Thank you to all that came out to the opening reception of our current exhibitions on Saturday, November 8th. It was an incredible evening and great to see so many of the artists in “Re-Beginning” make it out. Congratulations to all those who contributed works for the big PaintGuide curated show, along with Stella Im Hultberg and the Perez Bros on their new body of work.
All three exhibitions remain on view through November 30 and can also be enjoyed via our website. Please stop by if in the Culver City Arts District of Los Angeles.
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.
We’re excited to bring The Perez Bros in the Thinkspace fold, showing a few pieces from the duo in the Thinkspace office this month. The Perez Bros are identical twin brothers Alejandro and Vicente (born 1994) from South Gate, CA. After graduating from South East High School, they attended Otis College of Art and Design to pursue a degree in Fine Art focusing on painting. At Otis is where they began to work together as a collaboration duo.
They were exposed to Los Angeles’s car culture at a very young age, their father being a part of a lowrider car club for as long as they can remember. Fascinated with the culture, from the cars to the models, from the people to the music; through their paintings, they try and capture moments they witness at car shows. Larger paintings seem to invoke the mood and feeling of these car events, while smaller paintings encapsulate more intimate scenes. Through their work, they aim to bring the viewer into their world and a part of a culture that is their second home.
Get to know The Perez Bros better below…
SH:How do you approach developing a new body of work? PB: To be honest, we converse a lot daily, and within those conversations, different ideas come up and we agree and act upon them pretty quickly.
SH:Where do you source inspiration? What are some of your favorite spots to take photo reference at? PB: We don’t really look at other artists for inspiration, instead we get inspired by music. We’re influenced by song lyrics and watching interviews of our favorite artists. We hope that our audience is able to relate to us and our work, like people relate to music and artists. We get all of our photo references at car shows; particularly Lowrider shows and Mustang events.
SH:What excites you about your work / creative process? PB: Actually every part of our creative process excites us. We enjoy attending car
show events and taking pictures of the cars and people. We also enjoy every step that comes after: going through our photos and deciding which ones would make great paintings, building our canvases, applying the gesso, and then actually creating the painting. But what we enjoy the most is completing a painting and seeing our ideas come to life.
SH:What frustrates you about your work / creative process? PB:One thing that frustrates us is when we attend a car event and we don’t find
anything interesting or inspiring to photograph. We leave the car event empty handed with no photo references for future paintings.
SH:When did the two of you first start working together as a duo? PB: We first started to work together in our sophomore year at Otis College. We had an assignment to collaborate with someone in our painting class taught by Scott Grieger, which we naturally chose to team up together. After that, it became clear to us that this is what we should be doing.
SH:Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create? PB: Definitely Kid Cudi. He inspires us every day. A dream of ours is to create the
artwork for one of his albums.
SH:Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts? PB:Our High School art teacher Ms. Tinajero influenced us to apply to art school, so we would say she definitely had a big significance in leading us to where we’re at now. She believed in our talent and always pushed us to work harder. We applied to Otis College and got accepted. Attending art school helped us find our voice and take our art seriously. Without Ms. Tinajero and Otis College, we don’t think we would be where we are at right now.
SH:What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio? PB:In our studio you would find a lot of Liquitex acrylic paint and gesso, brushes, raw canvas, stretcher bar tools. Just your basic tools to create acrylic paintings on canvas. You would also find a Bluetooth speaker, because music is a must. A tv and video games for when we need a break from painting. And a mini fridge and microwave, because artists also have to eat.
SH:Does your background noise influence the mood of the pieces? What’s on repeat in the studio at the moment? PB:Yea, music has a big influence on our work. We can’t work on a painting without having music playing in the background. At the moment we have Kid Cudi, Mac Miller, Travis Scott, Interpol, and The Strokes playing in a constant rotation.