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Meet Gino Perez of Mexican U.F.O. in Studio City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gino Perez.

Gino, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well, it all starts as a young kid being influenced by what was around me. I grew up in Highland Park in North East Los Angeles and is not the Highland Park it is now is these days it was very street. I found a love for skateboarding when I was 12 years old and I was always drawing. My father was an artist and always was painting or drawing or carving wood .He was multi-talented and I always was around art from a very young age.

So I was lucky enough to be around creativity ever since I could remember. Skateboarding to me was a form of art and style it helped me come into my own and gain the confidence that I needed to excel. I started to travel the world in my late teens as a sponsored skateboarder and got introduced to the professional world of art. I was going to museums and gaining more culture that I would have never learned by being stuck in the ghetto. My career progressed and I became a professional skateboarder which was one of my dreams I for filled. During that time, I was hanging out with like-minded people who skated and made art. That’s really when I realized I could turn my love for art into something real as my skateboarding career turned into doing more art. It grew into something I would have never thought of as a kid and continues too. I always tried to do what I love to the fullest in that way I could never lose.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There had been some struggles when I was younger growing up with my Father being addicted to drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t a good environment to be raised in as a kid and I saw a lot of horrible things that a child should never have to experience. For example, from coming home from school and finding my Dad passed out in the bushes all beat up and drunk, to him robbing a bank in our neighborhood and running home to tell us to stay in the house while my brother and I watched him almost get gunned down by the cops. There were a lot of crazy incidents like that and it was hard living around that kind of anxiety and stress. He had his good side too and it seemed like he was torn between two worlds. On one hand, he was the funniest most loving person you could have ever met and he was also an amazing artist. Even when he was in prison, he still continued to do his art. I knew most of his troubles were due to his addictions and eventually I had come to terms with that. Looking back he had really taught me a lot about life in his own way and I loved him for that. My Mother is the complete opposite. She really held the family together and was always supportive of what made me happy. She is also a really good artist and is constantly doing her crafts every day. Growing up in that environment and actually making it through really taught me to be grateful and to aspire to do the things I love in life full-heartedly. This is why I’ve always approached it as a winning situation. I try not to let the negatives get to me and while it hasn’t been easy I still continue to stay focused in what I believe is right for my own good. This came from within and I’ve always known what I wanted and who I truly am, so the rest was just acting on it. Staying focused and expressing it through painting.

Please tell us about Mexican U.F.O.
My business is called Mexican UfO. The name came from a drawing I used to frequently put in my paintings. It is of a flying sombrero that looks like a u.f.o. I have been putting it in paintings for years as part of my natural humor. I run the company with my girlfriend Angie King. We mostly collaborate on all ideas. She has a great eye for art and also handles production and our online shop. It’s a good team. We are small and we have lots of freedom to be real and authentic, free to do a lot of what other companies can’t do creatively. I had been making garments since my mother taught me to sew as a teenager. She was tired of fixing my ripped jeans because of skateboarding haha. I would frequently design and create one-off items for myself like custom suits, and I would wear them to my art shows and for going out. I would also make women’s clothing and I still do. I enjoy designing avant garde style fashion pieces that are also very expressionistic or sometimes unwearable just for art’s sake. Garments of that nature were very difficult and costly to reproduce, so after many years of making them I decided to combine the two. The line consist of everyday items like hoodies, jackets, t-shirts and hats. From time to time limited edition items will also pop up as well when inspired by random ideas. The garments show off my artwork and sayings that I put into my paintings. One example of our sayings is “From the ghetto to the Getty” and we display that particular quote onto t-shirts, bags, hats and jackets. With the help and collab of comedian Jo Koy, he has actually promoted this saying on a worldwide level and on his world tour this year. He also wears it on a jacket on his Netflix special called “Coming in Hot” which is currently up on Netflix. Check him out if you haven’t already because he is the funniest out there. Many celebrities have rocked it and it’s been great for us thanks to him. The saying is a positive message which means that anyone can come up from the lows in life. Anyone can pursue their dreams, and still come out stronger and thrive by doing what they love.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe in having so much content and making a huge body of work that comes from the heart prepares you and brings you opportunity. If you want to call that luck then I got it. I’ve been fortune in life to be around great people that share the same ideas and ethics I have that it also helps in art and business. People like that get what you stand for and feel a sense of togetherness. If they’re buying a painting or garment, they see themselves in it and make a connection.

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