UTA artist creates mural at Facebook

Donjuan’s “The Lost Boys” mural created for Facebook offices in California

Friday, Sep 17, 2021 • Devynn Case : Contact

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An assistant professor in art and art history at The University of Texas at Arlington created a mural for the offices of Facebook.

Carlos Donjuan painted “The Lost Boys” at the company’s facility in Fremont, California, earlier this summer. He is among a diverse group of artists from across the country who created art installations inside Facebook workspaces.

“For me, murals have always been a way to share your artistic vision with your community or maybe even in places you’ve never been to,” Donjuan said. “They can be a way to create conversation and conceptual thought behind the piece.”

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Donjuan was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and arrived in Dallas with his family in the summer of 1985. His Illegal Aliens series has been exhibited at major museums and galleries all over the world. The paintings feature masked individuals, often surrounded by surreal characters or unusual landscapes.

“I have a 10-year-old and a 3-year-old,” Donjuan said. “As a child at their age, I remember hearing the term ‘illegal aliens.’ In my mind, I thought they were weird space aliens. Little did I know the term refers to people like me.

“Now with my art, I can turn this negative, derogatory term into positive, visual imagery. In the mural I painted at Facebook, the idea is these children are surrounded by guiding spirits to help them have a safe journey.”

Donjuan began his piece by installing a wood panel and using pencil for a freehand drawing. He then filled in his work with acrylic and latex paint, taking more than a week to complete it. The mural—created in the hallway of an open-concept office space—is meant to energize, inspire and challenge employees.

Donjuan’s graffiti art can be found in Oak Cliff and west Dallas. He has been painting murals for nearly 20 years and said it was an honor to be invited to Facebook. Donjuan encourages his students and others to appreciate the art that is all around—the things you can find on an ordinary walk or during a daily commute.

“I like the impact of murals because it’s not an individual thing where I’m alone in my studio creating a piece,” he said. “It’s for everybody, and it’s a way to build a bridge between communities.”

Over the past decade, Facebook Open Arts has commissioned nearly 900 art projects globally, hosted workshops for more than 75,000 people, created more than 1,000 print and digital designs, and highlighted artists' work in virtually every region of the world.

“Art has been central to Facebook’s company culture since its first office in Palo Alto,” said Tina Vaz, head of Open Arts at Facebook. “Facebook believes that creativity is essential to our collective well-being and that artists are a vital part of a healthy community.”