The Artist - Diego Perez
Can you please give us an intro into a couple of your favorite pieces from the past:
It is difficult to choose only a couple of paintings from the past, so I decided to choose two paintings from different production periods of my career. The first piece is a studio of Caravaggio's Bacchus, I made this oil painting when I was in my last year of the National Painting School “La Esmeralda” in Mexico in 2010. Caravaggio has always been my spiritual guide and inspiration for my work, especially for the use of the chiaroscuro and the humor. So I wanted to prove myself and my technique by mocking Caravaggio, but I also include part of my identity, instead of the original drawstring of his rope in the left hand he is holding a cheap mezcal called “Tonayan”, a very popular drink in Mexico City, if you don't have enough money to do better.
The second piece is most recent just from a few months ago, I believe the piece shows more my current personality as a painter because it includes my interest with light —still Caravaggio’s influence—, the humor, but also part of my Mexican identity in the United States. So, you can see the famous character from Matrix, Neo, holding with his powers the famous “chanclas” (flip flops). Any Mexican can tell you how their mother uses the chancla as a corrective method for bad behavior. So, you will always see in my painting a classic aesthetics approach but also the playfulness elements of humor. I like how the irony works like a shield before the truth.
How did you find the process of creating a piece from a Sherlock Story?
This was my first time creating a painting directly from a written story, so it was quite interesting and challenging, especially because Sherlock Holmes is a character very well positioned in the social imaginary of readers worldwide.
Tell us a bit about the method you used.
The first thing was reading the story, I love the resonance with the classic Holmes in Mike’s style. The story is very colorful and has a lot of action, so I tried to show that in my painting. I started to do a brainstorming of concepts and ideas that I really liked, so I can use them in my composition. I like to think that my painting is a fragmented visual storytelling, and, of course, I had to include my personal humorist approach with elements that don't exist inside the story but that the reader will discover by themselves after reading the story.
The Author - Mike Hogan
You've written quite a lot of Sherlock stories, how did you pick this one for the art project?
I had offered several stories for the art project, and one had been chosen for the first book. I believe Diego read ‘Vigor the Hammersmith Wonder’ and chose to illustrate it – brilliantly. ‘Vigor’ has Holmes defending the Empire – specifically the Royal Navy – from dastardly spies with help from the entire cast and chorus of the Temple of Varieties music hall – as depicted in Diego’s dynamic painting.
What has it been like to see your story turned into a piece of art?
A blast. I’ve loved every moment of the process from the start to the final reveal of the completed art. It’s a great compliment that an artist would see something in one of my stories that led to the creation of an excellent work of pictorial art. Diego has caught the humour of the story exactly.
The piece is available as a print from The Conan Doyle Estate.
Tell us about your new book coming out this month...
‘Sherlock Holmes: 1888, Autumn of Blood’ follows Holmes and Watson during the twists and turns of the police and newspaper investigation into the Ripper murders and the dismembered corpse found in the foundations of the Scotland Yard building site. Far from standing aloof as the capital of the Empire is paralyzed by the fiend stalking its streets, Holmes and Watson are drawn into the ferment as it becomes clear that Jack is not the only habitual killer on the hunt that season. There are others. Out in paperback and Kindle on December 6.