Jose Moreno is a multimedia artist who brings his vibrant, intricate, geometric, one-of-a-kind artwork to all sorts of public spaces like garage doors, utility boxes and buildings in Eureka and participates annually in the Eureka Street Art Festival.
Art was always a part of his life since as long as he could remember, he was always doodling as a young child. He would mimic the characters on both the cartoons he’d watch and the figures on his X-men cards he collected.
Moreno began taking art more seriously when he took art classes in middle and high school. From 2003 to 2007 he attended California College of Arts as a first-generation Illustration student.
“I always had an interest in math and science as well, which is like, they both connect the arts and the sciences and all that, even though people try to separate them, but they’re all kind of connected,” Moreno said.
Along with drawing and painting, he creates ceramics, woodwork and portraits. He gets his inspiration from his current mood, emotions and the energies around him.
“I tend to get the most ideas out of just a pencil and paper or a pen and paper, just like to keep it simple,” Moreno said. “And then from there, if I like an idea, I’ll develop it more into a painting or if it’s like a sculpture. But it always starts out with basics. Tools, like pen on paper.”
Moreno mixes his artistry and Indigenous roots with his current ongoing project; building a Huehuetl, a drum utilized in Danza Azteca. The process is slow, but Moreno said the education and healing that the process provides is just as important as the finished drum.
“This is a larger project so it’s taking longer and it’s more complicated but I’m just sort of taking my time,” Moreno said. “There’s no rush for me to complete it. I’m just sort of taking my pace on it.”
Moreno is currently working as a graphic design artist with CalTrans and does freelance art, specifically murals and was doing donation-based caricature drawings at The Eureka Friday Night Markets.
He was among the group of five local BIPOC artists who painted murals for cultural clubs at Eureka High School in 2022 with the support of “Art Representation Culture,” a collective founded by The Ink People focused on providing cultural representation to local High Schools through art.
Moreno has books of his art for sale on his website. One titled “Wood From My Hood” is a collection of sketches he made from observing trees in his Eureka neighborhood.
Moreno describes his art as “journaling through a visual form.” He feels healing in his art and is driven by what he feels called to do.
“It’s like therapy or just to get out emotions out of my head or ideas,” Moreno said. “Also whatever I’m surrounded with, depending on what environment I’m in or people tends to influence what comes out in the artwork.”
He recommends other creative folks utilize nature therapy. Moreno said, “Getting out into the forest and beach helps to clear your mind, reset and inspire creativity.”