Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Julio Mejia is an American painter of Latin and European descent. Mejia combines his dynamic lineage and experiences into a richly romantic visual narrative. Reformulating archival pigment, binder, and solvents, he creates a more contemporary and uniquely personal medium.
Visiting South America annually as a child, Mejia enjoyed his family’s lush properties of vineyards and orchards. He always heard stories of his great great grandfather, Prospero Dupre Cazeaux, a French Impressionist Painter who lived on his family’s vineyard. At age two, Mejia's great grandfather, Edgardo Massardo Castellana, of his Italian family, served Julio a tiny glass of wine with water. In this memory, Mejia's relationship with wine began.
Tango, art, grapes and beautiful scenery were always part of life in Chile. But in Peru, navy, business and politics dominated his father's side of the family. With arrangements from Mejia’s uncle, a Peruvian Navy Commander, at 15 Mejia was on a summer-long journey through the Panama Canal and South America.
When Mejia turned 17, he walked with his father to the Honorary Peruvian Consulate in New Orleans to sign up for the military draft in case he was needed at the Falklands War. At that time, Peru was allied to Argentina. This was after registering for Selective Services with the United States, since Julio Mejia has dual nationality.
In his early 20's, Mejia moved to Peru. He worked for the family business and traveled the southern coast of the country. Towards the end of his position at the Embassy of the United States of America in Peru, he told the Colonel, head of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) of the U.S. mission, he always wished he were part of the military. The Colonel sent him to Howard Air Force Base in Panama to train for air mobility command station manager. Working for the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, gave Mejia the experience he longed for and serves as one of the main influences in his artworks.
Creating a life similar to that of his grandparents in Chile, he built his home and studio in the North Georgia Mountains, a harmonious space where he may see and create his vision, with the sound of water falls in the evening and clear skies. When asked about his unique approach of techniques on canvas, he refers to what his grandfather, Gabriel “Chula” Clausi, bandoneonista, composer, and Director of the Argentinian Tango, did with his bandoneon. Chula said he did what he had to do to show all the expression of his tango. Mejia always feels the words Chula wrote were from his heart and the wind through the chambers of his bandoneon was his soul expressing itself. Mejia uses this memory as part of his process.
"Our Family Lineage has such a rich history within the visual arts that I have no choice but to envision the memory and to persevere to reach a certain vision"
Mejia's works are featured in prominent collections and have been exhibited at the Cultural Patrimony of Peru Permanent Collection, Foreign Ministry of Peru; Tubman African-American Museum Permanent Collection, Macon Georgia; Latino Art Museum Permanent Collection, Pomona California; The City College of New York Permanent Collection, New York NY; the permanent collection of the United States Southern Command. The artist currently works and resides in Atlanta Georgia.