Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Jose Mendez and I am an artist originally from Spain. I work with diverse media. Coming from a background in graffiti and graphic design, I stepped into the world of illustration to make a career.
I create art with a particular language, bringing in themes that concern me or trigger something in me.
How would you describe your visual style? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I think it is flat, bold, with a meaning behind everything. Every sign, or object represents something. It’s humorous but sometimes finds a bit of darkness. It says something and is colorful and distinctive.
I draw inspiration from personal experiences, places I travel to, record covers, the energy of places and spaces, and color combinations I see in everyday life.
How have you been doing the past couple of months?
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions and definitely a challenging time. I just moved to Barcelona the day right before the lockdown happened. In the last two months, I’ve been trying to get busy making a series of paintings, doing some commercials, and spending a lot of time mixing music.
Have you been working on anything in particular?
Yes, I started on some series of paintings, making some prints, and working on some commercial projects for animation and some products.
What’s your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?
In terms of commercial work, I really enjoyed the animated installation I created across the biggest airports in Russia. This project was for Audi.
In terms of personal work, I just really love to paint big murals in general, it’s really gratifying.
What’s your process when making work for a client? How do you balance their needs while allowing room for your instincts and vision?
I usually start sketches with some ideas, bringing concepts together, I always trying to communicate something. After some time I find some idea/drawing that has some potential to be good. I’ll develop it and present it to the client. There might be changes at this stage, if not, I go ahead and put color to the artwork and present that to the client. There might be some round/rounds of changes in the color choice, then once reviews are complete I deliver the final artwork.
Sometimes it’s hard to put all your soul and what you really want to tell into a project. I think I have a clear vision of what I like and how to translate my language for the project needs. After years of working, I have come to understand that it’s just commercial work, and it’s best to remind yourself that you are developing the ideas of a client with your style. If I want to make something that truly fulfills my need for free artistic expression, I just do some personal work.
How did you prepare to make your most recent mural on a van in Berlin, after having spent so much time working small-scale?
It was just a really spontaneous thing. I flew to Berlin and my friends told me there was this food truck that a guy wanted to get painted. So I just made some sketches the day before and painted a side of the van and my friend painted the other side. It was a great fun painting outside after the lockdown.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
I’d really love to collaborate with some electronic music artists, like creating a music-visual experience.
What’s it like to live and work in London after spending time previously in Madrid and Paris?
Living in London has given me the perspective of working with a worldwide vision, set the standards for high-quality work. Artists in London have to work hard to make it, as there’s a lot of competition and a lot of the best artists come here to build their careers.
What is one of the best and/or worst reactions you’ve received as a result of your work?
Probably one of the worst was a few weeks ago when I was painting the food truck. A German lady came by and said, “what you do is rubbish. You could do better and jump from a bridge,” it was cruel but funny at the same time.
One of the best reactions was to hear that because of my work someone started making art.
What are you looking forward to?
I can’t wait to head back to Bali where I spend about 4 months a year to connect with nature, the ocean, and surf.