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Alfonso Martinez Mendez was born in Mexico City. At the age of 24 after a three-week long entrance exam, he was admitted to the well-known art school, La Esmeralda, where he studied under such artists as Ernesto Vasquez, Javier Arevalo and Rolando Arjona. In 1984, he won first place in the Academia de Artes. He then found work as an illustrator in the Mexican comic book industry.


In 2007, after 31 years in that field, he took what was to be a short trip to the US but decided to stay in California, one reason being nearly limitless opportunities for artists in the US. He currently dedicates his time to creating in a variety of media. Five of his murals grace the San Bernardino's Inland Career Education Center (second floor). Since coming to Southern California in 2007, Alfonso has exhibited in the San Bernardino County Building, San Bernardino’s Feldhym Library, California State University, San Bernardino, the Ontario Art Museum, the Latino Art Museum of Pomona, the San Bernardino Orange Show (yearly from 2010-2018) where he won 1st place in the open category in 2012 and honorable mention in 2016.  In 2015 he won first place in the annual San Bernardino Art Association exhibit. He is currently exhibiting in Riverside at The Mind and Mill Gallery and at the Riverside County Administrative Center until 2019.

Artist Statement

The white canvas to me is a mysterious genesis, my lovely enemy to defeat, nothingness to face, silence, or emptiness. It’s the necessity to set something on it. It’s like playing an instrument to get the sound, to create an echo from that space that doesn’t want to say anything. All of this sometimes defeats me for an instant, but it makes me fight and I enjoy it more when I win.  

Sometimes it’s a subtle battle; other times it is violent, but that gives me a motive. It’s the impulse to live through the painting. It seems this struggle will never finish. However, I have to set the boundaries, but I don’t have to stop because I don’t want to waste time and energy for other possibilities that will start. It’s just the beginning, and the end, that I have deliciously enjoyed; it’s an endless pleasure.

I like to find that conversation with the canvas to find out its “paths”, its ways to “think”. It is going to ask me what I am going to give it. It’s like a beautiful visual song. When I see it, it reminds me of images, situations, feelings and emotions in my mind. To give some beauty to a piece of canvas is something that makes me happy with life.  

In abstract art, reality isn’t painted. Therefore, abstract art doesn’t express images of that reality. It is another reality, the reality of our interior. Sometimes, for this reason, I would want just one route, a series of paintings painted in the same way. But I get restless with many things in this world. And in this global world I can’t stay with the same style of shapes. I am concerned with textures, blends of color, glazes and geometry. Thus, I always find wonders in abstract art exercises.

The artist creates, but doesn’t destroy.

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