MEEt The Artist:
My name is Dana Mendes, and I'm a visual artist and teacher based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Originally from New Hampshire, I moved to Worcester where I studied art education in college, becoming a high school art and design teacher in the fall of 2020.
I'd known I wanted to become an artist since a pretty young age; 5th grade actually. I was completing those minute-multiplication quizzes and, not knowing most of the answers, I flipped my paper over and began drawing on the back. Though I'd already developed a curiosity for creating long before this, it was the earliest realization I had that art was a comfort I naturally gravitated to, and wanted more of it.
This best explains my admiration for exploring new artistic media, and the fulfillment I gain from the ones I currently work with: oil paints, watercolors, polymer clay, pottery, and fabrics. I can't just choose one, which is why you'll see a variety in this space.
Beyond this, I ultimately use my work to
visually communicate, educate, challenge, and connect.
Here's my philosophy on each as they pertain to art as a whole:
I believe art is an outward representation of whatever you've got inside you: thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Art is not like, language, for example, where it'll be there whether you choose to speak it or not, but if you choose not to create a piece of work with *that* meaning, *those* colors, or *that* subject matter, it'll never exist. There will there ever be an exact iteration of how you visually communicate your being.
The centre of creating art starts within yourself.
Educate & Challenge:
I've found that there is an intricate relationship between art and history, philosophy, culture, and politics. Art is a reflection of life; a stimulating, wonderfully dangerous tool to guide us in learning more about the world around us. Learning also comes with confronting ideas, behaviors, or patterns that open us to other modes of thinking and being. Art challenges us to learn, unlearn, and learn again.
Art is in everything and is for everyone: making it, viewing it, and seeing yourself in it, too. Art isn't solely about sharpening skills, but building pathways to self-expression, critical thinking, innovation, identity, and a deeper clarity of life. It's a catalyst, giving us opportunities to connect with parts of ourselves - and the parts of other people - that might otherwise be ignored, undeveloped or suppressed. I hope any art you experience allows you, in any capacity, to do just that: connect.
What else you can expect in my work:
Portraits, vibrant colors
and bountiful diversity.
Reflections and translations
of personal experiences.
Single artworks and series
(to keep the conversation going).
Visual spontaneity: my interests shift, and I try new things.