Identifying Darkness and Light with Alejandra Mendoza
Written by Puska Jamil All Images courtesy of Alejandra Mendoza

Alejandra Mendoza’s art cannot really be defined or categorized in the traditional art lexicon.  However, we choose to characterize this innovator’s art as transcendent, bold, unexpected and fresh.  There are several things going on in her work that have teleportational and transformational qualities.  Her mental scope is undoubtedly very broad and she draws upon this intelligence to touch on several aspects of euphoria, confusion, glee and angst with palpable results.  Some of her images have ‘pop’ traits to them (without the gaudiness) and some have an ancient artisan quality to them that help underscore the amount of selfless time she takes to bring us these vehicles that are well designed for amazing mental journeys.  We really applaud Alejandra and vow to one day own some of her work.

“Ironically the worst critique was also the best – one woman in her 60s …”

Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?

I was born on 11/14/ 1978 in Guadalajara Jalisco – me and my older sister were raised by my dad. As a child I was mostly by myself, I hated being noticed, and remember frequently having dark thoughts; I guess I was a depressed child… when I was 8 years old my dad remarried and my step mom saved my life by caring for us and making us a better family, and when I was eleven my baby brother was born, as I grew up I became more social and loved to dance and loved hanging out with kids older than me. I started painting when I was 15 and just kept on doing it. Now I am a single mother of an 8 year old girl and live in San Miguel De Allende a small town 3 hours north from Mexico City.

How do you describe your form of art and what tools do you primarily use?

I always find it difficult to explain what type of art I make; I guess it is a combination of things I like, like childish lines, street art, sweet/dark images, etc. I guess very much like my own childhood, I sometimes find myself reproducing images that are playful but with a sort of hidden aggression.  My pieces are very spontaneous – I like it when everything is confusing and when I (or people) don’t know if what I drew is a woman or a man or a doll or robot, if it’s laughing or screaming – I think life is full of that confusion as well. Only until recently (2 years ago) have I started to work on series with a more defined concept and less random subjects. Regarding the tools I work with, its mostly cotton paper, s sewing machine, some hand stitching, spray paint, acrylic, pencil and ink.

What does your art mean to you?

It means so many things, sometimes I just want to quit and burn all my pieces because they reflect who I am and I get tired of that, but most of the time they are the most fun I have and when I am done I feel renewed and ready to start again, much like therapy.

Your images have a beautiful distortion to them but always feel as though something profound is being communicated – can you expand on what you want viewers to experience and also how you came up with this unique style?

I am not always aware of what I am trying to say deep down, but there is definitely something going on. I lived many dark episodes as a child and I often find some of that bursting out in some pieces, but what I want the viewer to experience is a wide spectrum that ranges from finding it fun just to watch as well as identifying some of their own darkness and light.

What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?

Ironically the worst critique was also the best – one woman in her 60s approached me a year ago in one of my openings and said, I find repulsive most of your images, they look like they just came out of a nightmare, and yet every time I know you are having a show I feel like I have to come and see it as if there was a coded message hidden that I should decipher. She hugged me and left.

Which artist/s do you look up to the most?

Oh so many!!!  Even the ones I don’t like at all influence me in a way, but if I have to pick my top five would be: Wangechi Mutu, Ghada Amer, Kara Walker, Ellen Gallagher and Marlene Dumas.

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?

Ironically I think that a man defines himself better the less he is worried about being defined.

What is your personal life philosophy?

I have a new one every weekend.

What would you want to be your last meal?

My dad’s Christmas bacalao casserole.

Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?

With any of my top five artists.

What type of music do you listen to (if at all) when working?

I love listening to music!, many styles, I love Perfume Genius, Dark Dark Dark, Nils Frahm, Rodrigo Amarante, Sebastien Schuller, Daniel Johnston, Cocteau Twins, Timber Timbre, Jason Molina, could go on and on….

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?

They can visit my web site and like my Facebook fan page as Alejandra Mendoza Artwork.

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