Enrique Mora exhibit

The nationally recognized artist Enrique Mora will be featured at Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra alongside Jennifer J.L. Jones in an exhibition to be opened September 7th. Mora has worked with Stellers Gallery for the past 24 years, and still keeps a gallery in his native city of San Juan, Puerto Rico with his father, a fellow artist. His art is characterized with Caribbean motifs, women figures, and vibrant colors. EU had the opportunity to ask him a few questions before his upcoming exhibition.
EU: How do you feel that being in Jacksonville has contributed to your art?
Enrique Mora: Believe it or not, I started painting in Jacksonville. Even though my father was an artist and I was raised inside of an art gallery, all my life I went to engineering school. I was working in a restaurant as a busboy and next to the specials, they had a chalkboard where I would do a painting every Friday. One evening a gallery owner from Jacksonville asked me if I would put a canvas in his gallery. I had no idea that I wanted to be an artist and soon enough we sold that first painting and I decided to go for it. With my friends, Stellers Gallery, and the beaches, everyone supported me big time and my career went off from there. Jacksonville is the reason why I’m an artist right now.

EU: How do you see that the Jacksonville art community could grow and expand?
EM: Jacksonville really has so much potential. I think in the last 25 years I’ve seen the growth of art be tremendous. There’s always room to grow a little more, but I think they’re doing an excellent job downtown and at the beaches with the Art Walks, it brings a lot of new people to the community. New young generations of artists are sprouting and I think that it is fantastic. I think Jacksonville is on the right path.

EU: Do you keep ties to your Puerto Rican heritage?
EM: I go back and forth every year. But with the last few years, it’s been more international and I’ve been doing a lot of work in California, New York and Houston. I do keep in touch with Puerto Rico, with the culture in South Beach in Miami. That keeps my Caribbean mojo going. Before that, I did a lot of work with Germany, Japan, and France. I was pretty very international until the economic situation went down a little bit.

EU: How would you explain the upcoming show at Stellers?
EM: This new show I’m doing is a different type of artwork; Different in the sense that I am doing a few monochromatic pieces. I’m well known for my Caribbean colors but I have taken on a risk in order to bring to the spectator the Caribbean essence of my background, but in this case I’m using one color. They have come out pretty cool, you feel the Caribbean in it but without the color. I’m also doing a different mother and daughter theme with mermaids; it’s a large piece with a lot of textures. The colors are a little more subtle, before where they were very primary, just the basic colors, these are more mature.

EU: Tell us more about your piece ‘Amore Con Umbrella.’
EM: It’s an idea I had two years ago, I was invited to the Florence Biennale, and I went just to check it out in 2009. There, I saw this very cute couple holding an umbrella, strolling down one of the streets in Florence, and that image just struck me and I had to put it down. It’s an image of daily life that I experienced and had bouncing in my head. It’s a man and a woman under an umbrella. The umbrella could mean the protection, the cooperation, the safety. If you see the two bodies are united, they become one. That’s part of the way I express union and love, when two become one.

EU: Any last words?
EM: I think that Stellers Gallery has done a great job getting some of the younger artists out there. I would like to give them a shout out because they’ve done such a great job with some of the local artists and the old-timers. I think this show will be very interesting because of the combination of an abstract painter and a figurative painter, myself. I think the combination is going to go very well.