Trusting Her Creative Instincts

Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member and Performer Celeste Perez in a ceremonial Balinese sarong.

Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member and Performer Celeste Perez in a ceremonial Balinese sarong.

Instinctive and playful, Celeste Perez is shaping her career around a calling to explore how people engage with humor across cultures. On a path of self-discovery involving experimental theatre and world travel, in 2017, Celeste came to Arts Mission Oak Cliff for co-working opportunities as a freelancer. At AMOC, she spends her time connecting with other Creatives who write and perform, also taking classes to further develop herself and participating in shows in our space.

“You work in the film world. What shaped your worldview as a creative mind?”

Fresh from college graduation, the bubble I was living in popped and I found myself ready to take big leaps. I told myself, "Well if this can happen, I can make anything happen for myself."  I guess there is such a thing as optimistic cynicism, because I manifested one of my biggest dreams of all time just two years later.

Today, I love cooking and reading about food. In fact, I'm constantly thinking about where I could travel or who to interview for culinary content to make really compelling stories.

“Tell us about the world of clowning. How did it connect to your purpose and travels through Indonesia?”

I discovered that I loved clowning and mask work when I was in a production of Twelfth Night at the young age of 16. Something about it was terrifying and yet so accessible. And later in college, I had to report on Julie Taymor of the famed Lion King Broadway production and the movie Frida. In one of her TED Talks, she mentioned studying mythology in Bali and discovering taksu, which is the rough equivalent of being “in the zone." I admired her as a director and wanted that experience (of being in the zone) for myself, so I planned my own trek to Bali.

“Was realizing your dream in a country so far away intimidating?”

I worked really hard in the service industry, really hard, to afford to travel to Asia and worked even harder to be able to keep up physically and mentally in my classes. I literally climbed a mountain while I was in Indonesia, and it almost felt like climbing a mountain to get there in the first place -- #32HoursofFlying. It was my first time leaving North America; I traveled there and back alone, and I really wanted to make the most of my time. I walked around an entire island by myself and swam in every beach!

“What role did synchronicity play in achieving your clowning goals?”

I came to understand taksu as that moment when someone is executing their art with such honesty that there is God in it. Studying Julie Taymor’s films planted the seed. But it wasn’t until my mentor shared news that a colleague was leading a course called Bali Taksu: The Power of Clown that I knew spending a month in Asia could even be a fit for me.

“What’s it like, figuratively or literally, to put yourself in a clown’s shoes?”

My creativity is definitely rooted in curiosity and humorous storytelling. I believe there’s is no gift greater than making people laugh, and I receive so much joy from it. From my experiences playing a clown, I don't think you can have a clown who isn't curious. Or maybe you can. An extremely un-curious clown would probably be really funny. I've gotta find one of those.

“Should we be looking out for any banana cream pies or squirting flower arrangements in the near future?”

There’s a beautiful kitchen space at AMOC – ripe for someone to come in to play and tell a fun story through food photography!

Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member Celeste Perez is the daughter of artists and received a Montessori education in Dallas. She loves reading about theatre arts and listening to interviews with artists. To learn how you can become a member, email

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