(Dominican Influencer Series) Artist Rigo Peralta and his “Transcultural” Art
RIGO PERALTA THE COLOR AND ELEMENTS OF HIS HOMELAND
By Deyanira Martinez
Bright images, mechanical gears, indigenous elements and all the color and splendor of the Caribbean are reflected in the brushwork of painter Rigo Peralta.
A neo-surrealist painter originally from the Dominican Republic, Peralta is one of the most outstanding Latin American artists from the United States, with more than 15 individual and 25 collective exhibitions around the world.
The painter, born in San José de Las Matas, studied at the School of Fine Arts in Santiago and had his first individual exhibition at 14. In 1989, he settled in the United States, continued his professional studies at the Art Students League of NY and became Art Director at the House of Dominican Culture.
In his early years in New York, the young Dominican shared his time and his passion for art with another job – driving a medical bus – until he realized that art cannot be lived part-time. Peralta then moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, and went on to develop his art full-time.
Today, Rigo Peralta has his own art studio in the heart of the city, and a giant mural created by the artist entitled “Transcultural” is exhibited at the entrance of the Allentown Art Museum. It is a tribute to the characteristics that make Latinos an ethnic group with unique elements emerging from its rich mix of cultures.
Peralta, a gentle giant of about 6 feet and 5 inches, with the sensitivity and the smile of a teddy bear, talks to us exclusively about his career and his passion for art.
LT: What inspires your art?
RP: Immigrants working in the factories of the United States; the fusion of machine and man.
LT: Does being an immigrant define you as an artist?
RP: Having immigrated to this country has helped me in some way to develop this visual language. The artist should be honest with the environment that surrounds him and try to document its history in his work. The story surrounding me is my condition as an artist in a country that is not mine.
LT: How does the Dominican Republic influence your art?
RP: The Dominican Republic influences the color. My work is very tropical, although it has a good urban proposal. The tropical content that emerges in my work is the Dominican side I cannot hide as a creator because it arises from the depths of my being.
LT: Do Dominicans support the arts?
RP: Not to the extent that it should be supported. I attribute that to the lack of investment by governments. We have to visit museums and educate ourselves in art. As an artist, it is also my commitment to help educate the community so they can appreciate our work.
→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.
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