I was born in Havana, Cuba, in October of 1966, surrounded by a heritage of art and science. My mother, Aracely Mesa, who died in 2010, was a fine artist and a Scientific Illustrator. My father, Octavio Perez-Beato, has a PhD in Biology.
I became a member of the Artist and Artisans Cuban Association (ACAA) while I was a student at the Industrial Design Institute in 1989. I became a member of The Fine and Applied Arts National Registry in Havana in 1990. The same year I took part in the Collective Exhibition “Fine Arts” in Havana where I received a special recognition award.
Many of my jewelry designs were exhibited in art galleries such as Habana Gallery, Acacia Gallery, Victor Manuel Gallery and in La Casona, the main building of the Cultural Art Center (Fondo de Bienes Culturales). I was included as a guest in a National Recognition Event for all outstanding artists during 1993 at the Avellaneda Salon at the Havana National Theater.
In 1993 and 1994, I was commissioned by ACAA President Teresa Cao to design papier mache artifacts and jewels as part of costumes of The Havana Carnival.
A New Path
In April of 1995 I fled from Cuba as a political refugee and joined my parents in Miami, Florida. That year, I started working at Gloco Finish Inc. where I hand-finished an average of 150 pieces of jewelry per day. I worked at the company for one year until it closed.
In 1996 I went to work for Coco Design with Jorge Diaz, a jewelry model-maker with more than 30 years of experience in the field. The valuable knowledge that Jorge Diaz gave me was, and continues to be, a treasure. I learned to model in wax, to use poly-clays and to assemble complex models and jewels. During these two years, I mastered and reshaped myself as an artist.
By 1998, the jewelry industry was facing many challenges and by 1999 the jewelry tool was cased up and my workshop dismantled. In the same year my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
During those months, a friend offered me a job in a warehouse where I worked until 2004. I also went back to school, attending classes for two years at Miami Dade College. I can still recall among others the remarkable classes of digital art I took with Humberto Lopez or those of Writing and Reading that I attended with professor Daphnee Gilles. Both of them opened doors and gave me new and valuable tools.