Dino Perez Draws!

If you've ever gone to the Santa Ana Art Walk, you've seen Dino Perez. He's the tall, Mexican teddy bear of a man always selling dreamy art prints that remind you a little of Día de los Muertos. The 30-year-old grew up in Santa Ana, and the location and its artists fed his desire to create.

“Growing up in the '90s in Santa Ana was really cool because there were many subcultures,” Perez says. “Even though we were young, there were a lot of artists, musicians and writers.”

Perez is now a graphic artist by day, and a painter and illustrator the rest of the time. He carries his sketchbook everywhere and finds himself drawing the same cast of characters in different forms and situations. “There's the skeleton boy, the sad moon, Fred the owl, Oliver the old timey cartoon, and Stella the woman with the 1960s updo,” he explains. “I've loved drawing skulls since I was little, and that somber feeling is in all of my pieces, but I balance it by using soft colors and making things whimsical.”

With a memorable style, Perez was recognized as one of OC's best artists for OC Weekly's Artopia, commissioned by the city of Santa Ana for a utility-box project (his is across from Fourth Street Market), and hired by Goldenvoice to create show posters for Morrissey and Ellie Goulding. He next plans to expand his line of sculptures, in which he brings his characters to life. If you can't afford an original piece, Perez will make you a high-quality print on canvas paper; it feels like a substantial work on its own—not just another copy.

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