Puerto Rico-based artist Jason Mena appropriates popular marketing tools, such as billboard and aerial advertising, to influence the way we perceive our surroundings. Mena uses these communication platforms to promote new ideas and provoke critical thought by inserting carefully chosen text where a company’s logo or catch phrase is typically seen. In doing this, the artist draws our attention to our passive consumption of visual imagery generated by branding, and subverts this persuasion to consume.
During the 2008 Bacardi Artisan Fair, Mena arranged to have an airplane flying overhead and trailing a banner with the powerful text TODO ES MENTIRA, which translates to “it’s all lies.” The flight lasted approximately thirty minutes and took place over the Castano distillery in Puerto Rico where it was seen by a crowd of over 117,000 people. The somber tone of the banner is coupled with a certain ambiguity, allowing the viewer to attribute his/her own meaning. The artist has also used this phrase on billboards, thus challenging advertising’s imposition on our subconscious.
Mena was born in New York in 1974 and received his B.F.A. from the Escuela De Artes Plasticas De San Juan in Puerto Rico, where he currently lives and works. The artist has had a solo show at Sagrado Corazon University’s Salon de las Artes in Puerto Rico and was nominated for the Emerging Artists Brugal ARCO Madrid 09 Acquisition Award.