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JuLian Peña

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Teaching Artist He/Him

"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 allowed me escape from reality - to transform into my own avatar.

This body of work explores 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 maximalist work strives to find new ways of bridging the gap between technology and an art-making practice."


Julian Peña is a Japanese-Dominican-American artist based in Seattle, WA, known for his distinctive fusion of cultural influences in painting and graphic art. Born in Okinawa, Japan, he immigrated to the United States with his mother, eventually earning his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in Seattle.


Peña's artistic signature is a captivating blend of Japanese anime aesthetics and the vibrant color palette inspired by his Dominican roots. His acrylic paintings feature a playful yet intriguing cast of characters, referred to as "avatars," drawing influence from video game storytelling. These canvases come to life with a mix of Japanese decorative techniques, innovative technologies, and modern materials, showcasing a harmonious fusion of tradition and cutting-edge methods.


His narrative-rich artworks often explore themes of identity, inviting viewers to contemplate the multifaceted nature of cultural intersections. Peña's creative journey has been recognized in numerous exhibitions, and he earned the title of "Best Artist" in South Sound Magazine in 2012/2013. His commitment to supporting underrepresented artists is evident in his past ownership and operation of a gallery, accompanied by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.


Julian Peña continues to live and work in Seattle, contributing to the vibrant art scene with his refined and innovative studio practice.

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Acrylic Lab


5/5/2024 Sunday 12-4PM


Acrylic Lab


5/12/2024 Sunday 12-4PM

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