Week 4: Conversation with Artist David De Mendoza

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Last Thursday, I viewed David De Mendoza’s art at the Max L. Gatov Gallery West. His artwork consists of bright, neon colors, contrasted with darker pigments. The subjects in his pictures look 3-dimensional. The sharp lines, shapes, and angles along with the loud colors create a harsher visual. David’s use of lighting in his paintings help in making the figures have scarier shadows on their surface.

David De Mendoza used oil painting as his medium. He only started painting 3 years ago, prior to which he did mostly penwork. He grew up always being good at art, so it was in his comfort zone to choose art as his career, and even step into painting which he wasn’t as familiar with. Horror films served as his inspiration, as he watched them from an early age. Over the course of the summer, he worked on these few pictures, such as the ones pictured above. Several of his paintings are based on fears and nightmares.

To be frank, these paintings really freak me out, which was simultaneously the reason why I was interested in them. They really do serve as the epitome and deity of common fears. It seems that death is a prevalent theme, as there are skulls in both of his paintings. The left photo shows creepy possessed babies puking or spewing out evil spirits, or maybe they had come back from the dead. The photo on the right depicts an enormous spider clown, both of which I am not a huge fan of. When conversing with the artist, he responded with abstract answers, so there was more to interpret as the viewer.

Everyone has something they’re afraid of, and it gets jumbled up into a huge manifestation of horror. I feel that David has illustrated these larger-than-life nightmares that have been exaggerations of our imaginations. It almost seems mythological, like a fantasy folk story that gets passed down generations. These images make me consider the fears that I have, and how I can make them so excessively and unnecessarily bigger than they have to be.

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