Tell us about yourself and how you first got started making art.
My name is Ronnie Ray Mendez and I am a Fine Artist and Illustrator based in Los Angeles. I was raised in Santa Ana, California where I attended Parochial Schools from kinder - high school. I started formal art training at Mater Dei High School and continued in the Fine Arts program at California State University, Fullerton were I graduated with a BA of Communications with a Minor in Fine Arts. My grandmother and a turbulent childhood are accredited for my start in visual art. Outside of school, I spent a great deal of time either alone or with adults. My sketchbook was my friend and means of expression. Throughout my formative years, there was consistent paranormal activity that occurred which still to this day affects my work and how I view the world.  

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Bridging the gap between realism and surrealism, I fuse the human anatomy with the animal world to illustrate the fine line we all walk between reason and raw emotion. Derived from my subconscious visions and turbulent childhood, the characters and settings not only speak of my emotions and experiences but of the human condition at large.

From where do you draw inspiration for your work?
Milk and meat, paranormal experiences from my childhood, my Native American and Spanish culture, Catholicism, Carl Jung, all things good, and all things evil. 

What do you love most about what you do?
The research process and the ability to express what I see in my memories and subconscious. 

Do you engage in, or draw inspiration from, any other forms of art?
Hmmm. I play guitar and write music. Oh yeah, I have started dabbling in Graphic Design which I am thoroughly beginning  to enjoy. I am especially in love with Typography.

Medium of choice?
That's a tough one. At the moment, India ink and my set of quills. I like watercolor as well.

Are there any artists or art movements, past or present, that strongly inform and influence your work?
Although I do not think it is illustrated in my present work, I am highly influenced by the Bauhaus movement. I also have an extreme attraction to Surrealism, the Victorian Period, Gustave Dore, and my current favorite Lori Lipton.

Any previous exhibitions/collaborations that you are particularly proud of?
This will be my first time displaying this new direction. I do however have multiple murals that I have painted throughout the City of Whittier that I am very proud of. 

Why showcase at RAW?
As a former art instructor, I find it an honor to be a part of an organization that promotes and supports the Arts in schools and the community. In conjunction, I look forward to meeting other like minded individuals.

Favorite thing to do outside of your craft?
Eat sushi and howl at the moon.