The art was born out of curiosity and a desire to share something he couldn’t put down in words.
“It’s a way to express what I can’t say or write. I’m terrible at writing. This is speaking with color,” said Jamir Mejía, a 31-year-old painter from Granada.
His dark-colored oil paintings are a blend of styles – free, abstract, surrealist and impressionistic. They’re expressions that “many see as a dream, but can be feeling or a series of tendencies,” he said.
But Mejía refuses to identify himself with only one style.
“I don’t want to close myself in saying I’m a surrealist or just an impressionist,” he said.
The sixth of seven siblings, Mejía began experimenting with paint at the age of 14. Around that time, his father moved to Miami, Florida, to find work as a tailor and better support his family. Art became Mejía’s way of dealing with his dad’s exit.
He said his mother supported his painting with an enthusiasm that surprised him.
“It’s strange,” he said.“Despite the fact that being an artist is kind of taboo here, despite the fact she had such little education, her excitement about my paintings was sometimes greater than my own.”
Today, Mejía works out of Casa de los Tres Mundos, Granada’s cultural center. Tres Mundos provides a workshop for him and two other resident painters, as well as a place to display and sell their work. The artists supply their own paint, brushes and canvas.