Watch CBS News
By Mary Lee
/ CBS San Francisco
SAN JOSE — The Apple logo is one of the most recognized logos in the world. The artist behind the iconic logo lives in the South Bay. He is also a proud immigrant from Mexico City.
Walking into Carlos Pérez David’s art studio in San Jose is like entering his own personal museum.
“Instantly it had to say, ‘That’s an apple!'” said Pérez David.
The legendary Apple logo is his most famous work of art.
“That’s what Rob Janoff, myself, and Tom Kamifuji had to do with this,” said Pérez David. “And now pushing $2 trillion, the value of what we did is enormous. It just boggles the mind.”
Pérez David drew the Apple logo when he was a young art director with the marketing firm Regis McKenna in the 1970s. Before computer graphics even existed, artists had to draw everything by hand. It was Pérez David’s final sketch that became the famous logo.
“To actually draw that freehand with French curves and circle templates, and T squares,” said Pérez David. “But it’s perfect!”
Pérez David remembers the first time he saw Steve Jobs.
“I swear, the guy was a total hippie!” said Pérez David. “He was wearing sandals with torn Levi’s in a long white shirt that just kind of almost hung on him because he was so thin. I actually had to look down to see if he was barefoot!”
Pérez David said there is one thing he wishes he could have done differently.
“I’m certain without a doubt that if I would’ve known Apple would become a $2 trillion company, I would’ve said, ‘Steve, I will do your work for free! Just give me some stock!'” said Pérez David.
While he’s been honored by his peers and his community, even inducted into the Mexican American Hall of Fame,
Most people have no idea one of the most recognized logos in the world was drawn by the very hand of Pérez David. He believes it’s because Latinos have often lived in the shadows, and artists have never been perceived as professionals.
But art is his calling, and Pérez David has dedicated his life to his craft.
“This is my tía,” said Pérez David. He pointed to a black and white photo of his aunt and a colorful piece of artwork he painted of her to honor his aunt.
He said the pride he has in his accomplishments is connected to those who believed in him from the beginning like his tías. Pérez David said their faith in him gave him the freedom to dream and the confidence to know his dreams could become reality. His artwork honors his family and his Mexican heritage.
“Very proud,” said Pérez David. “It gave me the life to get me where I’m at today. It gave me that foundation, the roots of myself, and my culture, my family”
Pérez David said he will never forget where he came from. He keeps a farm tool in his art studio to remember working the farms in the San Joaquin Valley as a teen.
“This is a short hoe,” said Pérez David. “This is the hoe smaller kids less than 100 pounds used. It’s what I used when I was out there working the fields, hoeing the weeds in the sugar beets.”
At the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, he worked closely with talented art students, hoping to inspire the next generation to imagine the possibilities and dream, just like his family did for him.
“This is the Artistic Mestizaje, a mural we created with Mathson Middle School students,” said Pérez David, pointing to the mural he painted with San Jose students at the Mexican Heritage Plaza.
Pérez David said the mural represents the heritage of their bloodline from the Spanish culture and the Indigenous culture with the middle panel, depicting the blending of both. He said the artwork celebrates their history, their creativity, and their strength.
Pérez David said he is incredibly proud of the mural. He said it was rewarding, working with the next generation to not only teach them the technical aspects of painting but to take pride in their history. He said the mural represents the fabric of who they are, their culture.
Pérez David’s artwork can be seen all around San Jose.
His work is featured inside Mineta San Jose International Airport in Terminal 7.
He is also the artist behind the Veterans Memorial in San Jose. Pérez David was the Graphic Designer who created all the imagery for the monument.
Bay Area native Mary Lee joined KPIX 5 in February of 2018.
First published on September 16, 2022 / 10:01 AM
© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Watch CBS News