Mendes is a graduate of the High School of Music and Art in New York and a 1980 graduate of the University of California at Riverside. During the 1970s, both before and during her stint at UCR, she led a sort of dual artistic life, in which she contributed underground comix whilst also exhibiting her more "serious" art in galleries. She would eventually choose to devote herself to fine art.
Her art often, but not always, displays clear feminist or Judaic themes. These Judaic themes became much more prominent following a transformational experience in 1992, when she painted a mural for a synagogue. Since her early comic work, her style has exuded a duality in which a simple subject has dominated the frame, surrounded by many intricate details which amplify the overall meaning of the work.
Date of Birth: 30 January 1948
"Willy" was the original name under which Barbara Mendes was credited. Late in her underground comix career, she started being credited by her real name, which she still uses today in her fine art career.