By Dr. Ricardo Romo
Juan de Dios Mora is a native of Yahualica, Jalisco, Mexico who emigrated with his family to the United States at age 14. His parents settled in Laredo, Texas where they found employment in the service industries, mainly working in hotels and restaurants. No one in the family spoke English when they arrived in Texas and young Mora started school in ESL classes.
Mora learned English quickly and developed a passion for painting and sports. He participated in track and soccer and his initial goal in life was to become a coach. However, he also excelled in painting and by the time he had completed his degree at Martin High School in Laredo in 2003, he had decided to study art. He enrolled in art classes at Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University. He transferred to The University of Texas at San Antonio [UTSA] in 2007 and enrolled in painting and drawing classes.
Upon completing his UTSA Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2009 with an emphasis in painting, he enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program specializing in
Printmaking. With two degrees from UTSA, he received an offer to teach printmaking in the art department at UTSA as a Senior Lecturer.
Mora concentrates in the relief printmaking technique to create narratives of Mexican-American experiences. Mora credits his experiences living along the border (US and Mexico) with providing an awareness of social and political concepts that heavily influence his artistic, aesthetic and conceptual ideas. Themes reflected in his work include immigration, community life, culture, mythology, and family.
Mora has been included in exhibitions across the United States, Mexico, and Japan. Venues featuring his work include McNay Contemporary Arts Museum; National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX; Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; and Kyoto Municipal Museum, Japan.
Mora’s art prints have been acquired by The University of Texas Austin Benson Latin American Collection, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Oregon; The McNay Contemporary Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; University of Houston Downtown Campus; University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii; National Museum of Mexican
Art, Chicago, Illinois; Saint Phillips’ College, San Antonio, Texas, and The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.