Featured Artist: Perla Leal

Perla Leal

Meet featured artist, Perla Leal!

Her artwork is on currently on display at our Southwest location, 4301 W William Cannon Dr., Austin, TX 78749.

Perla is originally from San Antonio, but has lived in Austin for the past 8 years. Her fiancé contacted Kerbey Lane Cafe on her behalf to inquire about displaying her paintings, and it was through the sales of her artwork here that Perla decided to pursue being an artist full-time.

When asked when she began painting Perla said, “I’ve always been an artist, and I’ve been painting since I was 17”. Perla’s creativity is not limited to painting. She also designs earrings, hairpins, and masks, among other items.


On her inspiration: “It’s my culture, my life. I inject a little from my everyday life into my paintings.”

At 19 Perla began apprenticing with a tattoo artist who encouraged her to go to college. She went on to obtain an Associates of Applied Science in Mortuary Science and worked in a funeral home as a funeral director and embalmer. Perla has always been fascinated by death and the anatomy of the human body, so it makes sense that this is the subject of much of her work.

Perla creates art in the spirit of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday that focuses on gathering loved ones to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. She emphasizes that is a celebratory occasion—not a morbid one. She enjoys taking the concept of death, flesh, and bone and developing them into vibrant, colorful images that display a sense of playfulness. Because of the content of her paintings, some have found certain pieces to be controversial. Perla said, “It’s flattering when my artwork provokes such a strong response—it lets me know I’m doing something right.”


“Elephants #13”

Perla has created several paintings based on people in her own life that have passed on, including a memorial for her grandmother. She explained, “I study the bone structure of the person I’m painting when I create a Day of the Dead piece.” When choosing colors, Perla will consider the personality of her subject. These considerations help to create a resemblance and provoke fond memories of the deceased.

Recently Perla was commissioned to paint a portrait of a client’s family dog, Hoss, who passed away. She studied pictures of the beloved pooch in order to capture his personality in her painting.

When asked what she does when she’s not creating art Perla said, “I’m planning my wedding, but my life revolves around being a mother to my nine-year-old son, Alejandro.”

On Valentine’s Day Perla attended the Punk Rock Art Market at The Lost Well as a vendor, and she plans to have a table at the March event as well. You can see more of her work on her blog. All of her works displayed at Kerbey Lane Cafe are for sale and you can contact her through her Facebook page, Arte de Perla to purchase or for more information.


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