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Art & Life with Vincent Mendoza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vincent Mendoza.

Vincent, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in the Los Angeles area, right down the street from The Brewery. I started making art in my great grandmother’s house when I was about eight years old. Her house was virtually destroyed by the Whittier Narrows earthquake so rooms in the house were tilted off the frame; they were fun to draw. She had lots of animals, about 30 cats and three dogs. My great grandmother had also sheltered quite a few homeless over the years and one of them loved to draw, his name was Juanito. He taught me to draw his dog, Chico and how to properly roll cigarettes. I had a lot of fun drawing the things I saw around the house. I learned that my family had several artists. I had a cousin that worked as an animator, my grandfather liked painting, and I had a great uncle that carved figures from wood. I thought to myself, “maybe I should be an artist.” By the time I reached high school, I spent all my time drawing and making characters from stories I read. I loved Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein so much I drew a picture of Frankenstein’s monster for one of my teachers and he hung it up in his classroom. Then in college, I tried my hand at music and ceramics but ultimately I chose drawing as my career path. Now I spend most of my time making portraits and starting my own business.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I specialize in drawing and painting. The portrait is my top subject of choice. I love drawing faces I find beautiful to absolutely non-sensical; I am obsessed with people’s faces, sometimes I can’t help but look at people when I’m getting coffee or walking through Walmart. Throughout my work, you will find some traditional work and some that are playful.

Like most representational artists, I have subjects and topics I’d like to share through my craft. However, I’m not at the level of skill I feel is required to back up my opinions yet so I mostly keep subtext out of my work. I feel as though I have nothing to lose, but I want my first real piece of work to be undeniably powerful.

In my work, I use mostly graphite and charcoal but I do mess around with oil and casein paints. Learning to paint has been a painful journey but learned a ton from online resources and popular artists like Cesar Santos and James Gurney. Currently, I’m making a lot of small portraits, with a pencil, drawn on 4×3 inch paper. I’m trying to improve the quality of their “likeness” on a smaller scale rather than fudging up on an 18×24 inch canvas. It would be amazing if one day my art either killed someone or saved their life; hopefully the latter.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
The fundamentals I’d say have stayed the same, from controversial art to the everyday street art at your local café. It’s to catch the viewer’s attention and entertain.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
All my work gets posted on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram has more of a direct line of feedback. If you’d like to support me in any way swing by and leave a comment or follow me on Instagram.

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