A school teacher by day, an artist by night, C.B. Perry is, “the Creative Manifestation of Quentin Perry.”
The Pittsburgh Brashear graduate, with a few strokes of a paintbrush, has decided not to define his role as an artist in Pittsburgh. From risky, riveting body painting to culturally-relevant portraits, the 32-year-old artist, also known as “Cue,” has remained unapologetic about his journey as an illustrator.
As a kid growing up in Manchester, Perry “was too artsy for the hood kids and too hood for the artsy kids. If you didn’t play sports or weren’t a part of the street lifestyle you were considered a lame.” As a result, Perry kept his passion for art “hidden.”
It wasn’t until he was 30 years old and financially broke when he decided to begin a career in art. “People kept telling me I should take art serious, so I decided to do exactly that.”
While Perry enjoys how art allows him to express himself creatively, he dislikes the lack of Black art that’s represented. “Growing up, I personally didn’t know any Black artists,” Perry told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. “I didn’t hear of the term ‘Black artist’ until I was about 15. Representation matters.”
Perry, along with 19 other artists, will soon be recognized in a Black History Month campaign with Pittsburgh Public Schools. This project will introduce Black artists in Pittsburgh who are currently making a contribution to their community and the arts.
When asked about his specific art form, Perry replied, “I don’t necessarily have a style; it’s a gift and a curse. What sets me apart is the fact that I don’t have a style. I am not limited to a specific discipline.”
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Perry recognizes that his city is “rich in art and many people aren’t aware.
“From Romare Bearden to Andy Warhol,” he said, “this city inspires me and I hope my work can inspire people just the same.”
Over the past two years, Perry has sold over 200 paintings. He primarily paints on canvasses, but has also done murals, such as on the playground of Carlow University’s Early Learning Center. He also has done face-painting for charity events, and enjoys the overall art of “live painting” as audiences watch.
In efforts to provide local artists with “a platform to showcase their talents and expand their brand,” Pittsburgh resident Vernard Alexander has been hosting an event called “Connectically Speaking” for the past two years. The next one, scheduled for Jan. 12, 9 p.m. at Repair the World, 6022 Broad St. in East Liberty, will feature about a dozen poets, and the live painting by Cue Perry.
“Cue has been a newly regular supporter of my events,” Alexander said. After Perry posted a picture of a female model on Facebook featuring Perry’s artistry via body paint, Alexander initiated a conversation with Perry.
Alexander believes the addition of Perry will only add to the event’s appeal. The models, who all volunteered to be painted at Connectically Speaking, Jan. 12., are a mixture of local talents and Facebook friends.
In the present, “this Friday (Jan. 12) is a great opportunity to showcase my artwork in a creative, different way,” Perry said. But, “in five years, I hope to be headlining gallery shows across the nation.”
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