Midtown Artists: A Diamond in the Ruff

By Megan Shippam, SacMidtown.com

The Search for the Perfect Portrait

As my taste for art has evolved, I have begun to seek out the talented artists of Midtown in the search for the perfect portrait. During my search I came across the most beautiful, yet haunting piece I think I’ve laid eyes on.

Awhile back, it was displayed at Centro’s Cocina Mexicana and was affixed in a floating frame in the wall that separates the bar and seating area in the restaurant. The portrait of the “Catrina”, a Mexican Folklore icon, had such an eerie, yet incredibly strong magnetism to it. The piece demanded my attention, so I played Sherlock and investigated whom the owner was.

Enter Juan Raul Mejia, one of the brightest gems of Midtown, who is famous for blending multiple mediums like music, art and entertainment and creating videos of his work.

“I have a bleeding heart for all things living”

As I listened intently, Mejia gave me a glimpse of what it would be like as a surviving artist in Midtown. Very soft spoken by nature, but inherently philosophical in his views about life, art and the simple joy of appreciating beauty. I could see him light up as he mused about his life-long passion. Somehow Mejia is able to look at buildings, vacant spaces or even a hole in a wall (literally) and find a way to fill that space with something aesthetically pleasing.

Humble and a hard working, Mejia understands that money doesn’t grow on trees. As a kid, he was a natural entrepreneur, finding ways to turn his own profit and recruiting friends to start an informal art dealing business.

Mejia said he has been drawing ever since he can remember. His first passion was music and poetry, evolving into painting and video production. Melding art, music and film, he used to spin beats for a traveling art group, working on small canvases and recording his experiences (could you imagine if this was your job??). But Mejia’s passion expands far greater than his talents. “I have a bleeding heart for all things living,” he said after talking about his two stray pets that he rescued.

How Will You Leave Your Mark on the World?

“In Mexico, you never really die after you’re dead…as long as you are still remembered and talked about in some way. You will always live on.” said Mejia, explaining the tradition behind what “La Catrina” means to him.  For him personally, he wants to live on and leave his mark through his artwork. He shared that after a lot of soul-searching he felt he is destined to plant the seeds of art in the community and hopefully one day produce a forest that will he will be remembered by.

Mejia uses art as a way to provoke thought, create beauty and most importantly, share his legacy with the outside world. As Elizabeth Gilbert stated in Eat, Pray, Love, “In a world disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible”

You can find Mejia’s artwork in many galleries around the Grid. However, as of recently he has had one major problem: he sold all of his art! A good problem to have by any artists’ standards, especially in this economy.

You still can catch some of his artwork at Spanglish Art, 905 23rd Street, Midtown Sacramento.

http://www.shopspanglish.com/. For shows, contact Mejia at elpngwn@gmail.com.

To see more of Mejia’s work, check out the videos below.


About Jimmy Spencer

Jimmy Spencer has extensive experience in journalism and new media. As the founding editor of SacMidtown.com, Spencer combines his writing, reporting and editing skills to produce a "pretty good site about midtown." During the day, Spencer covers government and also covers the NBA. At night, he watches T.V. and plays on the Internet. Every now and then, he walks around his midtown neighborhood. Spencer began his professional journalism career with The Sacramento Bee, finishing his tenure with the McClatchy-owned newspaper in the new media department. Spencer moved to Connecticut where he continued his growth in new media as a writer/content producer for NBC Sports. Spencer also worked in media relations with the Sacramento River Cats, Minor League Baseball Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s. Spencer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Sacramento where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The State Hornet campus newspaper. Spencer was raised in Marin County and currently lives in Sacramento, Calif. Spencer works in the community as a high school basketball coach in the Sacramento area.


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Posted by on Feb 1 2012. Filed under Local Art. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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