The FoodArt Collection is pleased to present Feast or Famine with new art from Julian Peña. Peña's playful characters flirt with the subtexts of food to sustain not only themselves but a whole utopia. Dive into a menagerie of edible avatars suspended in rich surfaces that invite escapism.



Artist Statement


Nostalgia compels me to make art with a cast of psychedelic, eccentric, grotesque, and cute characters I call avatars. Watching anime and playing video games brought me escape from reality to transform into my own avatar. These cartoon-like qualities that were influenced by anime and Saturday morning cartoons are intended to create doubts of reality as to what’s computer-generated and what's hand-drawn.  

This body of work will explore the association of foods with emojis, gender, and sexuality. Using Photoshop and Illustrator, I create a digital composite to illustrate the intended narrative, then I block in layers of color on canvas. To achieve a more graphic line work I utilize screen-printing and ornamental surface techniques that offer textures and light-play. Many artworks even include the application of gold leaf and dry special effect pigments. My work strives to find new ways of bridging the gap between technology and an art-making practice. 


Artist Bio

Julian Peña is a Japanese-Dominican-American painter and graphic artist. Peña was born in Okinawa, Japan and immigrated with his mother to the United States. He received his Bachelors of Art at University of Washington in Seattle.


Peña is best known for his signature style influenced by anime and Dominican art and his playful yet menacing acrylic paintings with decorative techniques using innovative tech. Prevalent narratives include themes of identity, while casting eccentric avatars inspired by video game culture.


Peña has shown in numerous exhibitions, was voted “Best Artist of South Sound Magazine” in 2013, and participated in Collaborate/Create’s residency. Until very recently Peña owned and operated a gallery that supported underrepresented artists through his 501c3 nonprofit.


Peña lives and works in Seattle, WA.


Instagram: @jpenastudio

Facebook: Julian Peña Studio

Twitter: jpenastudio