I have had the opportunity to see Rafael Perez float by in my lifetime as he attended the Los Angeles High School of the Arts (LAHSA) with my daughter, artist Mary George and other exceptional artists of our time.
They have emerged now and are gaining attention throughout the world. For “Rafi,” as he is called by his friends, he works in New York City.
We are Facebook friends, so I can keep an eye on what he is producing. Awhile back, I saw a post of a vase filled with flowers. Then, I saw his name with that picture and it surprised me. Here is a very modern artist who is now embracing realism in the extreme.
The work demonstrates incredible technical grasp of painting skills. It is exquisite by itself. However, to appreciate where he is headed, you have to examine his timeline.
Fast forward to a recent painting of jelly-filled doughnuts. Now that got my attention. The reason is because I can’t eat them anymore. Doughnuts used to arrive in a room across from my office when I was working. I could not resist them. I proceeded to indulge heavily in the pastries, washing them down with gallons of coffee. It wasn’t long before I had health problems and my body was exploding. That’s an image for Rafi to deal with.
OK, I can love Rafi pastry paintings and they won’t kill me.
Look at other Rafael Perez oil paintings and you will discover what makes them special. It is the combination of his selecting subjects and then giving to them intense treatment with application of painterly skill and execution.
One cannot produce work like this without intensity and love of the medium.
Rafi seemed like a quiet sort as I recall. I asked Mary George to recall something about him.
“I went to high school and college with him at California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC)... He is a consistently well-humored and talented guy. He used to like coming over to my dorm room to squeeze my squeaking plastic toys that I picked up somewhere along the way. He has a way of attracting people of particular characters to him. He likes to observe nature and he sometimes nurtures pet birds. He is an excellent chef who takes the time to prepare a well-considered meal as he would a well-considered still life.
He likes frisbee in the park and has been known to drop everything for a game. He never appears to worry about life as he seems to be absorbed in his art and his vision, making him of particularly pleasant company.
He used to throw up at parties when he was a little kid after eating too much cake according to recollections from artist Michael Blasi. He can't handle too much excess... maybe that's why he prefers to capture it on canvas.”
That is insightful and “well-considered.” Rafael Perez studied painting at New York Academy of Art.
See his work here: www.rafaelreneperez.com