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Willy Mendes

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Barbara "Willy" Mendes (born January 30, 1948) is an underground cartoonist and fine artist.

She graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York in 1966. During the 1970s, she led a sort of dual artistic life, in which she contributed underground comix whilst also exhibiting her more "serious" art in galleries.

She started her career in underground comix when she joined Trina Robbins and Nancy Kalish on Gothic Blimp Works, a comic tabloid published by underground newspaper the East Village Other. Inspired, Robbins and Mendes worked together on the all-women comic book It Ain't Me Babe, in 1970.

Mendes published Illuminations in 1971, which included some of her psychedelic work. Eventually, Mendes reverted to using the name Barbara Mendes, moved away from comics to painting. She is still running her own gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

In 1980, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Riverside.

Her art often, but not always, displays clear feminist or Judaic themes. These Judaic themes became much more prominent following a transformational experience in 1992, when she painted a mural for a synagogue. Since her early comic work, her style has exuded a duality in which a simple subject has dominated the frame, surrounded by many intricate details which amplify the overall meaning of the work. Her work has been exhibited around the United States.

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