Raphael Perez

Raphael "Rafi" Perez (Hebrew: רפי פרץ; born 1965) is an Israeli artist known for his homoerotic gay art and colorful urban landscapes painted in a naïve style.

Raphael Perez
רפאל פרץ
Rafi perez.jpg
Born1965 (age 57–58)
Jerusalem, Israel
Known forNaive Art

Early lifeEdit

Perez was born in Jerusalem.[1] Growing up, he was exposed to the works of great painters by his father. He has two brothers – one an industrial designer (his twin), and the other a jewelry designer. He served in the Israel Defense Forces in the Artillery Corps. Perez only began to paint at the age of 23.[2] In 1989–1992, he studied art at the College of Visual Arts in Beersheba.[3] Since 1995, he has been working and living in Tel Aviv.[1]

For 15 years, Perez worked as a counselor at a youth shelter, and a pre-school sports and art teacher.[2]

Art careerEdit

Perez paints urban landscapes in a naïve style, depicting life in the city streets, parks, and public places in a palette of bright colors. Many of his works are grouped by series – men and women, gay families, spherical paintings of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as multi-cultural centers.[2] His early work focused on human relationships, sometimes using flowers as a metaphor. Perez's artistic career began when he was still living with women. He often painted heterosexual couples, but even then, one discerned Perez's inner conflicts and attempt to grapple with the complexities of couplehood.[4]

In 2010, Perez was commissioned to create advertising posters for the Israel Ministry of Tourism.[5] His posters of Tel Aviv appeared on billboards in the London underground, shopping malls, and bus stops, and his designs were featured on 30,000 transportation card holders distributed in London. He describes his art as "a reflection of the entire gay community – people in the closet, mature love, gay families, gay political icons and cultural icons".[2] Major influences on his work are Nahum Gutman and David Hockney.

Perez's work was described in The London Magazine as "instantly appealing, bursting with exuberance and energy".[6] According to the Jerusalem Post, Perez is a "Tel Aviv artist in every sense of the word – painting the urban landscape of the city… infused with happiness".[7]

With the Israeli poet Smadar Sharett, Perez created three books of paintings and poems that have been published in 2021.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Peretz is openly gay and in a relationship since 2013 with Assaf Henigsberg, who also served as a model for some of his paintings.[9]

Selected solo exhibitionsEdit

  • The Kiss, Zaritsky Artists House, Tel Aviv – December 18, 2008[10]
  • Army of lovers, Janco Dada Museum, Ein Hod – 2009[10]
  • Zaritsky Artists House, Tel Aviv – 2008
  • Zaritsky Artists House, Tel Aviv – 2006

Selected group exhibitionsEdit

Permanent exhibitsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b ArtMarket magazine
  2. ^ a b c d The gay painter of Tel Aviv
  3. ^ Saatchi Art: Raphael Perez
  4. ^ Rafi Perez (1965)
  5. ^ Tel Aviv through a gay painter's eyes
  6. ^ Freedom of Expression: True Colours
  7. ^ Israeli art: Upgrading our presence of mind, Jerusalem Post
  8. ^ "Three new art books that harmoniously connect the world of painting and poetry", Artlandcraft
  9. ^ Kaminer, Amir (6 July 2019). "I Invite Everyone to Tread on me". Yediot Aharonot (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b Information Center or Israeli Art, Israel Museum
  11. ^ A YouTune film presenting the permanent exhibition at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem