Love and Art: Zach & Lily Mendoza
Studio visit with newly weds Lily and Zach Mendoza
Often when you try to remember things, they come in pieces the further back you try to reach in your mind. Even going back a month, let alone a week, details get lost or changed. The common thread between Lily and Zach Mendoza in their art is that they both explore the semantics of memory. The missing gaps are opportunities the Mendozas use to their advantage and the blank spaces are used as design strategy in their work.
I had to ask, "Has marriage affected your art?"
"Not yet!" Lily laughs as I set the recorder up.
Lily Mendoza is a multidisciplinary artist. She uses her sensibility as a graphic designer to elevate her illustrations. When I look at her art work, I feel like I'm looking at someone's diary. It's a balance of wandering thoughts and storytelling. As fan of Hayao Miyazaki, Lily incorporates a manga influenced style in her art. She uses acrylic ink, watercolor and pens that get real tiny depending on what kind of illustration she's working on. Her line work is playful and like Miyazaki, her art has so much soul and beauty to it.
Her parents are from Taiwan and she grew up in China. At 7 years old Lily moved to China and then to California to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, it wasn't much of a culture shock because there was so much diversity. What was different for her was having her driver's license and being able to drive herself where ever she pleased. In her high school years back in China, she would be at school Monday to Friday and then would come home on weekends.
I ask her what her advice is to other artists and she says, "Once you graduate, you might not get the job you really like, but you’re also searching for what you really like. Anything you do in between will help you. Just keep working toward the future."
"Just let your work be seen. You never know who is gonna walk in and see it."
If Lily's art is an exacto knife, Zach's can be describe as a ball peen hammer. His work is inspired by Goya and can be as brutal in nature as Francis Bacon. His portraits are fragmented and full of emotional intensity. It's delightfully flippant, violent and silly all at the same time. Zach's work achieves what a lot of artists find difficult to temper which is capturing expressiveness in his portraiture while not being too precious about it.
He says that one challenge he faces is time. "It’s exhilarating when you feel you’re working on something and maximizing the time you have with it. Consistency leads to more and more ideas and exploration."
"Apply to as many openings as you can and get your work out there. Don’t discriminate against as far as where you show, just let your work be seen. You never know who is gonna walk in and see it. It’s lead to many relationships and its made things happen for me."
When I ask for his secret to success, he says that good old fashioned hard work is crucial and to keep learning, and improving your craft. It may not be glamorous, but it takes diligence to reap the rewards like his upcoming solo show at the California Fine Arts Exhibition Gallery located at 207 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701 on Saturday July 1 6PM-11PM.