“Caesar Perez (Czr Prz) is a Chicago Native with over 20 years of experience as a street-artist, illustrator, painter, designer, and installation artist. He is mostly known for his street art and large scale public murals. His design and production expertise allows him to work on a range of projects, from custom corporate installations to fine art studio paintings.” Caesar and his partner Nick Glazebrook founded their design and production studio called Ava Grey Designs.
Check out Caesars story below!
What’s going on introduce yourself
What’s up everyone, my name is Caesar Perez. I’m an artist/designer. I was born in Maywood, but I did my growing up in between Stone Park & Logan Square.
When did you first start getting into art?
I got into Art at a very young age. I come from a family of artists, mostly consisting of painters and writers. It was just something I had grown up with; it was always around the house. I really figured out I wanted to pursue art as a career around the fifth grade. I had been attending Art School. I had also wanted to get into engineering, but the more I got into it, the more I realized that there wasn’t any art or creativity behind it. I decided to stick with Art, and now here I am, 20+ years later.
(Work by Czr Prz, Tubs, Max Sansing)
Growing up who were some of the artists or arts that had influenced you the most?
Artists of different mediums influenced me. For graffiti and street-art, a lot of the Chicago dudes like Raven, Rafa, and Chris Silva influenced me. I was also really influenced by fine art and renaissance art. Impressionism was also another style that really influenced me; in fact you can see a lot of influence in my paintings from the impressionism era.
As an artist, do you believe you have a role to show society?
Yes and No. I don’t think it’s my obligation to be some role model. I do believe there are important things to show as an artist. I believe it’s very important to communicate on what we are doing, from there we then open up on dialogue. I believe so many things come from art that people take too lightly. Art is something that people use in many different ways. The biggest marketing tool is art.
Do you believe you see the world differently being an artist?
I definitely believe I do. Being an artist, I have the freedom of expression. I have an outlet to display my emotions and ideas. Money isn’t the most important factor to me. We live a very long life, and unfortunately people only take happiness as a financial thing. A lot of these people who have tons of money aren’t some of the happiest people. They don’t have a way of expressing themselves, or letting their emotions out.
A lot of animals are incorporated into your pieces, is there a hidden message behind each one?
Each animal represents a lot of symbolism. The symbolism aspect of each animal refers to different qualities they have along with the feelings people get from being around them. I tend to incorporate a lot of birds, such as crows and ravens. Birds are a symbol of freedom. I also look to incorporate snakes in my pieces as well. The snakes, ravens, and crowns symbolize intelligence but also life and death. Their images are constants in various cultures throughout history.
Describe the creative process that goes into a production/mural piece
It all starts with the wall. From the wall, I research a bit and then come up with a concept. I used to just develop one or two sketches; I’m now looking to develop more now. Once the concept and sketches are created, next comes the color compositions I also will take illustrations into photoshop, clean them up, and then transition into illustrator. I enjoy working digitally because of how clean my work ends up coming out.
How has traveling helped influence your artwork?
Due to traveling around the world and painting with different artists with different styles, and different views, it has helped elevate my artistic talent. Hanging out in Europe a lot, I learned how to paint bigger walls.
What’s your thought on Chicago’s artistic scene in comparison to all the other cities you’ve been to?
Chicago is a lot more expansive. It’s definitely cliquey. Europe has a good connection between the street artists and graffiti dudes.
What’s been the most memorable/favorite piece you’ve done throughout the past 20 years?
I’d have to say the piece I did back in March. This piece I did is in Phoenix Arizona at Sound & Color Art Gallery. This piece really means a lot to me.
Last summer you got to meet and do a little piece for Chromeo. How was that experience? How were those guys?
They were really nice dudes. I actually had no idea that they were into graffiti like that.
You were able to participate and compete for Redbulls “Art of Can” competition as well. Describe the meaning behind the piece you created? How was that experience?
I ended up placing Top 10. It was a super cool experience. The piece was a statue bird of paradise. Normally, my pieces represent something dark. I looked to do something different. I looked to make something beautiful. This was the first time I looked to do something like this. I stepped out of my norm and created something different. That’s something many artists should consider.
Throughout your journey being an artist, what have you taken away? What have you learned that you apply to your everyday life?
I’ve learned to not take everything so seriously. Make sure you’re happy and doing it is what you want to do with your life.
What’s one piece of advice you have for a young artist out there trying to make a name for themselves?
Young artists need to be aware of knowing how to market themselves. It sucks to say, but success comes from business mentality, rather than actual talent. If you have talent and a business mentality, you’ll forever be winning.
For you man, at the end of it all, what do you want people to take away most from you as an artist?
I want people to know that my work was far more complex than just a simple sentence.