POSTED ON JANUARY 4, 2012:
Winston Peraza is determined to make Tulsa the "next big thing"
If Winston Peraza were to start over, he would do everything differently.
"What would be the point of re-living the same life again? Don't get me wrong, I like my life and am grateful for the opportunities that life has given me, but really, there is so much more out there! ... I could have been a tour guide in the Amazon jungle. Who knows? We only have a moment to live our lives so I want to cram as much in there as possible!"
It is only slightly surprising to hear such a statement from a man who, from the outside looking in, arguably epitomizes the successful artist. As the Chief Creative Officer of Cubic Creative, the President of Art Directors Club of Tulsa, and an advisory board member for FabLab Tulsa, he's most certainly imparting his brush stroke on our community. Our community will be better for it.
With a history of creative talent in Tulsa, it's refreshing to have an artist such as Winston actually immigrate in. He was living in his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela, in the process of applying to Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, when he had a chance encounter with the President of the University of Tulsa who was in Caracas recruiting petroleum engineering students. They recognized his artistic ability and offered him a scholarship to attend TU. Just before graduation, he just happened to meet a girl named Abbie (who had just returned from Germany) and subsequently, permanently secured his ties to Tulsa. One night while lying in the grass, looking up at the stars, they decided to get married.
The couple moved around the world, first living back in Venezuela and then ultimately landing in Switzerland for three years. While in Switzerland, Winston maintained his ties to Tulsa by operating a satellite office and maintaining his role as the Chief Creative Officer in his current partnership, Cubic Creative.
"We lived there (Switzerland) for 3 years. I loved it! It was challenging at times for obvious reasons (different time zones, different culture, etc.) but overall, I think we pulled it off successfully."
Daily involvement aside, this remote correspondence possibly rendered Winston as some sort of enigma to his employees and clients, a creative wizard behind a curtain, his identity not entirely known but his influence decidedly felt. As Winston states, "The traveling back and forth was a bit tough and I know that my being there in Switzerland was a bit hard for my partners here in Tulsa. I am very grateful to them for putting up with me."
In 2009, Peraza returned to Tulsa and quickly went to work to help create the kind of community that he'd like to live in.
"I think we have the potential to be the 'next big thing'. Forget New York, Austin or LA. It is cities like Tulsa that have the greatest potential to become vibrant, progressive and truly viable places to live and create...Tulsa is a good idea. Like a promising sketch or an unfinished painting that has the potential to be a great piece. Every line, every color we throw on this canvas can make it better or can totally ruin it. So far, it has been good enough for me to want to stick around and see how this project turns out. I think the more we can be exposed to new ideas, new art, etc, the more sophisticated our community at large will become," Peraza said.
Naturally, Peraza draws the parallel between the development of a city and the beginnings of an art project. Contemplation and expression are the artist's method of inspired problem solving. He does not exclusively view the world as it is without also considering what it could be.
It is the culmination of experiences that lends itself to an artist's inspiration. Thus far, Winston's world has been rich, vast and diverse, all lending itself to his current vision. Winston's latest creative project, Counter Factual, is an exploration of creative thought and his environment as he experiences it.
"The actual technique is mixed media but I use graphite, ink, spray paint and charcoal. The show is an exploration of the state of creativity.
"This series is about the experience of creativity. Not a process, not an attribute. It is about capturing the rapid changes in mind/body, connections, associations, visualizations, semantics, etc. that I go through on a daily basis while making a living as a designer. Although 'creativity' presupposes 'novelty' and 'value,' I propose that the experience of creativity is in itself (if only temporarily) a state worthy of pursuing, regardless of outcome or product" Peraza said.
Winston Peraza's Counter Factual consists of "new works on paper" and can be viewed at the Holliman Gallery at Holland Hall. The show is on display Jan. 9-March 3, with an opening reception on Jan. 12, from 5-7pm. You can also view examples of Winston's work at anothercivilian.com.
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