The long arm of the World Wide Web has given artists an opportunity to create, inform, and spread their message and art globally. So when you find an artist who is yet to be published it truly is a treasure, and that is exactly the case with Julian Mendoza.
He’s a Southern California artist that was born and raised in the Los Angeles Harbor/South Bay area, and he’s lived on the same block for well over 50 years. But even deeper than the roots that he’s planted in his neighborhood are the roots that he’s vested in his craft. As a graduate of L.A. Trade Tech back in the ’70s, Julian began working as a commercial artist that specialized in package design, but once his time card was punched and he was back in the comfort of his home, he soon found himself immersed in a world that was dedicated to drawing Bombs, Zoot-Suiters and Pachucas.
If you were to ask him when he first took up the art of drawing, he’ll be the first to let you know that he doesn’t remember, but he’ll be quick to tell you that he first acknowledged his interest in Pachuco stuff while browsing through family albums and seeing the striking images of his father in zoot suits and his mom dressed as a Pachuca.
It was that fascination that ended up giving him a palette of creativity, and years later, after much practice, his work would gain local fame after meeting a lady by the name of Phyllis. This remarkable woman recognized his talents and turned his craft into a career. Almost overnight, his drawings became a famous commodity for ads, tees, flyers and promotional materials. But just as quick as the fame came, he tragically found himself a member of a local correctional facility due to bad decisions.
Yet without dwelling on the mistakes made, Julian was more eager to discuss the fact that his mistakes landed him in the Jim Brown Amer-I-Can program. The program, which is dedicated to helping inmates, soon found that same talent in Julian – as Phyllis had done so earlier – and his art became not only a form of expression, but also tool for educating others. He taught the craft, participated in the program, and once his time was served in the program and he graduated, Julian committed himself to a life of change and reform.
Today, Julian spends a good amount of his time with that same program, and you’ll find him changing lives at school programs as well as prison and youth camps. As for his art, well, the art still remains a huge part of his passion, and he’s gained a cult following of global collectors that treat his piece as they should-and that’s treasured artifacts. He’s an artist for those in the know and a man that is devoted to changing lives but never changing his passion and positive outlook for the lifestyle of Zoot-Suiters and Pachucas.