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18thStMural_3Francisco Mendoza was born in Blue Island, Illinois on June 5, 1958.  He grew up around the area of 89th and Commercial Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood, and attended nearby Bowen High School.  After graduating from high school in 1976, he went on to enroll at the Art Institute of Chicago. Francisco was inspired to pursue a career in the fine arts by his older brother, Vincent Mendoza, who was already a painter and muralist in the 1970s.

In 1981, Mendoza took several months off from his studies to visit Spain, Portugal and France.  He explored the art museums of Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Paris to study the works of artists like Velasquez, Goya, Dali and Picasso.  Throughout his travels, Mendoza made quick sketches and simple paintings to capture ideas and insights he made along the way.  These experimental works would later be developed into more elaborate drawings and paintings.  When he returned back home to the United States, his work took a radically new direction in style, reflecting a new artistic language that was uniquely his own.  It was the foundation from which all his future artwork would build upon.

In 1984, Mendoza graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with a bachelor of fine arts degree (BFA) and a certificate in art education, and was then hired as an art teacher at Jose Clemente Orozco Academy (formerly Cooper Upper Cycle School).

For the next 25 years, Mendoza continued his travels to Mexico for inspiration, and participated in exhibitions at public institutions, cultural centers, galleries and museums.  His work would continue to evolve into a unique style of figurative painting, linocut printmaking, mosaics, and outdoor mural projects.

He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April 2010, and passed away on March 12, 2012.

In 2014, a commemorative mosaic-framed plaque was unveiled in his honor at Jose Clemente Orozco Academy through the generous support of Ted and Susan Oppenheimer.

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4 thoughts on “Home

  1. Mr.Mendoza forever in my heart…. Still remember him as if it was yesterday, the passion in his work. He made you love art and everything around it. Graduated from Orozco back in 1996…. But my first job working with him making murals! I will remember him and forever be thankful….

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  2. Mr. Mendoza will always be in the heart of the Quintero family and a staple of Pilsen art. He was my sister’s, my brother’s and my art teacher in Cooper/Orozco. I remember learning about different painting styles and A LOT about Diego and Frida. I can also recall him telling me that my brother and I would be in his movie portraying younger versions of him. Respeto Mr. Mendoza.

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  3. Francisco I miss you soo much my dear friend! I will forever cherish the moments we shared in your studio laughing and painting!!!! You will always live on in soo many hearts!!!!

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