Rene is a very prolific and creative artist who has been making a name for himself in the SMTX art circuit. Over the past few years, Rene has produced a staggering number of pieces using diverse media. Lately, he has also gotten a great deal of recognition for his multiple murals, which can be appreciated pretty much all over San Marcos.
Walking with Rene around downtown, it's hard to avoid getting stopped multiple times by people saying things like "You're that artist! I follow you on Instagram". Rene even told us about a time when a person approached him and said "hey, you're that guy, I read about you in the paper when I was locked up!". Yep, apparently even in the county jail Rene Perez has achieved a good amount of fame!
We sat down with Rene at AquaBrew as we enjoyed a nice Skyscraper IPA - his favorite AB brew - and had a wonderful exchange, where we got to experience first hand his humbleness and unique humor.
Enjoy part of our Q&A below:
AquaBrew: Rene... You are basically the artist of San Marcos. When we think about San Marcos, we think about you... and when we think about you, we think about San Marcos..
So... are you even from San Marcos? How long have you lived here?
Rene: That's very flattering to hear. No, I am not a BISM (born in San Marcos). My family moved here from Los Angeles 35 years ago and I haven't left since. I feel very rooted in San Marcos.
AquaBrew:Let's say you had to describe your work to someone who was unable to see, how would you do it?
Rene: Very personal and a joke. If you know me I'm constantly cracking myself up. My art is an extension of my personality and I hope to see it...and maybe laugh and smile with me.
AquaBrew: There are quite a bit of animals in your paintings, when did this fascination with animals start? Why animals?
Rene: My very first canvas painting was of my cat Tito wearing a shirt and bowtie. I was extremely lucky to find my style from the very beginning. Why paint people when you can personify animals.
AquaBrew: How is it to be an Artist in San Marcos? What are the challenges and advantages? Would you ever consider moving somewhere else?
Rene: It seems like a few years after I started painting the city began a public push to highlight the art scene. This was a blessing, I think, to be able to ride this wave. I can't really see myself leaving...ever. I feel at home here.
AquaBrew: How did you become an artist? What else would you be in you weren't one?
Rene: After rushing my sister to finish painting the mural in our soon-to-be-born baby's nursery, she put the brush in my hand and said, "You do it." I did. My wife's water broke the next day and our son was born 6 weeks early. This marked the beginning of fatherhood and becoming a painter.
I worked for a car dealership installing car alarms for 20+ years. It was a good job but with no future. Becoming an artist was a new beginning. I had finally found my calling at age 34. If I'm not painting I will more than likely be dead.
AquaBrew: You do many series, such as the series with the Dart Bird... which one is your favorite series and/or characters?
Rene: I'll always remember Dart Bird aka Dorito, Darthead… Long live Dartbird. The bathtub series has to be my favorite. It's like a story unfolding every time I paint one
AquaBrew: As this region grows, what do you think is going to happen to San Marcos? Or at least, ideally, what would you like San Marcos to be in 5 years from now?
Rene: The university is growing so fast I hope San Marcos can catch up in 5 years. I'd love to have a small sustainable gallery/studio someday.
AquaBrew: What's next for you? Do you have any grand projects or ideas you're working on that you could share with us?
Rene: Next for me is probably another cat, lol. I'm thrilled to be painting my first full size mural at Wonder World Cave. The amount of animals and the natural wonder of the cave provides me with the perfect scenario to create. I feel like the next thing that comes is the grandest. I just don't know what that is.