The Union: #17 Juan-Carlos Perez

Shell-Cases

Since we had to postpone our first art show—The Union—we’ve decided to turn this into an opportunity to digitally showcase all the artists who’d submitted to the show.


United States Federal Tent Children Internment Camps at Tornillo Border”,
acrylic on wood, 24″ x 18″, 2019

First of all, I would like to thank ArtClout for including my work in their first exhibition—The Union. Also, many thanks for creating this online artist platform to engage and get the word out on local community art. As a newbie Long Beach resident, this art forum has been instrumental in my arts/neighborhood Southern California re-adjustment, especially getting here from the cold beautiful windy city of BIG SHOULDERS—Chicago! So, a little about myself . . .

My name is Juan-Carlos Perez and I am a visual artist, born in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. I immigrated to Los Angeles, California at the age of 4 with my mother and my older sister. I grew up in Pasadena and later moved to Illinois to pursue a degree in Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I remained for the next 20 years as a practicing studio artist, arts educator, muralist and arts-cultural worker.

In my art practice as a multidisciplinary artist, I investigate and challenge how perspectives today continue to be shaped by a past colonial rule, European blueprint of laws that have created and normalized an American culture or narrative built to dominate or create systems of power that have led to today’s social & class divides on issues such as: immigration, racism, violence, religion (etc.) and has historically disenfranchised communities of color. In my art practice, I confront these barriers or perspectives determined to own through aggression/dominance. The same social/racial issues that incoming immigrants and new generations of Mexican & Latinx people still face today.

I am a member of The Chicago Act Collective, a group of socially & politically engaged artists that create many forms of resistance through the use of art that promote collaboration and dialogue across multiple communities that reflect and respond to current and local needs identified those directly impacted.

For the past 19 years I have been a practicing independent teaching artist partnering with a variety of arts organizations such as Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), public schools, park districts, community centers, etc. teaching a variety of visual arts which include: rigorous arts education integration, traditional/modern arts, cultural arts, public art and large-scale mural making (painted and mosaic).

“El Agua Cura”, acrylic on paper, 31″ x 34″, 2018.

I have had the privilege of creating and bringing quality art programming into neighborhoods addressing issues such as social justice, equity/inequity, gentrification, racism, labor rights, poverty, deconstructing colonialism, etc. I have also partnered with organizations in creating programming for communities with physical, mental and emotional disabilities as well as individuals battling issues of domestic violence, depression, economic hardship and HIV/AIDS and trauma. This with the intent to use art as a tool to investigate, brainstorm, open a healthy dialogue and work with community members in creating strategies to address the needs of the neighborhoods. My role as an Arts Educator has given me the opportunity to work with many diverse communities though out the U.S., including Chicago, Detroit and West Africa.

Along with trying to avoid getting cabin fever during this pandemic, I have been focused on making art, exhibiting as well as creating art for the purpose of community engagement.

I have been able to contribute work to The Chicago Act Collective for a Covid-19 coloring book ZINE for people to dive into during these intense, difficult and stressful times. We, the Chicago Act Collective, just recently contributed artworks to Housing Action Illinois, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), and works to support Black Lives Matter. You can follow the work we have done since forming in 2015 at: www.chicagoactcollective.weebly.com

Also, during these Covid times, here in Long Beach, I have an artwork included in The Honey House Art Collective new zine “Days of Solitude”, NOW on view at on their website: www.honeyhouseart.com or on their Instagram: @honeyhousecollection.

At the moment I have 2 artworks titled “Food Pantry: Canned Goods” and “Splintered Tongue”, as part of the Greenly Art Space, “Second Lives: Reuse, Reclaim, Reimagine” Fundraiser Exhibition. You can see a virtual
tour of the exhibit
or set up an appointment for a private viewing please go to: https://www.greenlyartspace.org/

“Smokestack: Brown Onward”, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 36″, 2018.

I am very grateful to be one of the artists featured in Kansas City’s 2020 CHICANO: EMPOWERED exhibition at Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery. The show opens at the end of June and will be up through July. More details will be posted on my website & instagram/FB page.

Out now is an interview with New York city artist Luis Martin. Martin’s podcast series entitled “Studio Confessions” focuses on artists of color and their studio art practices and process. A very kickback and relaxed conversation. We touch on my experience as a Mexican immigrant kid growing up in the Pasadena/ Los Angeles, area and feeling my way through layered complex issues on race. We talk about how it feeds into my art process and how it has contributed and shaped my arts education practice. You can listen at: https://www.studioconfessions.com/ .

“Shell-Cases”, acrylic on paper, 7″ x 26″, 2019.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST–I am also a part the Artist Relief Stimulus Relief Project Catalog created by Chicago curator Michelle Ruiz, to help artists during this economic crisis. Since this Covid-19 economic shutdown I have found myself unemployed and like many artists out there, I need sum funds y’all!! So please check it out and share it with anyone who is looking to buy or fund artists during these intense unemployed times. You can find a link to it at my website: www.juan-carlosperez.com. You can also follow me on Instagram: @juancarlosperez927.

I am very glad to have been able to land in Long Beach and I look forward to collaborating, contributing, exhibiting and meeting the artist community here (whether physically or zoom). Thank you once again for the warm welcoming!

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