"My art means everything to me – it reflects everything that's happening in my life and helps me clear my head of any problems and worries I might have. My family is my greatest motivation."
"Every painting comes from my heart and reflects my love of life and the Andes," says Peruvian painter Pepe Chavez.
Perhaps better known by his nickname, Jose Luis Chavez Tejada was born in the province of Cajamarca on July 14, 1965. His parents introduced him to art at an early age, as he was born into a family of artists.
Little by little, he came to realize that drawing and painting were what made him happiest in life. As a child, he'd spend the entire day painting. Finally, his parents decided to bring an art teacher to the house, as Pepe would rather paint than play outdoors with his friends.
He has forged and promoted the pictorial style known as neo-mannerist, which is characterized by its modern and vanguard conception of the Peruvian sierra and its people. His colors are bright and vital.
"My family is my greatest motivation," he confides, "as well as capturing on canvas the beauty of life in the Andes and her people. My art means everything to me – it reflects everything that's happening in my life and helps me clear my head of any problems and worries I might have.
"My greatest challenge in life has been raising my son. It was a struggle to be able to give him a good education, but now my oldest boy is in the university, studying in a field he loves."
Chavez has dedicated himself professionally to art since 2003; up to then, it had been more of a hobby. Unfortunately, he wasn't as successful as he'd thought in other fields so he finally decided to focus on his passion for art. As an artist, he hasn't done badly at all.
Pepe Chavez's work shows a clear influence of the French post-impressionist Henri Matisse and of Camilo Blas from Cajamarca, among others. He has participated in a number of solo and collective exhibits, and many of his paintings figure in private collections in Peru and abroad.