Local Latino/a Artist
of the Month
- Julio "Jwlç" Mendoza -
Julio "Jwlç" Mendoza is a Denver-based painter and muralist born in El Paso TX. He was raised in Ciudad Juárez until he was 11 years old when he came to the United States. Since then, he has lived in the Westwood area of Denver where he has grown artistically thanks to the support of the local community. For Jwlç it is very important to incorporate his motherland roots into his art. He says, “I am who I am because of my Mexican and Latino heritage. Incorporating these things into my art makes my art meaningful to me and I’m sure it’s meaningful to those that can relate as well. I feel it is a gift to get inspired by my own traditions, food, people, and colors, and it’s a blessing to be able to put all these into an art piece and inspire others.”
How do you incorporate your heritage, identity, &/or culture into your work & why?
My heritage, identity, and culture have shaped the style of work I’ve been developing. I’m very inspired by my roots. For me, it only makes sense to express it into my artwork and hopefully inspire others.
Date: October 2020
Location: Dos Luces Brewery, Denver, CO
This mural was created for Restore the Howl Colorado Project and the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project who support the reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado. The wolf is painted with textile patterns from Mexico and Native American cultures to represent the territory of the gray wolf, which includes Colorado. The Rocky Mountains are in the background. The agave plants and corn are used by Dos Luces Brewery to brew their Chicha beer and to make their pulque,
Does your work comment on current social or political issues? How? Why are you choosing to comment on these issues?
Not all of it, but some of my work does comment on social justice issues. As an artist, especially as a muralist, we have a voice that not everyone has. We have public art as a big weapon to speak up about those issues that affect us all but not everyone talks about it. An example of a mural I did commenting on social issues was done for the Street Wise Boulder Mural Festival.
Green Lady Gardens is all about celebrating the joy of color. Address the use of color in your work.
My cultural background definitely influences my use of color when I create. There’s just so much inspiration in Mexican culture, that all those colors give me a sense of happiness. I love to use the combination of the “Rosa Mexicano” and turquoise. They’re so vivid and saturated that it brings happiness not just to me but to others as well.
Mural for StreetWise Mural Festival in Boulder, CO
In this piece, a child is reading about social justice. The purpose is to portray the importance of children learning about social justice issues early in their life. The book titles (LGBTQ Rights, Racial Injustice, Climate Change, and Families Have No Borders) portray recent social justice issues. The last book is a reference to deportation.
The geometric background shapes are Native American motifs. The child is wearing a Tlaloc (Aztec rain God) mask to show their Mexican culture. The cacti represent the unity between Native Americans and Mexicans.
The hummingbird species pictured spends winters in Central America (including Mexico) & summers in North America. They follow the warm weather for survival. The hummingbird represents immigrants that come to the US for a better life and get deported, but return to the US, sometimes for basic survival; Just like the hummingbirds.
Title: El Corazón Del Pueblo
Date: January 2021
Location: San Jerónimo, Guerrero MX
Mural complete with the support of Artístico, Colectiva and the Mexican Cultural Center from Denver. This mural was a gift from my friend Alfonso Meraza to his town. In the mural you can see two African-Mexican kids dressed with topical clothes from the town of San Jerónimo and in the middle you can see a heart as unity of love for of art, culture and traditions. This mural is the beginning for a project to connect and build that artistic bridge between the United States and Mexico.
Title: “The future will either be green or not at all." - Bob Brown
Location: Mississippi Ave and Sheridan Blvd, Denver, CO
This was my very first mural. The mural that started it all and took me over 3 weeks because it was the first time painting on a large scale and I didn't know what I was doing. I also painted the entire thing with a brush and roller because I both didn’t know how to use spray paint and didn't have the money to purchase cans. However, I was proud of the outcome and proud of myself for breaking my fear of painting on a large scale. In the mural, a child is watering colorful mountains. The message I wanted to give the community was to take care of our planet and do it with love!
To purchase & see more of Julio's work, visit:
All images are the property of Julio Mendoza.
Some content may have been edited for clarity.