Reptiles and elongated features: Jose Mendez’s wild illustrations speak to everyday life
The illustrator’s distinctive style incorporates animals and exaggerated features, all the while telling stories that we can all relate to.
- Yaya Azariah Clarke
- 20 July 2023
Sometimes reptilian and other times disproportional, you can always trust that Jose Mendez’s digital canvases will be colourful and decisive. A self-proclaimed “citizen of the world”, and “jumper between illustration and music through DJing”, he is currently based between Barcelona and London, applying his style to commissions and personal work based on the issues of everyday life. “My major creative influences are my trips and adventures around the world and electronic music,” he tells us. And from Paris to London, Berlin to Melbourne and across to Bali, he immerses himself in a plethora of cultures and their visual references for inspiration.
In a piece referencing the LSD trip, there are no bodies and instead a mouth with full teeth and a sticker reading “is it all just a trip”. With many of his illustrations being with brands – Apple, Audi, BBC, Converse, New York Times and more – and having painted a few murals a year, his work seems to translate our flaws, fervour and desires. It's also intrinsically existential and humorous. And although the characters don’t mirror us in looks, they do something even better; they speak to us because of their everyday nature.
Jose Mendez: Galaxy Silk Scarf (Copyright © Jose Mendez)
About the Author
Yaya (they/them) is an editorial assistant at It's Nice That, with a particular interest in Black visual culture. They have previously written for publications such as WePresent, and worked as researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.