Juana Medina first relocated to DC nine years ago from Colombia and was immediately attracted to Dupont Circle. What she didn’t know in 2002 was that it would have a huge influence on a new part of her life.
While waiting for her physiotherapist professional title to be validated, Medina started taking classes at Georgetown University which later lead her to change paths and start her studies in Graphic Design at DC’s Corcoran College of Art+Design and continue at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
While Medina knew she had a talent for drawing, it was the inspiration she found in Dupont Circle that encouraged her to attend art school.
“The Circle, the people, the buildings, their roofs, the lines and patterns of movement are everywhere in my art and my illustrations, ” Medina said.
At Corcoran and RISD she discovered tools and ways to express her art. She even became a faculty member at RISD and now, being back in the DC area, she teaches at the Corcoran.
Medina was born into family where everyone knew how to draw. So it wasn’t until later that she discovered that she had a true artistic gift — and that not everyone could draw well as her. But, Medina was also interested in the human body, and the way it moves and expresses itself — hence her first career as a physiotherapist.
“To have a gift implies that you have to be disciplined at making it better every day. Drawing makes you watch people, makes you draw all the time. But it is also important to know what is out there in terms of styles,” Medina said. She describes her drawing style as “cartoony.”
“You have to just your style flow. Style just happens… but it is nourished by everything and every day. It is also a matter of the tools you use to convey your art. Even the type of paper on which you draw influences your art,” Medina said.
Medina’s work has appeared from exhibitions in Colombia to Jumbo Tron screens in New York’s Times Square. She has also illustrated books for Random House, Alfaguara Editores, Texas University Press and Editorial Norma. Medina’s work has been awarded by the National Cartoonists Society and is a contributor for the Cartoon Movement, based in Holland.
Juana likes to think of her art as a celebration of the human body as a means of expression. There is a possibility of being genuine without being rigid. Her projects are always personal and her sketch book goes with her all the time being a constant source of inspiration.