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Ivan Montoya (b. Chihuahua, Mexico, 1995) is a Detroit-based painter and muralist known for his colorful and expressive works reflecting the Mexican-American diaspora and relationships between people, nature, and the spiritual through folkloric symbolism. Ivan's murals aim to inspire wonder and create a sense of collective harmony with the viewer and the physical space the wall inhabits. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from the College for Creative Studies in 2017 and received the Imre J. Molnar Artistic Achievement Award. He's a recipient of the 2022 Emerging Artist Fellowship supported by the Knight Foundation. His clients include Bedrock, Coca-Cola, and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. Featured in New American Paintings, Seen Magazine, and more, his work is also part of the Guillermo Del Toro Bleak House Collection.


Artist statement 


I create paintings that express the Mexican-American diaspora through folkloric symbolism, exploring the relationships between people, nature, and the spiritual. I use bold color, dynamic lighting, and old word visual motifs combined with contemporary icons to turn allegorical figures into representations of immigrants, their experiences, and memories.Through my murals, I aim to inspire wonder and foster a sense of collective harmony, bridging the viewer with the physical space the wall inhabits. Beyond the works, I am interested in what happens when cultural heritage intersects with effects incidental to assimilation. I look to explore the resulting spark of identity that comes from this friction and what happens when we are forced to change. Why do we choose to let go of certain cultural traits but hold onto others? What stories do we tell ourselves to stay connected to a world that we no longer belong to? I am drawn to the ethereal space between two cultures that is navigated by many but represented by few. 

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