Juan Jimenez: Our Common Future is Blue-Light Bright [Interview]
Take a moment to imagine the future. When you close your eyes, does it look like Star Trek? Or Black Mirror?
Colombian American artist Juan Jimenez—who works under the pseudonym Pincel Galactic—tosses dystopian fears aside, imagining an exhilarating future where technology and humanity join forces. “I created a utopia in which a colorful, diverse, and prosperous environment coexists harmoniously with humans and technology,” he explains. “As opposed to [the] fatalist setting we often see, where destruction, famine, and chaos take place.”
An integral part of NYC’s booming Latinx art scene, Juan draws on a variety of influences to create his buzzy, neon-colored works. Blending elements of Latin American culture, urban modernity, and sci-fi fantasy, Juan creates deep-space scenes showing technology’s potential to enhance culture and tradition instead of replacing it. “[I] was inspired to create a series of works that intersect futurism, third-world traditions, and states of consciousness,” he says of his recent work, which interprets these themes through a glowing, VR-goggled lens.
Stylistically, Juan’s work is influenced by low-brow art: comic books, vintage B-movies, and street art around the world. His carefully rendered portraits also share common ground with Colombian artist Guache’s colorful murals, which combine ancestral imagery with contemporary design.
Imagining the sunny side of progress, Juan’s work asks us to move forward, breathlessly, into the future. As the optimistic artist says, “The future is brighter than what is often depicted.”
In Today's Q+Art Interview…
Juan Jimenez discusses his thoughts on world-ending chaos, why artists need better business savvy, and what the role of analog artwork looks like in a technologically advanced society.
Which books, art-related or otherwise, belong on every artist’s shelf?
Juan Jimenez: A book on finances and business management if you are trying to go pro. If not, I’d suggest human anatomy for the artist.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
JJ: Tough one; I am a fan of so many artists. I think I’d like to meet Alex Grey for dinner—would be an enlightening encounter.
Which cultural concepts, themes, or philosophies inform your work?
JJ: As an immigrant from Colombia, my roots have had an impact in my work. I imagine technology as a tool everyone should have access to, to better manifest our most desired purpose. The future is often depicted as tragic with world-ending chaos, but I believe the future could be prosperous in harmony with nature.
How did living and working in NYC influence your style?
JJ: The cultural exchange one can experience in NYC is a major influence in my work. Having access to so many tools and points of view from so many artists only shapes my perspective to create new work.
What’s behind the use of futurism in your work?
JJ: I have been inspired by sci-fi in the form of comic books and films. A lot of the predicted ideas people were bringing have turned to reality, so is the future a memory we recycle into reality? I wonder how humanity will experience life in the next decades and how technology will shape our interaction with spirituality, our planet, and the cosmos? What role will machines play in society? I try to use these topics as the foundation of my work.
What does the future look like to you? The future of art?
JJ: Art is the most human way of expression. People are realizing its importance, knowing that technology cannot achieve that type of uniqueness. Analog art will always be around to keep us aware of our own existence.
What do you do to maintain your mental health?
JJ: I like to do many types of activities, including exercising, yoga, meditation, and traveling when possible. Being close to nature is always a great way to refresh the soul.
What do you dislike about the art world? How would you change it if you could?
JJ: I think artists deserve better education on how to manage the business side of their career. Half the time, we are aimlessly looking for ways to earn a living without the resources. I would probably create a platform for artists to access and gain knowledge of business and entrepreneurship.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.
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