Summer Studios 2015: Jennifer Mendez

My name is Jennifer Mendez. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and I go to the University of St. Thomas. I’ve kind of always been doing art, ever since I could pick up a color. But I got really serious about it after I graduated high school and I got a scholarship to the Western Art Academy, and that's when I kind of realized “Oh, I could be an artist; it's possible.”

My project is focusing on horses. I like to paint horses, and I’m using it as an analogy to problems of gentrification, real estate people building these big lofty houses around here. That makes the people who have been living here, their taxes go up. They can’t afford to keep their houses. People buy that land, buy the homes, and they get destroyed, and the people don’t really care about the historical or cultural significance of that home.

All the kinds of breeds of horses have a history and most of these horses people can’t afford to keep. Especially with the economy and some other factors, and so people they auction them off. So I’m just going to show horses, kind of connect them to their culture, to different cultures, and emphasize their value to kind of connect it to the houses - these houses that have a history and a cultural value too.

About Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a student at University of St. Thomas whose painting focuses on subjects in motion and is informed by the Baroque and Romantic periods. Drawing upon her experiences growing up in Houston, Jennifer plans to create a series of paintings depicting the power of unity and solidarity between Hispanic and African-American communities for mobilizing social change.

About Summer Studios
Summer Studios was developed to provide an opportunity for emerging artists to create and exhibit work that responds to, engages with, and/or is reflective of community. This program is open to seven art students and emerging artists, nominated by professors and selected by a panel of professional artists. Summer Studios is open to artists who are interested in making art in an urban community setting, engaging with the PRH/Third Ward Community and interacting with established Houston-based artists.

Video by PRH Intern Valerio Farris