The New American Paintings Reader’s Choice Winner Is…

Over 2,000 of you voted and selected Carlos Daniel Donjuan as New American Paintings Reader’s Choice Artist of 2013. Congratulations Carlos!

As this year’s winner, Donjuan will receive $500 in cash from New American Paintings and $1000 in gift certificates to our annual prize sponsor Dick Blick Art Materials.

After the jump learn more about the winner!

Carlos Daniel Donjuan’s paintings evince both the raw energy of his street art beginnings and the refinement of his academic training. The combination is potent. Donjuan’s work deals with the idea of illegal aliens, and, in a broader sense, with the condition of alienation in contemporary culture. Born in Mexico and raised in the United States, during his childhood Donjuan slowly began to perceive his outsider status. His current paintings are fueled by that realization and the negativity it engendered. In them, a variety of figures—some human, some animal, and some hybrid—engage in a journey toward a better life.

“My current body of work deals with the idea of illegal aliens. As a kid, I remember hearing the term and not knowing what it meant. I always wondered what everyone was talking about and imagined weird creatures. I wanted to know what they looked like and wanted to meet one. As I got older, I figured out that people were talking about me. I wasn’t much different from everyone else except for the fact that I was born on the other side of a border. It was a little heartbreaking, I guess, but I used the negativity to fuel my work. Now, as an adult, I’ve revisited the idea of what I used to think an illegal alien looked like. I’ve started to revisit and interpret those childhood memories in my paintings. So now you find masked figures, hybrid animal people, pyramids, and blob creatures that represent aliens who are on a journey to a better life.” – Carlos Daniel Donjuan, 2013

Photo by: Noe Montes

Donjuan is now a Senior Lecturer Professor at The University of Texas at Arlington and head of the Drawing Department. He was recently awarded a grant to complete a large scale mural for The City of Dallas. Upcoming solo exhibitions include “Borders,” at Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea in Milan, and “Let Me Be your Favorite Nightmare,” at Kirk Hoper Fine Art, Dallas, Texas.

Read an interview New American Paintings conducted with Carlos in 2011.

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