Juls Mendoza knows his purpose in this world: To create his Personal Legend by making art. With his paintings, which he calls “Surrealismo Cultural,” Mendoza highlights his cultural background by focusing on Cultural Identity, Community and Social Justice. By painting from his own experience within his Mexican heritage, he is showing the world a little bit about how rich and colorful his culture truly is.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Pacas De A Kilo by: Los Tigres del Norte. It gets me pumped and ready to create!
Any hidden talents?
I think I’m actually discovering those hiding talents as I go in life… so yeah.
What is something you can’t work without?
I think I depend a lot on my Ipad to create but also I can’t start working without having a clean space where to work or having my “to do’s” completed. Like emails, clean dishes, weird things like that… yeah it sucks my brain is not ready to create if I don’t do those things first.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received came from a book. Reading the book, “ El Alquimista” by Paulo Coelho, changed me and made things clear on what I wanted to do with my life. The book talks about achieving our own Personal Legend and the idea that all individuals should live in the singular pursuit of their individual dreams. I read this book in a moment when I was very undecided about my future and if making art was the solution or not. This book gave me the answer to my purpose in this world. The answer was to create my Personal Legend by making art. That simple… The rest is history.
How do you like to describe your style of art?
I describe my style as “Surrealismo Cultural” or “Cultural Surrealism” . I came up with this description for my style because it was always difficult to describe my style when people would ask about what I paint.
I like to paint surreal images, situations and characters with a very cultural flavor. Always highlighting my cultural background.
Cultural Surrealism focuses on Cultural Identity, Community and Social Justice.
How did you get started as an artist?
I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I first started drawing anime characters like Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac and Captain Tsubasa and being influenced by my older brother who was actually good at drawing, not me. Then as a teenager, graffiti came as a new influence to keep creating and to change my interest in art. As I got older, I started defining my style more by being influenced by my cultural background.
I only started doing murals in 2018, so you can say I’m pretty new to the mural scene but I’m pretty confident with what I’m doing and now I’m in my second year as a full-time artist.
How has your culture influenced your work?
My culture has heavily influenced my artwork in a way that it feels right to create what I have lived and experienced within my Mexican heritage and Latino culture. Also learning more about my ancestors has grown an interest to highlight my roots and show the world a little bit about how rich and colorful my culture is.
Who are some of your favorite artists that have inspired you?
When it comes to people that inspire me I can say that I get very inspired by the hustle and the desire of my immigrant people. But if we are talking about artists that I have looked up to and have inspired my work I can say that I admire what “Los Tres Grandes del Muralismo Mexicano” did in their career as artists. I’m talking about David Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. Also, some of my favorite international artists who have inspired me are: PichiAvo from Spain, Sofles from Australia, SmoeNova from Germany, Ledania from Colombia, Saner from Mexico and Jade from Peru. Some of my favorite national and local artists are: Mr. B Baby from CA, Antony Garcia Sr. and The Worst Crew from Denver. Oh and my biggest inspiration since being a teenager has been “Trane” from the Getting Up video game HAHA.
Do you prefer to work indoors or outdoors?
Definitely outdoors! I just love the freedom of being outside and also interacting with the outdoor environment. Plus it’s so much easier when painting a mural and not having to worry about ventilation and sometimes even covering the floor and masking. But I’m not gonna lie, living in Denver where the weather sucks to paint outside for almost half of the year I definitely appreciate those indoor murals.
What are your artistic weapons of choice?
Spray paint for sure and my Ipad.
Where do you seek vision from when beginning a new piece? Walk us through your process a bit.
Every art piece and mural it’s different. So for example, when painting a mural, the demographics and community in that area are very important for me to take into consideration when creating a public mural. Also what is very important to me is to keep and show my style in every piece that I create. Especially if it’s a commissioned painting or mural, sometimes the client it’s asking for something that doesn’t match my style. I personally don’t like to take on commissions that ask for something completely different than what I do because I know there are more artists out there that can benefit from that opportunity and do a much better job than what I would do.
You have done murals all over Colorado and beyond- what do you enjoy most about getting to see your art all over different communities?
First of all, it’s crazy to see my work around, especially on big buildings! It’s a good feeling and I really enjoy the difference that the mural can make on a community and when they feel some sort of connection with the mural. At the end of the day a mural is a gift from that artist to the community.
Can you tell us a little about ARTE in Spanglish?
Arte in Spanglish is a podcast I created for all types of artistic creators to share their story in both languages, English and Spanish. So there’s an episode for everyone to listen to.
The name of the podcast Arte in Spanglish came to me because that is the language that a lot of people that migrated from Latin America to the U.S end up speaking, Spanglish.
The podcast is fairly new. There are 6 episodes out now where I have shared stories about my journey as an artist and also I have interviewed some creators from the Denver scene. I’m hoping to soon do some more interviews with artists from other states and countries to expand the Arte in Spanglish community. And if any creators out there are interested in participating on a podcast episode, feel free to contact me via IG or email.
What are you working on next that we can look forward to?
Right now I’m focusing on spending more time in my studio and creating more art and merch to have available for when I do Open Studio Sales. It’s my first year having an actual studio so I’m really enjoying my time there. I also started doing Tufting, so I’m making some custom rugs that will be available soon. So stay tuned on my IG to find out the dates of my Open Studio Sales and other projects coming up.
Any shoutouts or shameless plugs?
Shoutout to all mi gente that have supported me and all those out there making moves so the Earth can be a better place to live! Shoutout to the Denver Art Community putting Denver on the map. Thank you Rooster Magazine for the feature!
Y saludos a mi ama’ y a mi apa’!