The nationally known artist has painted several murals in the city.
The artist walked into the restaurant for the interview, his long hair combed straight back. The bottom half of his goatee was pink.
Flecks of paint on his clothes showed Perego was taking time out from a workday to talk about his art and his vision, which have left vibrant, colorful strokes on the world, and most recently Ormond Beach. He has a formed a worldwide Art Army and is known for his memorable performances.
Perego’s creativity can be seen in the murals at the Kona Tiki Bar, done in a retro, 1950s’ style; the portraits of historic figures in Rose Villa Restaurant; and the mural in 31 Supperclub that evokes the 1930s.
His art ranges from the fanciful and wild to portraits that look they could have been painted 100 years ago.
“After 28 years, I’ve done every style,” he said.
Most recently, he painted a mural at Osceola Elementary School, which shows local history with elements of the Ormond Garage, The Casements and the school mascot, Chief Osceola, displayed in the middle.
The project started after he noticed art at the school was faded while dropping off his daughter, and he talked to the principal about helping out with his art.
City Commissioner Bill Partington was at the dedication ceremony for the mural.
“This guy is an amazing artist,” Partington said recently. “He does beautiful work.”
Partington mentioned the mural that Perego has done in DeLand, at Rich Avenue and Woodland Avenue, and remarked how they create interest.
Perego believes in public art.
“When you look at art, the energy impacts you,” he said. “Art makes people feel good. Art is not passive, it’s aggressive. It’s more powerful than you think.”
Asked to do “crazy things”
Scott Smith, general manager of Grind Gastropub and Kona Tiki Bar, calls the illustrations on the walls “fabulous” and “eye-catching.”
“A lot of people come here because they saw us on Trip Advisor and they are amazed at the ambience, and a lot of it is from his artwork,” Smith said.
When people are new to the restaurant he points out all the art to make sure they don’t miss anything.
Perego, 49, enjoys the challenge of commercial art, using his craft to accomplish the goals of the business owner.
“I’m asked to do a variety of crazy things,” he said. “I have to figure how to do them as art.”
His artwork around the area includes the parking garage in Daytona Beach, murals in the Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley Davidson and many more.
Perego also uses his artistic vision in interior design. He settled in the Daytona Beach area in 1992, after working around the country, and helped design The Coliseum, The Love Bar, The Groove Nightclub and others.
Working as art director for Walt Disney World Entertainment. he helped launch the Disney Cruise Line Inaugural Event in Cape Canaveral, the Animal Kingdom press event and the premier party for Cirque du Soliel in Orlando. On television, his set designs can be seen on Univision, BET and the local PBS.
“They say I think ‘outside the box.' I think I’m just a freak,” he said, laughing.
He also did artwork for the recently released volume three of “Zorro: The Complete Adventures” by Johnston McCulley. The stories originally ran in pulp fiction magazines from 1919 to 1959, and the new book was published by Bold Venture Press of Sunrise, Florida.
Everyone’s an artist
In high school in the Philadelphia area, friends helped him with his art, and this was the genesis of the Art Army, a collaboration with other artists in 45 cities worldwide, each with a Facebook page.
“It’s a brotherhood of artists who believe in changing the world through art and music,” he said.
He wants to bring a “oneness” to the world with the Art Army.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘your God,’ and ‘my God,” he said. “What are they talking about? There’s only one God”
Perego believes that everyone is an artist; everyone is creative.
“Our oneness is through our diversity,” he said. “Not oneness through sameness.”
Performance art is a big part of Perego’s life these days. During the economic downturn, he said many of his friends in the art business had to get other jobs, but he found a way to continue with performances.
“People always want to be entertained,” he said.
His shows are memorable events for the audience, who often take part.
“I do things people will always remember,” he said. For example, they are invited to come on stage and pour paint over his head, so he can sign his art by slamming his hair onto the canvas. Sometimes the event will end with setting the art on fire.
He promises an unforgettable experience that will “meet your specific needs, surpass your expectations and maybe even blow your mind.”
His next performance art will be at The Roof at the Daytona Beach Pier, on the Thursday and Saturday of Biketoberfest. It will be a busy weekend for him, as he is performing in Philadelphia on that Friday night.
Meet the Artist
Visit peregolive.com; artof perego.com and find him on Facebook.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘your God,’ and ‘my God.’ What are they talking about? There’s only one God.”