Raul Urias

Mexican Artist Raul Urias Brings Culturally-Driven Exhibition to This City

Courtesy of Raul Urias.

As a teenager growing up in Chihuahua, Mexico, visual artist Raul Urias dreamed of working for a comic book publisher like Marvel or DC. He said he found his voice through comic art.

“I started drawing because I could do it alone, and it was cheap,” Urias, 35, told Remezcla during a recent interview. “I only needed a pencil.”

Currently living in Mexico City, Urias isn’t sketching the Avengers or the Justice League, although the influence of comic-style illustrations is evident in much of his work. Instead, Urias has created his own worlds, much of it based on his experience living in northern Mexico for the first two decades of his life, but also his time living in Mexico City, where he feels “more connected with the Mexican culture” than ever before.

In his latest solo exhibition, Infinite Human, currently on display at Industry One in Portland, Oregon, Urias “weaves together … a powerful story of human existence—from the cultural roots that shape our identity to the realization that we are the center of our own universe.” Infinite Human is divided into two collections: Arida and Mística Monumental. This is Urias’ first exhibition outside of his home country.

“I think I am part of a new generation of artists from Mexico,” Urias said. “People sometimes think that if you’re a painter from Mexico, you’re inspired by Diego Rivera and all these old-school artists, but that’s not who I am. I am more about design and illustration. I can translate my ideas into several styles.”

In Arida, Urias describes the work as a “poetic journey” through Chihuahua – “from the land’s traditions to its cultural heritage.” He hopes the collection sheds light on the “beauty, resilience, and diversity” of Mexico’s northern landscape.

“I wanted to do my own vision of my hometown and of north Mexico,” Urias said. “I think it has a global language because the south of Texas and the north of Mexico are the same. For me, the flora and fauna, the animals, and the culture are very important.”

Next, Urias considers Mística Monumental an “ethereal body of work” that will guide viewers to “drop the mask, break the ego, and fill the soul” and celebrate what it means to exist in the world. He credits therapy with helping him tap into some of these more complex mindsets.

“I feel very inspired by emotions,” Urias said. “I see the problems we have when we are children and the masks we have in our adult lives. I think all people live with masks. We do what we are expected to do sometimes instead of what we want to do.”

Urias, who also creates commercial work for global brands like Apple, Nike, Google, and Adidas, said he has always been inspired by French artist and cartoonist Jean Giraud, best known by his pseudonym Mœbius. No matter what influences one sees in Urias’ work, he wants viewers to recognize how connected we are to one another—no matter where in the world we are from.

“We are all on the same path,” he said. “Those are the conversations I want people to have. It’s why I do what I do.”

This is the last week you can see Infinite Human at Industry One in Portland. The exhibition will be on display until May 29, 2024. Urias will be on hand during the final week to give guests an immersive experience through his exhibition.