Alvaro Perez, a Texas artist, father of two, and Laredo Community College (LCC) art instructor, has died. He was 41. Perez’s sister Analiza Perez-Gomez revealed in a phone conversation with Glasstire that the artist died from a diabetic coma on Friday, August 14. Perez-Gomez has set up a GoFundMe campaign for the cost of Perez’s funeral, as well as for his two boys Redentor, 14, and Balthazar, 11. To make a donation, please go here.
Curator and frequent Glasstire contributor Leslie Moody Castro recently visited with Perez and says this of the artist: “Alvaro was such a talented, genuine, special soul. I am so grateful for the time that he gifted us all with. Our world has lost a truly unique and beautiful person, and my heart goes out to his friends, family, and community in Laredo.”
Perez earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth in 2007 after receiving an Associates Degree from LCC (1997-1999), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas Tech in Lubbock. He later joined LCC as a Visual Arts instructor in the fall of 2014, and was honored to return there as an instructor. “After graduating from LCC, I felt prepared for the next level of my higher education,” Perez stated in an interview with the Laredo Morning Times in 2014. “And now I find it an honor to be working alongside my first college art instructor, Dale Short.”
Longtime friend and “brother” to Perez, artist Nathan Porterfield, writes: “He had a role in my life that can’t be filled by anyone else, and I think the larger Laredo, DFW, and Texas community feels the same. Al was ever the paradox — brusque yet gentle, opinionated yet patient, talented and humble. Smart, kind, humble, family-oriented, talented, diverse, strong, giving, and principled.”
Regarding his talent, Perez often shared videos of himself playing the ukulele to his Instagram account, including the one posted here from as recently as two weeks ago.
Artist Clayton Hurt shared an anecdote about Perez, whom he met when they studied at Texas Christian University together. “Personally, he is one of the most badass people I know,” Hurt states. “Alvaro was particular about his art. I remember once commenting on a painting he was working on, that it reminded me of an African mask. The next day I came in and he had painted it black. We’re talking weeks’ worth of painting gone. I have that painting after it got a hammer thrown at it a couple times.”
Another post to Facebook from his peers at Laredo College reads: “The Laredo College Art faculty and staff send our heartfelt condolences to Alvaro‘s family. He was an amazing instructor and human being, involved in all facets of the visual arts at the college and community. Our art department family will miss him greatly.”
In a self-effacing description of his art, Perez is quoted from a biography on Ro2 Art’s (the Dallas-based gallery’s) website: “Art in its ever vital role as the great conveyor of that which cannot be said with words holds the potential to clarify, delineate, and illuminate .. .or in this case to confuse, complicate, garble, and distort.”
Remembrances and information via the Perez family:
“Alvaro was deeply loved. He was a devoted father, son, friend, and artist. He dedicated his life to the arts, educating and mentoring countless students, supporting colleagues, and coordinating art events for the community.
“He is preceded in death by his great-grandparents: Salvador & Juanita Saldana, Agapito & Refugia Perez, Lisandro & Katalina Amaya, and Estanislao & Delfina Moreno, as well as grandparents Jose Reynaldo & Inez Perez.
“Left to cherish his memory are his parents, Alvaro & Norma Linda Perez, mother of his children, Araceli Solis, his children, Redentor & Balthazar Perez, mother-in-law, Frances Elizondo, his siblings, Analiza Perez (Oscar) Gomez, Adrian Perez, Andres (Vanessa) Perez, his grandparents, Modesta (Charles) Saylor, Gerardo (Elvia) Amaya, his girlfriend, Charla Murray, and his nieces and nephews, Miles Perez, Adeline Perez, Andy Perez, Madison Perez, and Joshua Perez. He is also survived by his loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.
“Pallbearers: Redentor Perez (son), Balthazar Perez (son), Miles Perez (nephew), Analiza Perez- Gomez (sister), Adrian Perez (brother), and Andres Perez (brother).
“The family will hold a private family service at Joe Jackson North Funeral & Cremation Services, 1410 Jacaman Rd., Laredo, Texas.”