One of the world’s most collected artists, painter, and sculptor, Fabian Perez, hardly needs an introduction. His tumultuous childhood in Buenos Aires with his devoted artistic mother and his oft-arrested outlaw father is well-known, reflected in the masterworks that first gave him renown on the world stage.
Fabian Perez’s work represents a connection between moments in time, reconciling our past and present through his interpretation of romance. He is preeminently the artist of the romantic era, of love, sentimentality, and passion. Still, he is also the artist of modern times, who explores, evolves, and surpasses professional boundaries to develop a fresh new style entitled neo-emotionalism.
His breathtaking paintings elevate the art of figure painting to a new, all-encompassing art form that resonates with physical, emotional, and spiritual allure. Indeed, his work earned him the title of the official artist at the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. In addition, Fabian went on to win artist of the Year 2014 from the Italian Academy of Artists and the highly coveted Art Tour International Magazine Master of Contemporary Art. Perhaps, most significantly, Fabian has been honored in his native Argentina with an extremely rare government-funded public exhibition for the entire nation.
Despite these successes, Fabian continued evolving to hone his perspectives and emotions. Earlier in his career, he observed that “what painting means to me is that I escape from the world I don’t like. I feel so comfortable doing it.” During this era, his works were predominately populated by people of an earlier era, both poised and garbed in yesteryears’ high styles. They are immediately gregarious in a couple or a crowd—or they seem solitary. However, even alone in the frame, these men and women prepare for imminent encounters; they stare intimately at someone just to the side or listen to a familiar voice over the telephone. In other words, the energies of escape are omnipresent.
In Fabian’s most recent works, his subjects seem palpably relaxed. Shoulders slope in repose. Limbs linger contentedly in their place, and legs fold themselves under women who would rather be in no other place than exactly where they are. Indeed, these more modern men and women need not search beyond themselves. This joy of stillness points towards a novel and exhilarating next stage in the career and works of Fabian Perez—one of aloneness without loneliness, timelessness without eras, and journeys without escapes.
Can you describe Fabian Perez, the human and artist, for us?
“I am shy and introverted, but I can perform when I have to and act social. I’m a dreamer and a believer. My moto is… ‘Believe to See.’ I follow my intuition more than Google, because I think life is empiric, and experiencing what I want to know is the best way to learn.”
Can you describe Neoemotionalism for us?
“NEO-EMOTIONALISM is the name I give to my movement. It’s a style that focuses on emotion and skills instead of technique.”
“I believe that ART is emotions expressed through skills. That’s why it is important in this movement to paint figurative cause in this way; the artist can put his skills in evidence.”
How do you think Neoemotionalsim fulfills within society in our present times?
“My intention is to bring art closer to its essence and make it less ambiguous for art lovers to appreciate. I heard some people saying that everything is art, but I disagree. People sharing their emotions doesn’t make them an artist; if that was the case, any kid crying or any person dancing in a club would be an artist. Painters with excellent skills but without emotions aren’t artists because they work with their minds instead of their feelings. ART happens in the sublime moment when emotions express through skills.
The artist uses the mind when elaborating on the idea and after he finishes the piece. In the execution, the emotion needs to flow without the limits of the rational mind.
For most people, this process is as challenging to understand as to perform. Masters reach this level with many years of practice, with FOCUS, DISCIPLINE, AND CONFIDENCE.”
Some of your figures are often set against a more abstract and somber background. Is this juxtaposition intentional? How do you decide on the background?
“I don’t define the background much; I don’t want to give people many clues. Like reading a book, I like the viewer to feel up the negative spaces with their imagination. Empty spaces are gaps for reflection.”
Your bio talks about your childhood memories, among other things… when looking back, what paintings emerge from your collections that most relate to your childhood stories?
“It brings back many memories when I paint the Gypsies collection or the Nigh-club scenes especially. Las Brujas, a title in many of my paintings, was one of my father’s nightclubs.
I liked to watch the weddings over at the gypsy encampments close to my home. They would last for days. They would begin with music and end in chaos. I always admired how they were content with so little. This inspired me to think that what one has is not as important as compared to whom you are enjoying it with. When I paint ‘nómades or gypsies’ or ‘characters of the night,’ it is nothing more than a return to those memories.”
There was a time in your youth when you went through dark moments after losing your parents. Your bio describes you living alone, traveling the world as a nomad and then discovering solace in martial arts. What would you tell him if you were face to face with that younger Fabian?
“I will tell him the same thing I tell my kids, to believe in God and in the course of life, no matter what. Even in the most difficult times. In the end, it’s always a good reason why things happen.
Unfortunately, adversity is what brings us knowledge. And life is our ultimate opportunity to express and experience, learn and integrate our knowledge into our actions, and evolve.”
Fabian Perez with Pope Francesco.
Do you remember your first interaction with art? When did you decide you wanted to become an artist?
“I remember being artistic from a really early age, like the majority of the kids. I remember being surrounded by my classmates watching my drawing at elementary school, which made me figure that I was doing something better than the others could do. Then in my 20s, after my mentor Oscar Higa advised me to take art more seriously and not just as a hobby, I followed his idea.
A few months later, I participated in a few contests in Italy, and not much longer after, I sold my first painting. At that moment, I thought…If I sold one, I could sell them all!… there is when I became a professional artist.”
There is a certain curiosity and sensitivity that flows in harmony with creativity and the freedom to express… one might say artists are always young at heart – curious, authentic, playful, experimental, and passionate… any thoughts on this?
“Artists don’t age mentally. They keep the illusion, the wonder of the first time. We are in touch with the present moment, with a beginner mind. That’s why the great Picasso recognized this when he said… ‘artists should return to be kids.’ These are unreachable qualities for many people; that’s why artists are admired through existence.”
Your series, “Missing Casablanca,” is filled with nostalgia for those good old days and masterful black-and-white works. How did it come about, and what is your message to the viewer?
“MISSING CASABLANCA describes the solace of the character in this period in time. In our time, all the stars’ qualities are minimized by modern customs, making them feel almost guilty about their behavior. Casablanca is one of the greatest films in cinema’s history, and the song ‘As Time Goes By’ has become one of the best-loved standards in the world. Watching the movie, you can experience all the things that have changed as time has gone by. There are some moments in the film that I don’t think the younger generations will be able to relate to yet, but for many of us, its values and ideas are timeless, and this was something I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate with the paintings.”
Balcony at Buenos Aires by Fabian Perez.
Any upcoming projects and exhibitions for 2021?
“Hopefully, I’ll be touring soon. But what is really exciting for me about 2021 is that I am opening a Fabian Perez Gallery in the city of Los Angles this coming summer, and I look forward to showing my work locally.”
Is there a particular message or question you would like to leave/ask the readers?
“Painting is a wonderful way of communicating with people. It can be hard to explain everything I feel – and somehow, people seem to understand me by looking at my art and would love this reciprocity to remain forever. A piece of art should never be taken for what it is but for what it expresses. Success is to reach a goal that you focus on. For some artists, the goal is fame, or money, etc.- My target is to provide my family with all their essential needs, doing something that I love. And I do. That’s why I feel successful.”