Meet the Artist: Juan de Dios Mora

Wed, 11/16/2022 - 5:30pm

Juan de Dios Mora will give a short lecture, discuss his works in the JSMA’s collection in an art viewing, and provide commentary about his prints in the exhibition Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea.

About the Artist

Juan de Dios Mora, Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a printmaker, painter, curator, and community activist. He was born in Yahualica, México and in 1998 his family immigrated to the United States. In 2009 Mora completed the Bachelor of Fine Arts and in 2011 he received his Master of Fine Arts, also at UTSA.

His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Amon Carter Museum of American Art; McNay Art Museum; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth; National Museum of American Art, Chicago; El Paso Museum of Art; the Frist Art Museum; Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; and Kyoto Municipal Museum, Japan. Mora’s artworks are found in the collections of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI; National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL; the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Artistic Practice

Mora concentrates in the printmaking technique of relief to create narratives of Mexican American experiences. Life along the U.S. – Mexico border has influenced Mora’s aesthetic and conceptual ideas. In his artworks, Mora portrays hybrid creatures and environments to reflect on the economic, social, political, and cultural milieu of life en la frontera.

In a style that reflects “strategies of autoconstrucción,” or autoconstruction strategies, Mora creates characters that interact with customized vehicles and similar devices, produced through odd juxtapositions and of paradoxical nature, to facilitate daily life, fulfill a variety of responsibilities, and to question normative practices and ideologies. Though ramshackle, decked out, or shabby in appearance, the structure of each machine shows the ingenuity and capability of the characters and their will to survive while simultaneously accomplishing the entertainment of its subjects and viewers alike. As Mora states, “the devices portray the freedom, hope, and style of the crafty owners which will last forever.”