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Roberto Mendoza: Gay, Cuban, Artist, Author & Witch

"How do you begin to tell the tale of a journey that has taken you a lifetime to walk? I was born deep in the Spanish barrios of the Latin mecca known as Hudson County, NJ. I am the son of an immigrant farmer and his wife. I am an artist, an author and a dreamer. Who we are constantly changes, and what we think of ourselves can change from day to moment. I am Roberto, and Azodnem is just my last name spelled backwards."

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~ Roberto Mendoza ~

Roberto Mendoza is a New Jersey based artist and author whose influences include the fantastical, the mythological and the magical. Born into a family of artists, poets, and musicians, he has had the unique fortune of being exposed to the richness of his Cuban heritage from an early age, giving him a very eclectic appreciation of the arts. Since his graduation from the School of Visual Arts as an Illustration major in 1996, Roberto has worked as an art director and designer in both the publishing and advertising industry. He has had the unique fortune of working with several publications including: Lighting&Sound America, Lighting&Sound International, Long-Term Care Interface, Managed Care Interface, Noticias del Mundo, Oui Magazine, PANDORA magazine, Product Management Today, Protocol and The Village Voice. He has also lent his talents and experience to several design studios, gaming companies, publishers, trade associations, and charities, such as: Battle Atlantis Inc., Behind the Scenes, Century Productions Inc., Creative Aspect Inc., Delphi International Inc., DexMedia Inc., Esque Embroidery LLC, ESTA, Idearc Media Corp., Medicom International, PeerMedia Inc., PH Promotions Inc., PLASA North America, SM Health Communications LLC, SuperMedia LLC, Verizon, White Dog Systems LLC and Wolf & Dragon LLC.

In collaboration with fellow artist and long-time friend, Mabelyn Arteaga, Roberto Mendoza co-founded PANDORA magazine in 2001. PANDORA magazine was envisioned as a multi-media, cross-genre art and culture magazine that would uniquely blend art and design, music, dance, film, literature and other forms of artistic expression into one prestige-format publication. As Co-Founder and Executive Director, Roberto wore many hats on this project, including art and editorial direction, graphic design, and marketing. Unfortunately, a lack of sufficient core funding and the national economical climate at the time forced the dream of PANDORA onto a shelf. Even though, both founders may have currently transferred their energies into other personal endeavors, the skill sets and experiences garnered from this venture have proven to be invaluable to them both.

Roberto Mendoza is also an award-winning, freelance illustrator and web designer, in his own right. His artwork and designs have been showcased on several online fantasy and science fiction art forums. Roberto's portfolio ranges from traditional illustration and digital art, CD layout and design, game design and scripting, photography and film developing, to publication layout and design, web development and even theatrical puppet design. A great deal of Roberto Mendoza's artwork is currently available for purchase on a wide selection of products and apparel throughout his online shops. Roberto's artistic and literary talents can often be found finding expression in equal measure. As webmaster of Azodnem.com, he has been showcasing his art, and publishing his own writings and poetry since April of 1998. Roberto Mendoza is currently working on several children's book projects as well as his first, full-length young adult urban fantasy series

"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or
abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again." ~ William Penn

Roberto Mendoza currently lives happily with his husband, their dog,
an occasional ghost and aspirations of grandeur. 

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Roberto Mendoza

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~ "I Have" ~
(Written in 2002)

"Family defines us... doesn’t it? It’s our starting point. We either are a product of our environment, a product of a personal revolt against it, or we walk somewhere in the middle. I think I’m “somewhere in the middle”. I was born in the United States in 1973. I grew up here. I was educated here. I have more freedoms here than I would have had anywhere else, more opportunities, more of a choice and more of a chance for a "happy" life, but I am also Cuban. Many of my people have lost their homes, and left their families behind. My mother has not seen most of her brothers and sisters for over thirty-five years. She will die without ever seeing most of them again. This is not her home. She was not raised here. She came here with my father and my older sister and merely survived, and lived on. My mother loves this country, but like so many first generation immigrants from Cuba, she arrived here with a deep sense of loss already in her heart. After all, "there is no place like home".

So, what defines me? I once thought that I knew that answer. I’ve been stripped to the core, poked at, laughed at, analyzed and criticized. I’ve been placed on a mantle. I’ve been dismissed. I’ve been beaten down, and dragged up. I’ve been spit at. I have laid on the floor, and in a stranger’s bed. I have looked in the mirror and not recognized the face staring back at me. I have loved. I have laughed. I have lived, and I have the power to change my life.

For a long time I was looking for the definition of "me" from other people. Who was I to them? What did I mean to them? Do they need me? Do they love me? I wanted to feel as if I was a part of something. In that illusion, I thought, I would somehow finally find peace and my place in this world. I was wrong. I have gotten up from the floor and put on my socks, my shoes, my shirt, my pants and my dignity. I have put on my pride, and done up my hair. I have walked down the hall, into the bathroom, and cleaned the mirror so its reflection is clear of streaks.

I have opened the door, and walked outside. I have felt the sun on my face and the wind kiss my back sending chills up and down my spine. I have bathed in the river of tomorrow and drank its salty water with an unquenchable greed. I am an artist and a dreamer, and I have always been... beautiful. I am the son of poet nobles and of gypsy kings, and... of gypsy... queens. >fingersnap< I am the warrior-shaman’s last reserve of strength, and of courage, and of hope. I was born on a mountain high above the clouds and I have felt the rain bathe and baptize me a nature’s child before ever opening my eyes to greet her skies. I am wicked, and I am free."

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Roberto Mendoza

Awen

"I am not a quote, or a paraphrase, or a collection of web-pages. Yet, somehow and somewhere hidden deep throughout Azodnem.com are bits and pieces of my soul, that when brought together make the bitter broken half of it."

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R.I.P. Beamer

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