This painting is sort of my inspirational image. "What color is the Wind?" I was fifteen, and a little girl named Debbie who was born blind, who had never seen the color green or the shape of a tree, asked me a question after the wind blew through her long brown hair. "Can you tell me, what color is the wind?". That question just blew my mind because I was just losing my sight then. She woke up my creative sense by asking me that question.
This should not be happening to me, but it is! Or maybe it should be going on with me! Allow me to explain this to you. Something is going on here and it is not exactly clear. I am an artist and a designer. I am also legally blind which gets the best of me from time to time. A couple of months ago, I was approached by Kelly King, Director of ACT which stands for A Children’s Theater. ACT is a theater group located here in my hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico; our state motto is The Land of Enchantment. Kelly told me that her theater group was putting on the play, Alice in wonderland, this march of 2012. This is the year the world is supposedly going to end. So far, it has not ended which I don’t know is a good thing or not depending on your point of view. Anyway, Kelly wanted to use my artwork, paintings and my Wise Tree cotton fabric collection to decorate the set.
The kids range from three to eighteen
and all of them are going to be dressed in shirts, ties, vests, quilt jackets with my colorful designs printed
on them! This has been a very tough year for me and it has just begun! My mother is in ill health and
will not speak to me. Girls who I love, keep breaking my heart. My legs hurt when I walk in the desert
outside of my house. And offers of opportunity don’t seem to go my way. But I want to thank Lewis
Carroll and his wonderful story about Alice. Thank you Lewis and Alice! Both of you have saved the
day and especially for me! I am not the one to lose hope, but I have been heavily tested this year and
I was beginning to have my strong doubts. But then Kelly came along and asked me to paint some
background canvases for the upcoming play. So I agreed. On a windy Saturday afternoon, I painted with
a bunch of talented kids. They were great kids and great painters too! We painted Wise Tree and Far
Away Eyes. Two very famous paintings of mine. By the way, these paintings ranged from eighteen feet
in height and thirty feet in width. These paintings were gigantic even for a blind artist to work on! They
were so large that even I could see them from a distance!
I will be visiting the play in March of this year in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Back to the title, Mendoza in Wonderland. I thought of this title for one simple reason. I live in a dream world and that is why these fantastic things happen to me! I believe that dazzling colors will explode in my darkened world of blindness. Lewis Carroll wrote a great story about Alice. My colorful designs will make his vision even more magical and fascinating. I told the kids that, “Imagination is limitless!” They painted for the next two hours; the most touching wise tree that I have ever seen. Full of color and hope. It was a very happy painting. What else can you ask for? These kids got into it big time! And finally, they painted the most mystical and psychedelic looking eyes I have ever seen in my whole life! These eyes brought tears to my own mystical eyes.
This week marks an exciting step forward for my work in the world of art. Doylene Land, curator of the Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odesa Texas sent me an email and a link. My show Colors of the Wind is now listed at the Smithsonian Affiliate Exhibition Exchange. I sure am grateful to Doylene for all of the hard work to bring my paintings to the larger world.
Colors of the Wind
This exhibition features over fifty figurative and abstract acrylic paintings by New Mexico artist George Mendoza. Colors of the Wind is George Mendoza’s most comprehensive exhibition to date. It includes fabrics created from his designs produced by Westminster Fibers. These works and fabrics embody the creative force of this visionary artist whose work explores the spiritual, mystical, playful, and sometimes darker nuances of the human spirit. See the Ellen Noel Exhibit web page.
The Ellen Noel art museum is a member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliation Program.
Early this spring friend and journalist photographer Bill Faulkner came by for a day to shoot me painting. New Mexico Magazine wanted an article about this crazy son of New Mexico. This feature article was the result. Be sure and see the slide show. They did a wonderful job.
Big show at the Rio Grande Art Galleries Friday, February 5th. Las Cruces is celebrating Art Appreciation month, and one of the popular galleries decided to pick on me. Here are some shots from the opening. It was a blast.
There are some days in your life that you just can't get out of your mind or ever forget. January 9, 2010, was one of those days. I spoke that day to roughly one hundred and twenty five blind students from all over the state of New Mexico. It was very emotional for me since I went to the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped. I was honored to think that they had come to listen to me and my story. After the speech, I invited all of them, and my friends, up on to the stage to touch my paintings and feel my fabric and meet me. I remember feeling very sad when the school buses pulled away. I walked across the street to the Organ Mountain Quilt Shop. Someone told me that this was the first shop in town to offer the complete line of my fabrics. I wanted to check it out. Another great and moving thing happened to me on that day. I walked in and met with Liz who is a wonderful lady. She showed me my first quilt made from my best-selling cotton fabric collection Wise Tree. I could not believe it! It was wonderful and beautiful beyond words! I hope you enjoy looking at this colorful quilt on my web site as much as I did holding it in my hands!
Las Cruces only has one local TV station, KRWG TV which is a Public Television affiliate with a student produced news segment. We get our network news out of El Paso Texas. On October 9th, KVIA showed up to video a story on me. I really like it. Here it is.
So all hell has broken loose, in the sort of way that hell breaks loose in the crafts and quilting communities. These days when you search Google for George Mendoza, press releases about a new line of fabrics come right to the top of the list.
This week, Las Cruces City Council member Dolores Conner offered a resolution that the city of Las Cruces honor George's achievement. So, on Monday, September 21st at 1 pm, that is where I was. First week of September, Joyce Robertson of Westminster Fibers in Charlotte, NC kicked into high gear and shipped samples of all of my fabrics to me - practically the minute they came off the boat from Korea. Last Saturday she shipped me a necktie made from one of the patterns being launched in October. Thanks Joyce!
So I was all set for the City Council meeting on Monday. Tokind gave me a ride down there and took pictures and video. Here it is.
Westminster Fibers, through its Free Spirit brand, will launch our premiere textile collection at the October Quilt Market in Houston. The company selected 3 of George Mendoza's paintings and we had Darci spin out coordinates to complete the line. I'll be in Houston for the line launch to enlarge our circle of love among quilt shop owners and quilters". --Ketra Oberlander firstname.lastname@example.org
Art of Possibility® Studios exclusively represents physically disabled artists via license to manufacturers interested in connecting with consumers on a meaningful level and with cause-oriented programs at retail.
George Mendoza, an artist and author who lives in Las Cruces, NM. is available for interview. Please call 575-522-1074 or email email@example.com.
George Mendoza signs with the Art of Possibility Studios for exclusive representation of his art to licensees. An author, athlete, artist, and motivational speaker declared to be a state treasure by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Mendoza's work has touched millions of lives through a rigorous gallery show career and numerous appearances.
The PBS documentaries "The George Mendoza Story", narrated by Robert Duvall (1989); and more recently "Vision of the Soul - The George Mendoza Story" (2006) chronicle this accomplished man's life despite his blindness from macular degeneration as a teen. William Buchanan's book, "Running toward the Light" chronicled Mendoza's vision loss.
Mendoza has written three books: A Vision of Courage, The Spirit Man Trilogy, and Cup of All Good Things.
Hal Marcus Gallery Exhibit - September 6th through October 5th, 2007
The Hal Marcus Gallery, 800 N. Mesa #100, El Paso, Texas.
George Mendoza, a legally blind painter
and visionary artist, has been haunted for many years by a question
asked of him by a little blind girl, "What color is the wind?"
In this one man show, Mr. Mendoza answers the question by exploring the colors of the wind with his abstract paintings.
Reception: Thursday September 6, 6-9pm
Gallery Talk: Thursday September 20, 7pm
On display through Friday October 5, 2007
Call (915) 533-9090 for information.
The art show - 3/22/05
At the Loveland Art Museum Aug. 26 – Oct. 15, 2006
The George Mendoza Story - 1/20/05
This is a story of a man who is an athlete, a painter, and a writer. A man who is full of life. A man with a vision but not sight.
The thirty minute documentary of George Mendoza will begin with a poignant glimpse into his childhood… the shattering moment when the child's future was altered, when the child and mother discover the loss of George's sight. George will narrate, giving a true insight to this shaking moment in his life.
The story will continue on, breathing life into George's journey into adulthood. The story will be told through friends and relatives. But most importantly, told through George's mother who has been by his side since the dawn of his darkness. George will recount his life, his fears, his hopes, his gifts. George will prove that a man who is limited in vision, is not limited in life. He will run, he will paint, he will write, he will inspire.
Through interviews, stories, photographs, art, and memories, these thirty minutes will paint the story of George Mendoza and emblazon the idea that true vision does not come from one's eyes, it comes from one's soul. And that this vision is limitless and fearless.
Vision of the Soul: The George Mendoza Story is a compelling documentary that tells the life story of George Mendoza who was a promising high school athlete when he was stricken with a rare eye disease that left him legally blind. Suddenly faced with the terror of darkness and disability, George turned his fears and stubborn determination into a full life of remarkable accomplishments-Olympic runner, writer, artist, and motivational speaker to corporate, non-profit, and school audiences nationwide. The documentary weaves together historical footage and contemporary location footage with interviews of friends, family, and mentors to show George's unique inner vision and inspiring life philosophy.
The target audience for the film is Latino teens and families throughout the US who need positive role models and motivation to overcome life's setbacks in a culture that glorifies quick materialistic rewards and superficial celebrity. Many Latino teens are at risk students who drop out of school and turn to gangs, drugs, and other self-destructive behaviors seeking self-esteem and status. This film will help youth and adults think about the positive tools they have within themselves to overcome life's hardships and achieve. With its universal themes, this film will also appeal to general audiences of youth and adults nationwide.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson recently issued a proclamation celebrating George Mendoza's upcoming art show. In it, the Governor recognizes George Mendoza "first and foremost for his art which touches our hearts and reaches deep into the souls of all New Mexicans". Vision of the Soul: The George Mendoza Story examines the life journey and artistic work of this man who inspires so many people with his positive inner vision of the world and drive to achieve despite his near blindness.
George Mendoza grew up in Long Island, New York in the early sixties. An active boy with a creative streak, he loved the beach, running sports, kept a journal, and painted in art class. His outgoing way attracted many friends and he was always involved in school and social activities. George's future seemed bright as he grew into a promising teenage athlete.
Without warning, George was stricken with a crippling, rare eye disease that left him legally blind, in an inner world of shadows, bright colors, and unending patterns. Sheer terror, anger, and hopelessness gripped George as he contemplated a future of dependency and disability. This traumatic assault on his life sent him into seclusion. He was suddenly different and his future plans were washed away like a sand castle. Darkness loomed.
Yet George's determination and heart would see him through the darkness. Using his disability as a vessel, George Mendoza becomes a candle in a dark room, opening the eyes of others, as he himself finds NEW ways to see the world.
He set out to not only succeed in his own life, but help others along the way. George fought tremendous obstacles, and became a beacon for all those who felt were undermined by fate. He became distinguished painter, an Olympic runner, an inspirational painter, a published writer, and MOST OF ALL, a man who was not defined by his limitations but by his achievements. George continues to grow and glow, continues to prove that he has a unique inner vision.
Our goal is to produce a documentary about George Mendoza's journey to harness his inner vision and share it with others in his paintings and other creative works. The project will be a meaningful success if it reveals George's inner spirit, shows his humor, encourages others to move forward with boldness and passion.
The documentary begins with George at his one man show of 30 paintings at the International Art Museum in El Paso,TX. This event shows George surrounded by attendees and his paintings with close ups of several paintings and George chatting about his work. Only a wry comment informs the viewer that George is nearly blind.
George always mentions how he can look at his paintings and remember his place at the time. Big eyes watching and on the lookout. Big suns spreading energy and lightness. Large romantic sunflowers and roses. Dark landscapes filled with foreboding. Each painting is a snapshot of George's inner view of the outer world. The balance of the film presents several of George's paintings in detail with appropriate location footage and narration, interviews of family and friends and commentary from George. The program ends with George musing about all of the ideas he has for his next paintings, books, and shows.
Vision of the Soul: The George Mendoza Story speaks to several universal themes that will attract viewers of all ages. One is the cycle of promise, death and rebirth that is mirrored in George's life story. The second is the unshakable potential of the human spirit to face fear and trauma head on and thrive in new ways. The third is an intimate exploration of how art is an expression of the soul's perception of life and the world, the irony in this case being the artist has lost his physical sight.
For Immediate Release: 7/05/05
INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART SHOWCASES GEORGE MENDOZA
El Paso, TX. The International Museum of Art will premier 38 acrylic works by George Mendoza beginning August 4, 2005. The show will continue through September 3, 2005.
"Vision of the Soul" is George Mendoza's most comprehensive show and features works that reveal the moods and creative journey of this remarkable man. George Mendoza suffered from a crippling eye disease as a young teenager which left him legally blind. He has gone on to become an Olympic runner, published writer, motivational speaker, and artist. "I was young when I was disabled", says George Mendoza." It was a horrible time, but I learned I loved to run and paint. These things became my lifeline to accomplish so many things and surround myself with people who encouraged me."
"Vision of the Soul" has been applauded by First Lady Laura Bush and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as a major event in the borderland and a testimony to George Mendoza's ability to see the world and its complexities from the soul out.
For tickets and information concerning group sales, contact the
International Museum of Art, 1211 Montana Avenue, El Paso,
Texas, 79902-5511. Phone: 915-543-6747. Visit the Museum's web
site for a 10 percent off coupon for the Museum's gift shop:
http://www.intlmuseumofart.com/ To preview the show on the Internet, visit the web site: http://www.visionofthesoul.org/ For interviews, contact George Mendoza at 575-522-1074.
July 5th, 2005
The coming issue of Panorama Magazine will feature an interview about Vision of the Soul. Today I did an interview with Jeff Burg of the magazine Desert Exposure. He tells me that my painting Coffee in the Morning will appear on the cover of the August issue of Desert Exposure. Several New Mexico newspapers have asked him about this story.
Governor Richardson's office contacted me recently to discuss the coming Vision of the Soul show (see below,) and proposing an annual George Mendoza Day in the State of New Mexico. They would like to honor me for my work and for my contributions to the citizens of the Land of Enchantment. This is a very exciting surprise. The proclamation passed the New Mexico legislature. The wheels are in motion.
I have selected thirty-eight of my paintings to be exhibited in Vision of the Soul to open at the International Museum of Art in El Paso, Texas on August 4th, 2005. The premiere will be from 5:30 - 7:30 pm on Thursday, August 4th. Here is the web site, www.visionofthesoul.org.
for the upcoming re-release of Running Toward the Light. The University of New Mexico Press has decided to print a new edition of the book. UNM Press is a prestigious publisher and this this is an exciting rebirth of the book. I understand that the book will appear in the original form. I am doing a painting to be the basis of the book cover and of promotional posters. The book will include a link to this web site.
Copyright © 2004-2010 by George Mendoza.
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