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Check Out Juan de Dios Mora’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Juan de Dios Mora.

Hi Juan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Yahualica, Mexico, and raised on a ranch. In 1998, when I was 14, my family immigrated to the United States where we lived in Laredo, Texas.

Eager to learn more about the arts, I moved to San Antonio. In 2009, I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting and a Master of Fine Arts specializing in Printmaking. In 2001, I acquired both degrees from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

My experiences living along the U.S.-Mexico border provided an awakening of social and political concepts that heavily influenced my artistic, aesthetic, and conceptual ideas. I have been included in exhibitions across the United States, Mexico, and Japan.

Currently, I am working in the art department at UTSA as an Assistant Professor of Art where I teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate art students.

In the next two years, I have exhibitions coming up at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum (Laredo, TX), Museum of East Texas (Lufkin, TX), and Michelson Museum of Art (Marshall, TX).

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. One of my biggest struggles immigrating to the United States at an early age from Mexico was the language barrier.

During my college and university years, I practiced the language with my classmates and professors. It was challenging but the support that I had from everybody allowed me to persevere and succeed.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I started my undergraduate academic career as a painter but eventually adopted printmaking as my main medium of practice. Professionally, I am an artist and professor.

As an artist, I am a master printmaker specializing in multicolor linoleum relief prints. I am well known for my black and white linocuts that portray characters from my community riding customized vehicles.

My main intention is to demonstrate the creative methods Mexican-American working-class people use to survive. Through my work, I am able to share the stories of people from my community and the value of their ingenuity. It is important to me to reflect on these stories in the visual arts.

What’s next?
My plans include continuing my journey as an artist and exhibiting my work in different venues. I plan to work on several new series using different approaches in media and presentation, challenging my current style and process of working to create artwork.

Since I am working with multicolor relief blocks I look forward to working with this technique in a new series of characters living life to the fullest. The main goal is to use colors and compositions in vibrant and energetic ways.

Another series that I have in mind includes visiting border towns in Mexico to meet, interview, and document people’s stories who have been affected by crime and injustices. I want to push my work to extend outside of two dimensions and explore installations that reflect safe settings for the people whose stories I gather.

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