
PB: Yes, of course. We actually consider ourselves more of a tag team than a collaborative duo. In a collaboration, you usually have two different people bringing in two different types of ideas or skills, whereas we don’t. We have similar ideas, which makes it easier to work together and agree on things. It’s not hard for us to tell each other that our work sucks, we’re constantly telling each other that. I guess in a way it makes us work harder. It becomes a competition to see who can paint better.
SH: You are both new to the Thinkspace family. How were you getting your work seen before you joined the fam?
PB: We would submit our work to galleries that had open submissions. Two of the galleries that we submitted work to were Art Share L.A and La Luz de Jesus. Apart from submitting work, we would also put together our own art shows. During this time we were also producing work in the studio to post on Instagram, in the hopes of getting seen by other galleries.
SH: What do you think is a common misconception about lowrider or car culture? What do you wish people understood more?
PB: That car people are a bunch, hooligans. People seem to think that they are a bunch of cholos, and like to cause chaos, but it’s totally the opposite. It’s mainly about family and passion for cars, and that’s what we try to show in our paintings.
SH: Which piece and why as been your most challenging piece to date? what makes you proud of this piece.
PB: We actually have two pieces that were challenging. The first one was Hopping Contest, it was a large painting, and it was the first painting that we had to complete for Thinkspace. We had it in the underpainting stage, and we had to complete it in under a month. The other one was the mural we did for the Maya Angelou Mural Festival. It was our first mural, so we had no clue what to do and on top of that, we only had two weeks to complete it. Before the mural, we only worked in the studio, so it was a kind of weird transition to now be working outdoors with spectators. Hearing from everybody that they loved the mural, made us feel really proud of it.
SH: Can you describe what the collaborative process looks like for the two of you? Like does one of you focus on the cars, and the other the people?
PB: We both go to car shows and car meets together and take pictures trying to capture the interactions of people with the cars. Like people taking pictures of cars, admiring the cars, or just standing around. After that, we both look at the pictures together and choose which ones we like. And from there we are ready to start painting. At first, we would just divide the work in half. Whereas one would paint the left side and one the right side. But after a while, we noticed that we were both better at painting certain things. So now, one of us focuses on the clothes, wheels, and chrome, while the other focuses on paint jobs and skin tones.
SH: A Netflix movie is being made about your life, who would be cast to play you (the actor does not need to look like you, more be able to capture your essence) and what kind of movie would it be? Try to describe it with similar movies.
PB: It’ll be a dramatic romantic comedy. It’ll star a set of Michael Cera or Andrew Garfield twins, or maybe actual twins The Lucas Bros. It’ll be like a mixture of Rocky and Whiplash. The movie would be about us working towards our first solo show or something like that. It’ll have intense scenes like when Rocky is training to fight Clubber Lang, but instead of training to box, it’ll be something artistic like Milles Teller in Whiplash.
SH: What is the best technical advice you’ve received in regards to painting / being an artist? What is the best philosophical advice you’ve received?
PB: Our high school teacher Ms. Tinajero used to always tell us to use more contrast. Also at Otis, Nathan Ota taught us how to paint using layers. One piece of advice about being an artist that stuck with us is to just paint. The painting will either be good or bad, but it doesn’t matter, because you did it rather than just thinking about it. If the painting is bad, its ok, just make another one.
SH: Are you a podcast, tv/ movie streaming service, or music in the background type of painter? What were you listening to during the development of this show that you would recommend to others?
PB: We usually just paint listening to music, but sometimes we have a movie or wrestling playing in the background. During the making of “Cruise Night”, we listened to a lot of Kid Cudi radio, and The Growlers radio on Spotify, and of course Lowrider Oldies to get us in the mood.
SH: What do you think the role of artists in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?
PB: We feel that the role of the artist is to inspire people, and that’s what we try to do. When we listen to Kid Cudi or walk into a gallery where artists that we like and admire are showing – it really inspires us to keep on working. We rush into the studio and continue creating.
SH: Fun Hypothetical: A world-renowned chef wants to make a dish inspired by your artwork and favorite food. What would be the dishes ingredients and what is it similar too?
PB: The only chef we’ll collaborate with is Guy Fieri. We’ll make some kind of burger and pizza combo. Like a giant burger, but the top bun would be a pizza. With the sauce, cheese, pepperoni y todo. And it’ll be cut just like a pizza is cut.
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 9th 6-9 PM
On view: November 9, 2019 – November 30, 2019