Julian Peña (°1985, Okinawa, Japan) creates colorfully vibrant paintings, photographs and installations. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, Peña absorbs the tradition of narrative art into daily practice. The artist demonstrates meticulous and punishing processes, important as an act of meditation. Visual storyteller is an appropriate reference to his works. His use of colors oscillates based on his obsessively open and prismatic palette.
His paintings demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of Post-Modern society. Using serialized avatars that represent very unique traits of the world, narratives of a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit are created. He parodies mass media and popular culture by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance, racism of the past and present, and the information age.
By incorporating aesthetics and decorative techniques from the artist’s cultural heritage (having to spend his early years in his mother land Japan), he uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. By using popular themes such as sexuality, society, family structure and violence, he seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life. Julian Peña currently lives and works in Seattle.