Painter Joseph Perez

Written by Dolores Tropiano Category: Arts Issue: August 2011
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The west Phoenix artist transforms movement into abstract art by pouring paint on his hands and feet, turning up the tunes (preferably ’90s hip-hop) and letting his extremities do the painting. He believes his creations give credibility to break dancing. “Breaking is an art form, and I needed to figure out a way to communicate that,” says the crop-haired creator. “I let my body be the brush stroke and the music is the inspiration.”

Gangs and police were a regular part of the “hood” where Perez grew up. In first grade, he helped artist Martin Moreno paint a mural at Esperanza Elementary School in west Phoenix. Watching his older cousin Tito break dancing sparked Perez’s interest, and when he and his friends saw the film The Freshest Kids in 2003, they started break dancing on their front lawn. Now the diminutive artist has big dreams. His paintings hang in Mayor Phil Gordon’s office and at the ASU Downtown University Center through August.  

For more information, visit Sentrock Studios (705 N. 15th Ave., Phoenix) or