Adding a brush of Mayan to Germantown
Artist makes bright change at La Chimenea

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Jan. 28, 2015

Juan Flores of Milwaukee works on claying a divided section with Jose Garcia at La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant on Thursday evening in Germantown. Flores has worked on the exterior and the interior of La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant to give it a mayan theme.
  
Photo by John Ehlke


GERMANTOWN — International artist Juan Flores is painting La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant to transform it into a Mayan experience one brushstroke and sculpture at a time.

Flores has completed artwork on the patio and is working on the inside of the restaurant, N112W15251 Mequon Road.

The restaurant, owned by Hector Jimenez, serves authentic Mexican cuisine in Germantown and Saukville.

Flores was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and started creating art when he was about 7 years old. By the end of middle school, Flores realized his passion for fine arts and attended a prestigious art school in Mexico, Instituto Nacinal de Bellas Artes (National Institute of the Arts) in Mexico City. There he studied painting, drawing, graphic design, sculpture, carving, serigraph and silk screen.

Jimenez’s brother, Ricardo Jimenez, is a manager and server at La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant in Germantown and said they’ve known Flores for several years.

“I think because we need a little bit change,” Ricardo Jimenez said about why Flores was hired to transform the restaurant.

Flores said five months ago he started painting La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant and he works three hours a day. He’s known Hector Jimenez for about 14 years.

“Many of the people that have restaurants know me and Hector, the owner, already knew I painted restaurants,” Flores said through interpreter Alejandra Vasquez.
 

The painted designs next to tables done by artist Juan Flores at La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant on Thursday evening in Germantown. Flores has worked on the exterior and the interior of La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant to give it a mayan theme.
  
Photo by John Ehlke

Ricardo Jimenez said customers like the artwork and Vasquez, who is also a hostess, said it’s brought more customers to the restaurant and she hopes it will bring more.

Taking a break from painting, Flores described his artwork.

Flores said he started creating sculptures of Mayan hieroglyphics out of concrete and installed them on the walls and columns on the patio.

Three months ago he started working in the dining rooms. One wall of a dining room features an ocean scene with large tropical plants in the Caribbean. On another wall a jaguar is featured with parrots and large plants. Along the bottom of the walls there are sculptures of Mayan hieroglyphics made out of concrete.

Flores also sculpted a snake and the snake’s head holds the restaurant’s menus.

The inspiration for the artwork has been a collaboration between Flores and Hector Jimenez.

“I’ve been fortunate because most of the time it’s what I want to do,” Flores said.

The most enjoyable part of the artwork is creating what he wants, Flores said.

“The person tells me the theme and I just create it,” Flores said.

Flores focuses on painting and sculpting. He uses pastels, watercolors, ink, color pencil, oil and acrylic. He’s produced surrealist style, abstract forms, expressionism, impressionism, realism and landscapes. Flores is also a sculptor and uses plaster, clay, sand, concrete, bronze, fiberglass and ice.

It will be about five to six months before the artwork at La Chimenea Mexican Restaurant is completed, Flores said.