Prz grew up in Logan Square during the 1990s — a time where street gangs took on heinous acts to mark their drug turf and life was a sure fire ring of survival. Working to provide for his family, which included up to seven people living in their house at once, his father hustled in the streets and eventually wound up behind bars — becoming absent for nearly 15 years of his life.
CZR PRZ (Caesar Perez) now a Chicago native, has made marks in the street art community for the last two decades. By trade he is a painter, illustrator, designer and an installation artist who is known popularly for his large-scale public art and murals. He also does corporate projects for many companies and also runs a design and productions studio called Ava Grey designs.
“I really got into fine art when I was 10, because I grew up poor but my family, who are immigrants [and artists], were all about being educated and making sure I have a grasp of what’s happening outside of the community.”
Czr Prz was interested in art from a very young age as his family had many artists (including painters and writers.) He was influenced by his family members and by the time he was in the 5th grade, he had already decided to pursue a career in the arts. He went to art school and experimented with engineering, but ultimately made his way back to his true calling.
“I had a very spiritual and theological upbringing. That’s basically a huge part of my work. My stuff is urban, but a lot of it is a combination of impressionism.
There are some ideas of mythology in CZR's work but it’s really a culmination of different forms of culture and theology. The messages and style tie in to his spiritual and ritualistic upbringing, fascination with ’70s pop and illustrative art.
Czr also draws inspiration from many his peers and various Chicago street art counterparts, such as Raven, Chris Silva and Rafa.
He features different animals in most of his work and in every piece, they symbolize different traits or qualities that represent the feelings of people. Most of his work includes birds, crows and ravens.
His mural paintings are often draped in purples, blacks and palettes of blue and incorporates pockets of symbolism in the form of birds, crows, ravens and snakes — serving as markers of freedom, intelligence and also, life and death.