By Gy Mirano
When Peruvian artist Julio Granados was last in Lima he received a call from New York confirming he had been selected to paint a mural in the heart of Manhattan. The honor had been a long time coming and well-deserved. It is a joy to view his work—which is lyrical, lighthearted, and full of well-defined beauty and perfection. He is also a superb, inventive craftsman and graphic designer. The commission to paint a mural at the latest hotel introduced by the Fortuna Realty Group (Hotel Hendricks, 25 West 38th Street) was a thrill, and a dream project as it allowed for creative freedom.
Julio was a child living in the scenic mountains of Perú in Mantaro when he saw his grandmother, an embroidery teacher, deftly working with multi-colored threads. Inspired by her, and the pristine nature around him, he started to draw on a natural impulse. It was then that he felt his calling. He had talent, and then some. As an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and creative thinker, the task of creating a concept and executing a mural was an interesting challenge for Julio: a larger canvas, weather challenges, and the fast-approaching opening day were all considerations. Coming back to New York was also a chance to excel and to create a special homage to Latin American culture in the heart of an American city known for its iconic and massive beauty. And that is what he did.
The request from Hotel Hendricks was simple but daunting: to paint two murals with a Peruvian theme. That was it. No details. No specifics (except for a precise color palette.) Why Perú? This was not explained either. Perhaps it was the power of the Peruvian mystique at work, along with a blank canvas and a good idea—a mural with a Peruvian theme; Julio ran with it. In the process he discovered that painting murals was a great medium which offered expansiveness for his work.
One hot June afternoon, as Julio worked on the murals, I stopped by to observe him at work. He greeted me wearing a fetching hat decorated with furry tiny cat’s faces. Forever the rock star! After recovering from such a whimsical and bewitching hat (I wanted one!) my attention was drawn again to the hotel, where one could feel the buzz and excitement of a new project coming to life. Attentive staff took us up in elevators still filled with construction materials.
It had been raining tropical rains, then sun, then rain again. The artist had been hard at work under the moods of the smoldering New York summer, sitting, standing, perched on a tall ladder, crouching on the floor, zeroing in on each detail. He hand-painted, with great precision and speed, one firm stroke after another as images and details emerged. Copper, blue, gold, and white took over my senses.
Julio knew that the mystic Moche designs, full of symbolisms, would propel him and inspire him toward a new vision. His festive, brilliant and energetic designs now accompany the spectacular views at the rooftop bar where giant hand-blown glass chandeliers and his Moche-themed murals stand resplendent amidst the lush greenery, water fountains, and twinkles from the Empire State Building.
Julio Granados’s website is https://www.juliogranados.com.
Gy Mirano is a New York actress, voice-over artist, and arts advocate. Go to