World-renowned artist Fabian Perez to showcase new collection in Cambridge
Known for his beautiful and highly distinctive portraits, the Argentinian artist will be displaying his new collection, Pasion de Noche, at the Artique Gallery on Bridge Street this Saturday.
Now based in California, Fabian, 51, has painted the likes of Pope Francis, football manager Pep Guardiola and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, and counts Lionel Messi, Rihanna, Shakira, Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox as fans.
The acclaimed artist’s visit to Cambridge is part of a UK tour which began at Clarendon Fine Art gallery in Richmond on November 8.
“There is no other word to specify how I feel: happy,” Fabian tells the Cambridge Independent. “The shows are doing great and we are just at the beginning.
“Lately, I have been putting special energy working on a series of portraits that I call ‘the collection of living legends’. This includes people from around the globe that I feel are leaving something to the story of our world, from the arts to sport, music, science, etc.
“I worked on new releases for this tour and especially for the collection of dancers: tango and flamenco. I’m also working on a sculpture series that I would like to present next spring.”
Fabian’s work has always been popular in the UK. “I started my solo show exhibition with DeMontfort Fine Art [in Lichfield] back in 2005,” he says. “Since then, I have come to the UK twice a year during summer and winter where my art is exhibiting and sold in over 100 galleries across the UK.
“I attend up to three shows a day sometimes, travelling from one city to another. I have done over 400 solo shows in the UK in 13 years. The DeMontfort team are my second family and the UK is my second home!
“I believe my art is popular because people feel themselves in the scene of my paintings. The English women and men with class, good manners and values, refined... what we could call ‘old school’.”
Fabian creates quite exquisite pieces which often tend to capture night time in the city and the sheer beauty of the tango. Does he have a favourite piece among all the many works he’s created?
“It’s difficult to tell because every creation is like a new son or daughter,” he says. “If I had to pick one, I’d say Untitled II because it evokes pretty much how I live my life. I never follow the crowds, or fashion. I don’t agree with the majority’s way of thinking or acting.
“That makes me an eccentric for other people and brings me a lot of difficulties, but ultimately more satisfaction. In this painting I have portrayed myself and I used the white hair as a symbol of my experience because although I was a young person, I went through many experiences, both good and bad.”
Fabian notes that he never has much trouble when it comes to finding people to pose for him.
“At the beginning I used to find people when I was going out to bars and restaurants,” he recalls, “but mostly the people you see in my paintings are close friends of mine or family members. Now, with social media, people find me. They send me their photos or portfolios and every year I decide who I will paint from the selection.”
He continues: “I paint inspired by beauty and I find a lot of beauty when I recreate my view of my parents’ era from my own memory. I remember a really romantic period full of class, manners and values.
“It is the imagery from my past that I draw from and place on to my paintings. My father was my first inspiration; he was the ‘cool guy’ outside of the clubs and bordellos. The women in my paintings also come from my memory; they are the women that I remember seeing around the clubs.
“These women were always elegantly dressed and exuded a kind of sophistication that in today’s society we long for. Also, the majority of my memories about women come from my mother. She had a strong and charming personality. She was a singer and later a madam at the nightclubs, however, her pride came from being my father’s wife.
“I grew up seeing her constantly taking care of our family. She designed and made her own dresses, styled her own hair and painted her own nails. She always wore high heels and never left home without make-up.”
Fabian has created his own style, which he calls ‘neo-emotionalism’, a movement with no technical boundaries. “My favourite artist is Pablo Picasso,” he says.
“He was capable of painting traditionally, as the academies of art requested, and at the same time, he becomes the inspiration for contemporary and conceptual artists. He was constantly working and improving his skills.”
On what makes the tango culture so special, Fabian says: “When I paint dancers, I try to translate their feelings and personalities more than the beautiful moves. I see dancing like an intimate ritual to conquest, that’s why I’m interested in tango and flamenco, because their feelings are deep and passionate, dramatic.
“I can imagine my paintings coming alive in an old luxury tango salon with [iconic tango musician] Astor Piazzolla playing his bandoneon.
What makes tango culture so special is the passion of the dance, the romanticism the couple demonstrates in each step. The drama and the passion in the movements, always in a sensual and respectful way. Very different from the way young people dance today!”
Fabian concludes: “The person, the artist and his work are inseparable. A piece of work that does not define its creator is not art. Art is genuine because the artist strips himself of masks and armour, leaving his personality exposed.
“I am very introverted and extremely sensitive, an endless dreamer. I live a grand romance with life, with lots of intensity, sometimes to the point of self-destruction. But I am an optimist. I can see that I am living, not that I am dying.
“I think God makes the world more beautiful with the wonders of nature, and an artist’s duty is to make it beautiful through his work. I always choose to show the good side of life because I consider it to be the greatest. I see adversity as an opportunity to learn, mature and grow.
“The creator and the creation need to match. Art shouldn’t be considered by the meaning, but for what it expresses. Many times, we don’t know what an artist wants to say in his work, but we can have a reaction from his expression.
“Beauty, in every sense of the word, is my inspiration and, as a consequence, the common denominator between the objects or subjects I create. My intention is to create a style that is not rigid, that can be recognised by the artist, who after finishing his work feels liberated; and by the viewer when he/she feels the work in their heart.”
Fabian will be at the Artique Gallery on Bridge Street this Saturday (November 17) from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.