Fabian Perez

Exclusive Interview by Natalie Ragusin
Paintings by Fabian Perez

Fabian Perez, awarded the official artist of the 10th annual Latin Grammy Awards, emotes the story behind what EN sees in his portraits. Parallel to the exuding nature of the women in which we uphold, Eternal Noir experiences what it would be like to stand in the presence of a woman such as those within the fluid lines of Perez’s paintings.

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“ The universal Truth is realized through the instinct ”

― Fabian Perez

The Buenos Aires artist who captures motion, passion and pleasure allows Eternal Noir to take a closer look at his hand’s work. Here we are immersed in a world that expresses the true essence of the strong woman. Untouchable and rhythmic, she can be found locked in a tango; longing impressions of her palms intertwined with another and heels permeating the ground upon which she walks.

The last light on in the bordello that illuminates the structure of her face, only to realize that she has an enigma, one that can be seen as sacred from her surroundings. Aware of her worth and eloquent disposition, it is undeniable that even as she sits alone at the table with the silk cloth; all eyes are upon her.

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Through the eyes of the Artist

Perez grew up in the Argentinian bordellos and nightclubs of his father. Living through an effervescent environment, the artist saw women in a particular state at a young age. Today, these women are reflected in the canvases of his work in which we see. Who is she? In what cultural societies can she be found?

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EN: You paint women that exude immense amounts of finesse, femininity and sensuality. In your endeavors, have you noticed any difference in women from region to region or decade to decade?

FP: I do believe women have changed in the last few decades as a whole. Their goals are completely different than before. It seems as though they want to show the world and themselves that ‘they can’. To me, it seems that they have forgotten what they are really strong for, or what is the real gift they have. And that they truly are a gift. Man and woman shouldn’t compete because we are different in every way, that’s why we perfectly complement one another when we live in harmony.

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“The women that I paint are sensual 24 hours a day. And take a lot more than a short dress and high heels to be sensual. That appeal comes from your essence, through your skin, and heats everyone around you. The women that I paint do not compete or fight in a competition, they inevitably are the precious victory.”

― Fabian Perez

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EN: These women have a sense of independence and strength, however they display a sense of luring nature and enticing qualities. How else would you describe them and their character?

FP: Love and family are essential to me. I like the women in my paintings to give the sense that they are strong because they care for her husband and children out of love. The character of men have changed, too. The new man does not know that the really sensual woman exist before, they may think that real sensuality is what they see today. For me, I think it was better when the concept of love was more family oriented and building something together.The majority of the kids now grow up in a day care, because parents are busy to provide material things for the kids, or parents just want to feel that they are more than just a parent. My priority is to be a good artist, and most important, a good father.

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Perez continues to share and express qualities of the woman and family; revealing how he sees instincts and how he classifies strength. This is parallel to his childhood and growing up with a maternal figure who exemplified just this.

EN: Your work reflects your memory of the women in your father’s bordellos and nightclubs. Is there a reason you remember these moments so visually? How have these women captured you? Is there a particular woman in which you remember the most? It seems as though you mimic their movement in such a realistic way.

FP: The majority of the women memories come from my mother. She had a strong and charming personality. She was the singer, and madam of the nightclubs, but she was prouder to show that she was my father’s wife. I grow up seeing her constantly taking care of the family. She was building her own dresses, hairstyle, and nails. I always saw her going out, and coming back in high heels.

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EN: Do you get inspired by an noir, boudoir or foreign films? Your style shows passionate scenes that could be seen in a Sophia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida film.

FP: I like old films like Casablanca, Seven Beauty. I got inspired at some point of my career with movies from Emir Kusturica like Underground, Time of the Gypsies, between others.

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“I found night really enchanting. The time when the normal activities of the people are over. Allow you to surrender and relax. The dark of the night don’t let you to see, and your mind start to wonder. When you look at the city from the top of a hill during the day, there are dirty roofs. But at night is full of beautiful little lights.”

― Fabian Perez

Perez elaborates on the rituals of enjoying and savoring moments, people and connections. And how power is not the goal, especially in defined roles.

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“I am constantly fighting for a more romantic world, one where the woman and the man have defined roles and power isn’t always the goal.”

― Fabian Perez

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EN: Do you get inspired by an noir, boudoir or foreign films? Your style shows passionate scenes that could be seen in a Sophia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida film.

FP: The goal is not to be in power. Consciously or unconsciously the ultimate goal of the human being is to be happy. And I realize that I find more joy when I’m more flexible, given, adaptable. Rather than when I try to be in power….it is really important that people became more humble in the future generations, and recognize our limitations. We can only see a small part of reality from our perspective, and some other people point of view can be as true as our. As an example: If we hold a coin in between of us, and we never saw a coin before, you’ll warranty that is a round metal with a head. And I’ll affirm that is a round metal with a number. Our point of view is different, and we are both right.

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EN: When you apply that first stroke on the paper or canvas where does that connect to? Do you go into it unknowingly of where the next stroke may fall, or do you plan out if you paint the character, setting or mood?

FP: I like to have a plan before I start to paint, but once I start I don’t think any more. I just interpret what I see through feelings and intuition. Each brush strokes build-up the painting, even the wrong ones creates energy under-paint. Overall I paint the forms to portrait the essence of people.

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“I am constantly fighting for a more romantic world, one where the woman and the man have defined roles and power isn’t always the goal.”

― Fabian Perez

“What painting means to me,” he says, “is that I escape from the world I don’t like. I feel so comfortable doing it.”

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EN: It seems as though you have a beautiful photographic memory. Our site, Eternal Noir, showcases many photographs of women caught in a moment ­­very mysterious and confident in herself. When do you find a women most confident? Why?

FP: I believe confidence comes when you feel in your environment. Also, experience gives you confidence, the sense that you solved many things through your life it makes you feel stronger or in control. My favorite way to feel confident is when you think that everything is good, or in the worst case scenario, is going to let you a great learning, which is also great!

EN: How has your desire and discipline in karate and martial arts connected with painting? Do you feel sense of strength and power? What are the similarities and differences?

FP: Karate is more body action than painting, but the goal in every form of art is the same: to express your emotions thru skills. The eventual artist thinks to improve their skills, but after many hours and years of practice, true repetition after repetition, the mind start to disappear and with it intentionality and concepts. Until this point you can be a good painter, but only at this point you become an artist. Exactly like kids, but with knowledge.

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EN: How has the art of dance and the tango influenced your work? Are you just a spectator to the movements, rhythms and fluid lines of the bodies? Do you think dance instills trust in a partner? We like to think of it as a sacred moment between two ­­that anyone can see and admire but it is felt by the dancers.

FP: When I paint dancers I try to translate their feelings and personalities more than the beautiful moves. I see dancing like an intimate ritual to conquest, that’s why I’m interested in Tango, or Flamenco, because their feelings are deep and passionate, dramatic.

EN: Paint us a picture of how you like to work?

FP: I paint in the mornings. My studio is completely silence to be focus in painting. I look and study the model in my head. When I have an idea of what are going to be my fire points, I start to put some paint in my pallet, and my mind start to relax. Then I mostly focus in the execution moment by moment, and never in the final result. It just happen when you don’t see something to add, because you already expressed your emotions.

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EN: Do you have any work that is special or sacred– or one that you would never sell?

FP: Around the year 2000, I had one of my all times favorite painting expose in a museum in Coral Gables, FL. And the curator of the museum calls me because he had a buyer for my painting. I let him know that I’ll keep the painting in my own private collection. He insisted, but I didn’t move from my decision. After the exhibition finished, I got the painting back. Few weeks later a big fire in my studio burned my collection, and the painting I didn’t want to sell on the previous days.

“After that event I learn a really valuable lesson, that the things you create, over all belongs to the universe.”

― Fabian Perez

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EN: Has the art of style, texture and fashion inspired your work at all? The women seem to be wearing a lot of lace, satin and silk camisoles or slip dresses. The colored makeup and hair is very “dolce vita” or D&G. We are curious to know if you have any fashion icons or how you view clothing in your pieces?

FP: Yes. Clothing is really important for me. It is another way of expression; unless you just wear what is fashionable at the moment…what you wear talks a lot about you. Still, I like my models to be in classics suits and dresses, because I don’t want to distract the viewer from the human essence.

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EN: How has your wife inspired your work? Are there any paintings that directly embody her. It is lovely how you speak of her publicly and how she is willing to make all things possible for you. Is it hard to capture her essence since the admiration and love is so strong?

FP: My wife is my favorite model, and she inspire my very much, because the love I feel for her, and because more the years goes by, it looks like we growing in the same direction. And we find more beautiful things in common, more and more important than the years before. We are maturing together, and make our love to grow in a higher level.

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EN: Among many, The Embrace II, Saba at Las Brujas V, The Secret, English Rose VII, Saba at the Balcony VII Black Dress are some of my favorites. Are they any powerful stories behind those pieces?

FP: Telling the painting’s stories is like closing chapters for the viewers. I prefer the art lovers to step in front of the pieces and decipher the paintings emotions or negative spaces, like: What is back in the dark? Where are they? Is she alone, or somebody is coming? Or even putting concepts to the figure, like: By the way she smokes looks really delicate! – Or, She can seduce a man just asking for light! – In this way a painting will always be alive. Paintings are mirrors, and people see on them what they reflect. And this will be constant changing.

Thank You!