About Designer, Producer and Fine Artist - PETER PEREZ
Peter's accomplishments and awards are numerous. A California native - after graduating from the Art Center in Los Angles, he landed a high profile job a Kenyon & Eckhardt, in New York City. Remember the cougar logo for Lincoln Mercury (the automobile) Peter designed that and several other national brands including Faded Glory and Brugger's Bagel Bakery to name a few.
Peter Perez has taken on new lives and lifestyles throughout his existence. His first life was that of an immigrant’s son who used his artistic talents to buy a one-way ticket to New York after graduating from one of the country’s best art schools.
From fledgling artist growing up in an Anaheim, California barrio, to Madison Avenue superstar, Perez has now metamorphosed back to his cultural heritage to become a renown Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) creator and curator.
“The Day of the Dead celebration awakened deep personal roots that had been lost and forgotten,” said Perez. “Spanish, my first language, and a connection to my native culture, had been erased at an early age.”
During a reunion visit to his Anaheim, California high school in 2016, Perez told students about being renamed Peter from Pedro and being forbidden to speak Spanish. His story was especially relevant to the arts students who see Perez as someone from their own background who became a successful artist despite the odds.
“Be the best at what you do and success will come naturally,” he told the classroom of students who are staging a Dia de los Muertos festival to raise funds for future productions.
Perez is responsible for sparking the City of Anaheim’s a Day of the Dead celebration. It was, in fact, sparked by the death of his nephew, an Anaheim resident who died in a motorcycle accident in 2009. Initially not embraced by city officials, Perez persisted and, with the help of the Anaheim Heritage Council, Arts Council, Downtown Association and several volunteers, a new tradition was started that has evolved into celebrations being staged throughout Orange County.
For Perez, the opportunity to paint and explore the life of the dead has resulted in solo shows, group exhibits, and serving as a curator for fiestas, art and altar exhibitions for the largest Dia de los Muertos celebrations in the nation. He has also introduced the celebration to areas in India and Australia. In 2017, his Dia de los Muertos installation at the Sonoma County Art Museum drew rave reviews.
“The ancient cultures believed that you died three times, once when your body ceases to function, a second time when your spirit leaves your body, and the final most tragic death, when you’re forgotten,” said Perez. “Through my art and my involvement with Dia de los Muertos, my nephew and others I’ve embodied in ofrendas (altars) throughout the world will not be forgotten. Viva Los Muertos!”