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Abstract Art By Rafi Perez?

It’s only been a few years since I decided to create art as a career. I have always been an artist, I just lacked the confidence to call myself one. Growing up in a very business minded environment where I heard phrases in Spanish like “Tienes que poner el huevo al tornillo!” which means you have to bust your ass and sacrifice what you love to get ahead, just didn’t inspire the artist in me. Ironically, that Spanish phrase translates to “You have to put the egg to the screw” and we all know they didn’t mean egg when talking about “huevo.”

Let’s just say, putting my egg on a screw just seems stupid and irrational.

I did manage to have a huge art success even when I was hiding my artistic side in the closet.

I had pieces that juried into a show held by Starbucks and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The event was called “The Avant Grande” and was held in the event warehouse of the Museum. It was sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka and it was the biggest thing a had ever been a part of.

So, how did I get in? Interesting story, my friend suggested I apply because the show was a big deal. All the art gallery owners in the River-north Art Gallery District were going to be there.

I said I would apply, but honestly I didn’t have the “huevos” to risk having my stuff judged by a jury. So my friend did what any good friend would do, they sent the application for me. A month later I was asked to bring my pieces downtown so that they could be professionally hung at the show. I was  shell shocked to say the least, but secretly I was doing cartwheels inside.


Long story short, it was an awesome show and I met a lot of high ranking professionals in the art world.

The only embarrassment I suffered was my father smacking my canvas a few times, saying it looked like vomit, then pointing at all the nudes and saying they were “real” art.

I would love to say that I was ready, but honestly I wasn’t. I just didn’t have to confidence and belief in myself to roll with what was happening. All the advice and compliments just didn’t make it past the self judgement and negative outlook I had back then. After the event, I chalked it up to a lucky mistake and went back to my normal routine in corporate life.

Do I regret not being ready back then? Nope. The truth is I am better at what I do because of the experiences I have had in my life that lead me to where I am now… I wouldn’t change a thing.

Back when I did the show, I had begun a body of work that was called Chaos in Harmony and was based on abstract action painting techniques along with some of my own special concoctions. The series was beautiful and the center piece for the show. After the show, I didn’t create any more pieces in the series. That was ten years ago and I believe it’s been too long that the series has been dormant.

I’ve decided to revive my Chaos in Harmony Series and roll with all the advice I was given years ago by the art professionals in Chicago. Mostly it was “I love these pieces, I would like to see BIGGER.” Which is super exciting to me now.

So stay tuned, this is going to be an awesome ride.

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