● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
There are several things you can do in life to make your community a better place to live. One is to give back...
for example, give something that you create to your neighbors. And that is what Lincoln artist Daniel Mendoza does every single day. He believes in saving the planet with his “green” art and supporting his birthplace, Placer Valley, by donating his work to various organizations.
Nobel Prize winner and author George Bernard Shaw once said, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” That pretty much sums up what Mendoza has been doing all along. “I donate all of my work,” Mendoza says, “so I work on my own terms and don’t have to cater to anyone.”
Mendoza is passionate about saving our home, the planet. His mantra is: Recycle, reuse, reduce. Since he does not make any money on his pieces, he relies on his skills as a scavenger to get materials. “I use anything I can find,” he admits. His pieces are painted on discarded wood scraps, canvas and other materials. “I buy the rejected paints from local home improvement stores,” he says. He uses the available colors as his inspiration. His wife Shannen serves as his artistic director and helps him choose the different shades for pieces. “She has a great eye for color,” he says.
To help bring more money into his community, Mendoza participates in several fundraisers by donating his artwork for sale or auction. Some of his favorites are the Earth Day events each April. He also contributes his paintings to chamber of commerce events in Lincoln and Roseville, as well as the Roseville Arts organization, and local library shows.
Mendoza has studied in such diverse locations as Mexico, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. “Being there gave me the opportunity to expand my creativity,” he says. And this vision can be seen in his “Flower” series. These large paintings, with various color tones and wonderfully expressive splashes of design are brilliant. Mendoza also says he admires the Master Jean Michel Basquiat and looks to him for inspiration. “He was one of the first artists,” says Mendoza, “to use stuff that was just lying around.”
Roseville Library’s Lesli Goto first met Mendoza three years ago when she encouraged the library to participate in the Third Saturday Art Tours downtown. “His work is edgy and has a fun sense of humor about it,” Goto shares, “and he is very giving.” Mendoza contributed to the first show and has ever since. Last year he donated one of his works to be auctioned to raise money for the newly formed Roseville Library Foundation. The Foundation funds book purchases and educational classes in the community.