The Perez Bros. eat, breath, photograph and paint lowrider car culture like no one else. Growing up in South Gate, California Alejandro and Vicente (Born 1994) were born into a family of motor-heads, so it was only a matter of time before the identical twins took to documenting customized vehicles and the homies who love them. Both attended Otis College of Art and Design to pursue degrees in Fine Art focusing on painting, which is when they started collaborating as an artistic duo. Their photographs, murals and paintings capture slices of SoCal life as only locals can.
How was it growing up in South Gate, California?
Growing up we moved a lot, but ultimately South Gate is where we stayed the longest and where we were pretty much raised. South Gate is part of Southeast Los Angeles, and is about 20 minutes away from Downtown. As little kids in Elementary school, we had lots of friends on the block and we would always be outside running around. As we got older we would go out to the theater, and play basketball at the park, and go out to eat. Our favorite places to eat were Winghouse and Tom’s Jr. Every year there was a big fair, and we would always go. We weren’t too crazy, but we always found something to do. So growing up in South Gate was pretty chill.
SoCal culture is very intriguing to outsiders looking in. It’s influence reaches far beyond its borders – and it has a lot of history – both good and bad. What made you guys want to document and capture SoCal life?
The lowrider culture is definitely a big part of the SoCal lifestyle and specifically in our personal lives. In art school, a professor once told us, “paint what you know”, and we know and love the lowrider culture, so it was important to us to start documenting it and creating our art from it.
Do you remember when you’re infatuation with lowrider culture began?
Alejandro: It definitely began early on as a little kid. Ever since I can remember, our dad always had a lowrider and was in a car club. So we grew up going to car shows and cruising with our dad bumping oldies. I fell in love with the colorful and crazy paint jobs on the cars, and definitely the ones with hydraulics. I loved watching the hopping contests. I was instantly fascinated with the whole lowrider culture.
Vicente: I don’t really remember when it started specifically, but our dad always had a lowrider and we would always go to shows with him. I’ve always liked the murals on Lowriders, specially the monochrome ones. They remind me of chicano black and grey tattoos.
What made you guys work as a collaboration duo?
We both went to art school and majored in fine art focusing on painting. As we kept doing paintings for our classes, we noticed that our work always looked familiar. We painted similar subjects and had similar painting styles, and during critiques they would critique our work together as if one of us did both paintings. So eventually during our Junior year, we decided to work together as a team. And it worked out for us, and we’ve been working together ever since.
What do you think are the upsides and downsides when both of your creative minds team up on a painting?
We are twins and have similar minds, so that’s an upside for sure. We mostly have the same ideas and know what each other is thinking before we say it, so that makes it easy for us to create. But sometimes we have too many ideas, and we don’t always agree, so that can be a downside.
What does a day look like when you’re not working?
Alejandro: Mostly a lot of sleeping. During the week we have a day job and then we paint in the studio and we don’t get much sleep, so in the weekends I catch up on sleep. Thats also when I have time to wash and detail my car, and take my fiancé out on dates. and when I’m not doing that, I’m either watching movies and playing video games or out partying.
Vicente: I like to think that I work even when I’m not working. Im always in my head thinking of new ideas. But when I’m not physically working, I usually listen to music or listen to my favorite artist interviews either on youtube or podcasts on Spotify. I also like to go to art shows.
Has any of you ever wanted to quit being an artist and do something else?
Alejandro: I have thought about quitting, just because it can get stressful and I would like to spend more time with my fiancé, but I’ll never actually do it. I have too many ideas and I don’t see myself ever doing anything else.
Vicente: I never see myself quitting. I love being in the studio creating, and I still have a lot more ideas that I want to put out to the world.
I grew up watching “American Me” and “Blood in Blood Out”. Both movies had a big influence in the neighborhood that I grew up in. Did those movies impact you in any kind of way?
Alejandro: I didn’t think they impacted me. But thinking about it now, as a little kid, seeing Cruz in Blood In Blood Out as a dope Chicano artist was pretty cool. I think in a way, subconsciously, it inspired me to want to be an artist.
Vicente: I wouldn’t say that it impacted me, but along with my brother, I really liked the fact that Cruz was an artist. We don’t really get to see that very often.
Who are your favorite artists?
Some of our favorite living artists are Mario Ayala, Alfonso Gonzalez Jr, Jamie Munoz, Devin Reynolds, Michael Alvarez, Nikkolos Mohammed, Jose Zuniga, Jacqueline Valenzuela, Lily Ramirez, Gabriella Sanchez, Vincent Valdez, John Valadez, and many more…
I gotta ask… what cars do you drive?
Alejandro: Unfortunately I can’t afford a lowrider at the moment. I drive a little 02 Mustang GT. I’ve done minor customizations to it, but its my pride and joy.
Vicente: I drive a 86 Mustang. I love this car so much that I even got it tattooed on me.
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