Best of Phoenix

Artist Ronnie Ray Mendez Realistically Depicts the Surreal

Best of Phoenix hits newsstands today. In conjunction with this year's Vintage Phoenix theme, New Times is collaborating with R. Pela Contemporary Art to present "Hot Plate!" It's an exhibition of one-of-a-kind, Phoenix-inspired commemorative plates made by local artists. Leading up to the show's Oct. 4 opening, we're profiling each of the contributing artists and visiting their studios. Today: Ronnie Ray Mendez.

Ronnie Ray Mendez might be new to the Valley, but with his love for the absurd we think he'll fit right in. The artist thrives in surreal subject matter; it's not uncommon to see an animal head perched atop a human body in his work. But the craft is just as important as the content for this illustrator. Mendez typically works in pen and ink, creating incredibly detailed drawings with precise stippling and cross-hatching. We literally had to use a magnifying glass to take it all in.

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Katrina Montgomery