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Visual Arts

McDonald’s Asks Artist Dora Reynosa to Highlight Her Community Through Ritmo y Color

The muralist beams with pride in her Mexican roots through a partnership with McDonald’s that elevates urban Latinx voices.
Photo courtesy of McDonald's North Texas

Dora Zeneth Reynosa’s murals and acrylic paintings penetrate beyond the eyes.

Her works show how art can uplift the audience’s psyche by being in the presence of colors in movement. Her abstract art transforms a blank canvas into a portal of possibilities that nurture the inner child using bright, vivid color combinations and fluid patterns.

Her compositions are rooted in her Latinidad. Reynosa, known artistically as Zeneth, centers her culture by taking inspiration from Mesoamerican glyphs. Mayan Aztec patterns take form in her pieces as a tribute to her home, Coahuila, Mexico. 

Reynosa has captured Dallas’s affection and is being applauded through commissions that put artwork “By Zeneth” at the center of public art. Her work is featured in Deep Ellum’s Blues Alley and Garland’s James McGoffin Back Elementary, where she painted a community mural alongside students. 

“You are braver than you think, more talented than you know and capable of more than you can imagine,” reads the mural. This sentiment has been a guiding force in Reynosa’s own skyrocketing career.

Now her accomplishments are soaring farther than she dreamed. Reynosa is one of four artists selected for McDonald’s nationwide Ritmo y Color campaign. Through the campaign, McDonald’s aims to “celebrate the fusion of Latin urban music and art, brought to life by artists who both champion and transcend their generation.”

To accomplish this, Reynosa conjured a love letter to Mexico through El Nectar de la Tierra, or Nectar of the Earth. In this piece, blues, reds and yellows dance alongside agave, embroidered flowers, calaveras and Zeneth’s signature eyes, which serve as a reminder that everyone is seen and everyone is important. It is her beacon of visibility and pride for Dallas’ Latinx community. The opportunity has given her her biggest canvas yet. 

As part of Ritmo Y Color, McDonald’s unveiled a local franchise at Northwest Highway and Interstate 35 wrapped in El Nectar de la Tierra. Both the interior and exterior now shine with vibrancy amplifying Latinx voices, art and culture.

On the heels of the July 12 unveiling, Reynosa spoke to D about the significance of this campaign, what it means for the Latinx community and how she hopes her art will inspire Dallas. 

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Photo courtesy of McDonald's North Texas

Congratulations on your partnership with McDonald’s. Tell us how this came about. 

The marketing company representing McDonald’s contacted me through email. They found me on Instagram through hashtags. They were looking for Dallas visual artists. They reached out to me and said, “Hey, we have this client that wants to work with you. They love your work. And one of their goals right now is to elevate Latino artists and Latino voices. And yours is one voice we want to elevate.” 

I didn’t know who the client was, but they made me sign an NDA. I was working on the mural at Back Elementary at the time. I remember taking a break to take the call and I agreed to the project.

When they opened up the presentation the first thing I saw was golden arches and a red background.  I said, “No way. This is crazy!” I kept asking, “Is this for real?” and they said yeah. I wanted to throw up.

That’s amazing. This is the second launch of Ritmo Y Color. It is part of McDonald’s “long-standing commitment to feeding and fostering the Hispanic community through impactful programs that field Latino pride and representation.” Alongside Ivan Roque, who is representing Cuban Americans and Miami, you have become a face for this commitment. What has that meant for you? 

Sometimes as an artist, you wonder if what you are trying to put out to the world is really translating. I’m trying to tell something with my paintings, and I have this voice. I think all of us artists go through some periods of time where we have this little doubt, like are people getting what I’m trying to do? Do people get it? To have somebody say “Hey, we see you, we hear you. We’re here for you and we want to support you” was really nuts. 

This was my confirmation and seal of approval. I am very proud to be able to have someone like McDonald’s come and say, “We want to see you do you.” They gave me full creative direction. The only thing they asked was for me to express my Latinidad, to represent my Mexico roots that I love so much. 

This was a reassurance in my artistry and in what I’m doing.

To represent your Mexican roots and express your Latinidad, you created El Nectar de la Tierra. How did you decide on the name and composition of this piece? 

This piece is my love letter to Mexico and to my Mexican roots. Naming this El Nectar de la Tierra was like my little piece of Mexico being brought here, much like a bee transports nectar. Nectar is where life comes from. And Mexico is where life came from for me. 

It is a homage to my roots. Without knowing your roots, you’re gonna find yourself very misidentified and lost. With this piece, I wanted to make a statement that to me being Mexican is something I’m extremely proud of. It’s something that I’m very grateful for. I am grateful that I was able to grow up and be raised in such a beautiful culture with such beautiful people. 

It doesn’t matter where in the world we are, as Latinos we are still going to form a community. Whether we’re Mexican or Venezuelans or Colombians, when it comes to being Latino, no matter where you are in the world, you’re gonna find a small community of people that are gonna take you in and nurture you. That just comes from knowing your roots and not being ashamed of where you’re from.

The McDonald’s Ritmo Y Color website says this piece “has drawn inspiration from her main call to action to be seen and valued in her Latinidad.​” Tell us more about your call to action. 

Something I saw a lot growing up here in the U.S. after moving here was that a lot of people were not very vocal, or open about being Latinos. And I always thought it was kind of weird. So to me, painting this was like saying, “Hey, I want everybody to know, in case you didn’t already know, that I am Latino, and I am Mexican. And not only that, but I love it and it’s okay for you to love it, too.” There’s nothing wrong with it.

Now you’re showing your pride with an entire Mc Donald’s dedicated to your art. 

Photo courtesy of McDonald's North Texas

It’s dedicated to us, to us Latinos, to us Mexicans, here in Dallas. I wanted this to be a piece that everybody could relate to. When they wake up in the morning and go to work, this piece is something they see. 

It’s been a big goal of mine to be able to provide people, like us Latinos, with original artwork. That is why I keep my prices the way I do. I want it to be accessible to people. This is probably the biggest testament to that. I get to provide not only households, but an entire community with artwork, a community that is predominantly Hispanic and Latinos.

Another tenet of Ritmo Y Color is music. In Dallas, your art is visible throughout the music scene rather it be your contribution to Blues Alley or live painting at events. What role has music played in your artistic journey? 

Music has played a huge part in my artistic journey. It starts with what movement means to me. A lot of my pieces have been inspired by live music. The movement that is seen in my pieces is the movement I felt when listening to a certain playlist or to a certain song. I move a lot when I paint and if it doesn’t feel fluid to me, it doesn’t feel like my style. To me, movement is life. Projecting and painting movements and fluidity is a big thing for me. If it’s not in the painting, it doesn’t feel finished.

Reynosa’s art will be on display at the 2917 W. Northwest Hwy McDonald’s location until further notice at the franchise owner’s discretion. On July 28, Ritmo Y Color’s feature music artist, Puerto Rican rapper Lunay, will feature a concert series on his YouTube channel that will highlight Reynosa’s art and Ritmo Y Color’s mission. The video will be available for only 72 hours.

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