Pop-Up Cafe Installation: Artist Juan Diego

Juan Diego
Escápate / Escape: New painting by artist Juan Diego installed in front of the COVID-closed cafe at the Library's Yampa River entrance

Escápate / Escape

By Juan Diego
chalk paint on slate
pop-up installation for 2020

The artist Juan Diego, 31, lives in Steamboat Springs. He was born in Tabasco, Mexico, and lived in the beachside communities of Cancun and Acapulco before moving to the Rocky Mountains in 2009. The outstanding element that features in Juan’s art is conservation and the environment.

“In my art, animals and humans are one,” he says. He recalls revisiting places from his youth after years of absence, noting nature’s destruction and contamination. “What happens if the animals disappear?” he wonders. “Maybe if people are reminded of these beautiful animals, the destruction will stop.”

Juan’s paintings, which he typically creates in watercolor on canvas, aim to raise consciousness for the planet. “People need to think of the world as their house and take care of it in the same way, for themselves and for their children and grandchildren. You can’t clean one room and trash the next one,” he says. “I want to make something beautiful and make people think about what’s around them, to look to the future and the animals.”

Juan studied the Chinese martial art of Gao Baguazhang for years before he switched to studying Tae Kwan Do two years ago. He practices the Korean martial art regularly at Colorado Mountain College, and had earned a yellow belt by the time he created this project. Juan works at Winona’s and Aurum, and he can be found often enjoying the trails on Emerald Mountain on his mountain bike.

Juan Diego full painting
Juan Diego with his painting installed at the Library cafe