Chicano Visions Artist Bio
CHICANO VISIONS – ARTIST PROFILES
Carlos Almaráz was born in Mexico City in 1949 and grew up in Chicago and Los Angeles. He studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, then earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Otis College of Art and Design in 1974. In 1973, Almaráz and three other artists founded Los Four, a local art collective whose collaborations brought Chicano street art to the attention of the mainstream art community of Los Angeles. For three years, Almaráz worked for César Chávez and the United Farmworkers Union, painting murals, banners and other artworks. His large “Boycott Gallo” mural on the All Nations’ Center in East Los Angeles was a community landmark before its destruction during the late 1980s.
Almaráz constantly drew, wrote poems and philosophical ideas in notebooks, and over a period of 25 years, amassed 50 such books. In them, one can see compositions worked on and the evolution of his distinct lexicon of characters, symbols and concepts.
Through his pastels, paintings and murals, Almaráz remains a major influence on younger Latino artists despite his death in 1989. His work continues to be widely exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the world.
Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez
Charles Bojórquez, a resident of Mt. Washington, Calif., acknowledges starting his art career in 1969 by spray-painting along riverbeds. He spent a summer at art school in Guadalajara, Mexico, and began attending classes at Chouinard Art Institute (now Cal Arts) the year before graduating from high school in 1967.
By the end of 1969, Bojórquez had created a symbol that represented him and the streets – a stylized skull called “Señor Suerte,” or “Mr. Luck.” It has become a gangster image of protection from death.
Bojórquez quit what he calls “illegal tagging” in 1986. Bojórquez’s paintings are now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Four other paintings are owned by the Orange County Museum of Art, which acquired the work because it reflects part of Southern California’s culture. Bojórquez is considered one of the few artists who have successfully made the transition from the street to the art gallery.
David Botello is best known as one of East Los Streetscapers. A native of East Los Angeles, Botello co-founded Goez Art Studio and Gallery, one of the first Chicano art galleries, with José-Luis and Juan González in 1969. Four years later, Botello was among the first artists to paint a mural at Estrada Courts. Botello rediscovered his third-grade art partner, Wayne Healy, in 1975. As children, their first mural together was about dinosaurs. Botello left the gallery to paint murals with Healy.
Shortly thereafter, other artists, such as George Yepes and Rudy Calderón, began working with them, so Botello and Healy changed the group’s name to East Los Streetscapers. While other artists have come and gone, Botello and Healy remain the core of the team. In addition to their many local murals, they have done projects in Houston, St. Louis and Bellingham, Wash., as well as San Jose and Santa Maria, Calif. Botello lives in El Sereno, just north of East Los Angeles.
Melesio Casas was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1929. He attended the public school system and graduated from Texas Western College with a bachelor’s degree in arts in 1956. Later, Casas graduated with a master’s degree in arts in 1958 from the University of the Americas in Mexico City. Casas is presently teaching in the Department of Art at San Antonio College. Casas says when describing his art, “I’m dealing with the power of the cinema, the power of advertising, as in T.V.”.
The television and movie screens play a very important role in Casas’ series entitled “Humanscapes.” The artist says, “I can’t deal without propaganda…we are bombarded by this constantly on T.V.” Casas has also incorporated sociopolitical and economic problems in his work. He has paid particular attention to the Mexican American, the migrant worker, youth and other “outsider” groups.
Casas has performed one-man shows in Mexico City, El Paso, San Antonio and Seguin, Texas.
Gaspar Enríquez was born in El Paso, Texas. He received his art training in Los Angeles and at the University of Texas at El Paso, earning a bachelor’s degree in arts. He later received a master’s degree in arts from New Mexico State University. Enríquez teaches art at Hispanic Bowie High School on the El Paso/Juárez border. His students often times provide inspiration for his work. Enríquez has been included in numerous exhibitions, including the national tour Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985. Enríquez provides a significant voice for the subcultures along the U.S./Mexico border.
In describing one of his works, he said, “One is born a Mexican-American, but one chooses to be a Chicano. Politically charged, the Chicano lifestyle has been passed from one generation to another. It has survived wars, prisons and strife.”
Diane Gamboa has been exhibited nationally and internationally for several years. She has done collaborative work with ASCO (nausea in Spanish), the conceptual/performance/visual arts group, and has been featured in several publications. Her paper fashions have been featured in the landmark national tour Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985. Her work has been included in several large exhibits in recent years. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art acquired her work, “Red Bitch,” for exhibition in “Image and Identity.”
Margaret García studied at California State University, Northridge, Los Angeles City College and the University of Southern California, where she received her master’s degree in fine arts in 1992. Her work has been exhibited in group shows throughout Southern California as well as in Texas and Mexico. García has taught and lectured extensively on art in different cultures.
Rupert García, born in French Camp, Calif., is a leading Chicano artist who works in poster, oils and pastels. He studied painting and received numerous student honors from Stockton Junior College and San Francisco State University (SFSU), where he was influenced by photo realism. One of the leading artists in the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and early ‘70s, García participated in the formation of several seminal West Coast civil rights movement-oriented workshops and collectives. He helped establish the San Francisco Poster Workshop, which had been forced off the San Francisco State University campus during the Vietnam War, and concurrent civil rights protests, and Galería de la Raza.
After graduating from SFSU, García produced a signature work, a portrait of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara above the slogan “Right On!” García has received numerous awards and honors, including an individual artist fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1992, he received four major awards: The President’s Scholar Award from San Jose State University, where he has taught in the School of Art and Design since 1988; the San Joaquin Delta College’s Distinguished Alumni Award; KGO-TV’s Profile of Excellence Award and the College Art Association’s Distinguished Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 1995, he received the National Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award in Art.
The bulk of García’s work is housed in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Some early prints are housed at the UCSB Library’s California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives. García wrote a biography of Frida Kahlo in 1983, “Frida Kahlo: A Bibliography and Biographical Introduction.” It was the first major study of the Mexican painter.
Carmen Lomas Garza
Carmen Lomas Garza was born in Kingsville, Texas. At 13, she made a commitment to pursue a career in art and taught herself elements of drawing. Her works of art depict childhood memories of family and friends in a wide range of activities from making tamales to dancing to Tejano music.
Garza has a bachelor’s degree in science from Texas A&I University (currently Texas A&M University, Kingsville) where she studied art education and studio art. She also has a master’s degree in education from Antioch Graduate School-Juárez/Lincoln Center and a master’s degree in arts from San Francisco State University, where she concentrated on lithography and painting in oil and gouache.
Garza has had several one-person shows in U.S. museums including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden/Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; Smith College Museum, Northampton, Mass.; The Mexican Museum, San Francisco; and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. In 1991, she had a major one-person exhibition, “Pedacito de mi Corazón/A Piece of My Heart,” at Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin that traveled to several galleries and museums, including the El Paso Museum of Art, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago and The Oakland Museum.
Garza is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. In the summer of 1996, the National Endowment for the Arts selected Garza to receive a special international artist-in-residence grant from the Mexican arts agency, Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, to reside in Mexico for two months.
In 1990, Children’s Book Press of San Francisco published a bilingual book, “Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia” of Garza’s paintings and short stories. More than 120,000 copies in hardcover and paperback were sold. A second children’s book, “In My Family/En mi familia” was published in September 1996.
Raul Guerrero was born in 1945 in Brawley, California, a small town located near
Mexicali, Mexico. He studied at the Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles, California, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1969. Guerrero has been influenced by the works of French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp. Through Duchamp’s works, Guerrero felt a need to become more conscious of his art and approach the work deductively rather than expressionistically. His works include Molino Rojo and Club Coco Tijuana. Guerrero’s work has been exhibited in various cities across the nation, including, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and New York City.
Wayne Alaniz Healy
Wayne Alaniz Healy is a founding member of the East Los Streetscapers, one of the first groups of artists to begin the muralist movement in the 1970s. Healy was raised in East Los Angeles and continues to live and paint there. Besides murals, the artist and the Streetscapers have moved into multimedia work such as sculpture and tile-making. Healy and fellow founder of the group, Paul Botello, painted their first mural together – dinosaurs – in third-grade art class.
Adan Hernández is a modern artist whose work merges neo-expressionism with Chicano-noir. The aesthetics in his art evoke emotions of alienation, uncertainty, desperation and loss, which dominate the Chicano experience.
In describing his work, Hernández says, “The high drama and highly charged content in my work reflects the day-to-day epic struggle of life in the barrio. Here, the challenge to overcome overwhelming adversity, which we celebrate in films, is a common occurrence. I feel my work is about the priorities in my life and the experiences that have shaped it. These moments seek eternal life in my art.’
In 1991, Adan’s work caught the attention of film director Taylor Hackford (“La Bamba,” “Devil’s Advocate”), who signed him up to create more than 30 original paintings, drawings and a mural, and to star in a cameo role for the 1993 epic barrio-cult-classic, “Blood in…Blood out.”
Hernández has been a serious artist since 1980. His work has been exhibited in museums in the U.S. and Mexico.
Ester Hernández, a California artist of Mexican and Yaqui descent, was born and raised in Dinuba, a small town on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas. The child of farm workers, Hernández grew up in an atmosphere of natural beauty, mixed cultural traditions and social activism. The Hernández family was actively involved in the struggle for the rights of farm workers since the 1930s. Moving to the Bay Area in the early 1970s to study Chicano Studies at Laney College and then visual arts at UC Berkeley, Hernández graduated with honors and a degree in practice of art. During this period, she met and became involved with Las Mujeres Muralistas, San Francisco’s first all Latina mural collective.
Though the renowned artist works as a muralist and painter, she primarily considers herself a printmaker. Hernández has taught art in elementary school, college and senior citizen centers, and currently works with disabled adults at San Francisco’s Creativity Explored. She is the recipient of several California Arts Council grants, and her work has been featured in numerous exhibits in the United States, Mexico and England. Hernández was included in the exhibition Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985. Hernández currently resides in San Francisco, Calif.
Leo Limón was born and still resides in East Los Angeles. Called the “Alley River Cat Artist” by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Limón is known for the cat faces he paints on the cement walls channeling the Los Angeles River. Limón’s work on paper deals mostly with the indigenous ideals of “corazón” and uses many Aztec symbols.
Limón considers himself a cultural worker and an arts ambassador for East Los Angeles and the Chicano community. While he was in high school, Limón was influenced by and involved with the pioneers called Los Four, especially with Carlos Almaráz. During his time with Self-Help Graphics, Limón helped develop the Annual Celebration of Día de Los Muertos and the Atelier Printmaking Program. Additionally, Limón helped establish the Aztlan Cultural Arts Foundation, Inc. to pursue his commitment to youth in his community. Limón has also worked with the MeChicano Art Center and the Centro de Arte Público.
Gilbert “Magu” Lujan
Gilbert Lujan was born near French Camp, Calif., a migrant farm worker’s village, and moved to East Los Angeles around the beginning of World War II. Lujan first began doing murals in East Los Angeles in the early 1970s. In 1973, he joined Frank Romero, Carlos Almaráz and Roberto de la Rocha in founding a local art collective known as Los Four. Los Four collaborated on numerous murals and on other public art installations throughout California during the next 10 years, making a major influence on defining Chicano art. Lujan has exhibited his paintings and sculptures in numerous solo and group shows in the U.S. and abroad. He lives in Santa Monica, Calif.
César Martínez was born in Laredo, Texas. A major figure in the Chicano Art Movement during late 1970s and 1980s, his portraits represent icons of Texas art history.
Martínez’s work has been included in many exhibits, including “La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexican/U.S. Border Experience,” the Museum of Contemporary Art; “Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985,” organized by the Wight Art Gallery at UCLA; and many others.
Additionally, Martínez’s artwork has been on display at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago, Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City and many other noteworthy museums.
A prolific painter and printmaker, Martínez is primarily best known for his Vato series of portraits of pachucos and rucas. He also paints abstracted landscapes that incorporate Aztec imagery and history, and creates wooden constructions.
Martínez is also presenting works constructed of found wood, marked with drawings of a sculpture of Nike that was once in a public park in San Antonio. This image also appears in a new series of monotypes, combined with text on fields of highly saturated color.
Glugio “Gronk” Nicandro
Glugio Gronk Nicandro has always used his middle name, Gronk, a Brazilian Indian word that means “to fly.” He first came to the attention of the art world at 16 when, along with Harry Gamboa, Jr., Willy Herron and Patssi Valdez, he became one of the founders of ASCO (nausea in Spanish). The Los Angeles-based Chicano artists’ collaborative was among the first to incorporate political activism into its aesthetic.
Today, while Gronk sympathizes with many Chicano political and social causes, he doesn’t use them as the basis of his art. Since the 1970s, Gronk’s work has been represented in numerous private and museum collections across the country, and he has been the subject of many one-person exhibitions.
Frank Romero was born and raised in Los Angeles. He studied art at Otis College of Art and Design and California State College (now California State University, Los Angeles). In 1973, Romero, Roberto de la Rocha, Gilbert Lujan and Carlos Almaráz formed an art collective called Los Four, whose collaborations brought Chicano street art to the attention of the mainstream art community of Los Angeles. The University of California at Irvine, presented an exhibition of the group in 1974, which subsequently was shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Oakland Museum.
Romero worked as a designer for Charles Eames and A&M Records, and was the design director of the community redevelopment agency when he designed the first section of the Broadway Sidewalk Project. Set between Third and Eighth streets on one of the downtown LA’s densest pedestrian traffic areas, the Broadway Sidewalk Project is a series of three murals that incorporate cultural images from many ethnic groups that shop on Broadway. In 1981, he curated the highly regarded exhibition The Murals of Aztlan at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Although he is known foremost as a muralist, Romero is now primarily a studio artist. His work has been exhibited in many solo and group shows, including the national exhibitions Contemporary Hispanic Art in the U.S. and Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985.
muralist in a housing project. He developed his talent by serving his community as a youth instructor and creating murals on cathedral walls. His artwork focuses on narrative drawings and paintings with mixed media, based on images deeply rooted in his Latin American culture.
s part of the Inmate Creative Arts Program (ICAP), Rubio is an artist-in-residence at the Bexar County Detention Ministry in San Antonio, where he teaches inmates about art. He has also curated exhibits of their work and has included some of the inmates’ art with exhibits of his own work. Rubio has exhibited throughout the Southwestern United States, as well as in New York and Puerto Rico.
Marta Sánchez was born in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to her works on paper and metal, Sánchez has painted interior murals and floor paintings. She also founded “Cascarone por la vida” (Shell for Life), an annual fundraiser benefiting children with AIDS and the homeless in Philadelphia. Sánchez received a master’s degree in fine arts from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from University of Texas in Austin, both in painting.
Sánchez credits her experience growing up as a Chicana in Texas and with Mexican retablos, prayer paintings on metal depicting hope, as the source for her artistic perspective. Her works, including “Train Series” in memory of her father and her old neighborhood, have been featured in exhibitions around the United States and Mexico. Sánchez resides in Philadelphia, Penn.
Eloy Torrez is a painter, artist, muralist and art instructor. Born in Albuquerque, N.M., he lives and works in Los Angeles. He has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Otis College of Art and Design.
Torrez has executed murals in the Southern California area, including the well-known “The Pope of Broadway,” depicting actor Anthony Quinn, at the Victor Clothing Co. buildings in downtown Los Angeles at 240 S. Broadway. He has also painted murals in St. Denis, France, as an artist in residence. His oil paintings and works on paper have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Mexico and Europe. He teaches drawing to youth at risk at the Covenant House in Hollywood, Calif. He has taught art and mural painting to children, youth and adults. Torrez also composes pop music, writes songs and plays guitar and sings.
Jesse Treviño is one of America’s finest realist painters. He has earned an international reputation by painting the people, landmarks and culture of the West Side in San Antonio, Texas, where he grew up with his 11 brothers and sisters. Although he was born in Monterrey, Mexico,
San Antonians embrace him as their native son. Treviño is widely recognized for his larger-than-life-work, colorful paintings and tile murals depicting Hispanic culture.
John Valadez was born in Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1976 from California State University, Long Beach.
He has had several solo exhibitions in Los Angeles galleries, as well as in San Francisco and New York. During the middle and late 1970s, Valadez often worked on mural projects with young people; however, none of those murals still exist. In 1991, he completed a mural for the General Services Administration in El Paso, Texas. He spent 1996-98 working on a major mural commission for the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif.
Valadez was one of the founding members, with Carlos Almaráz, Frank Romero and Richard Duardo, of the Public Arts Center in Highland Park, Calif. organized to provide studio space and access to cooperative mural projects.
In 1980, Valadez was included in a group exhibition, Espina, at LACE Gallery, Los Angeles, where his work was seen by the owner of the Victor Clothing Co. on Broadway In Los Angeles. Valadez was invited to submit a proposal for portraits to hang in the store; a year and a half later, he completed work on “The Broadway Mural” at 242 Broadway, which remains one of the most extraordinary achievements to grow out of the mural movement: an oil painting eight-feet-high, stretching to 60 feet in length, that depicts in an utterly realistic way the many textures of life on one of downtown Los Angeles’s busiest and grittiest streets.
Patssi Valdez began her artistic career in the 1970s as a student in Garfield High School in East Los Angeles when she became the only female among the seminal, four-member Chicano art group ASCO (nausea in Spanish).
Along with Valdez, ASCO members included the now well-known photographer Harry Gamboa and artists Willie Herron and Gronk. ASCO expanded
the definition of Chicano art beyond murals and posters by experimenting with a range of art forms, including street performance, photographic montage, pageantry and conceptual art.
In January 2001, “Patssi Valdez: A Precarious Comfort” opened at The Mexican Museum in San Francisco. In March 2001, Valdez was one of only three Los Angeles artists awarded a $25,000 Durfee Artist Fellowship based on past artistic achievement and future promise.
Vincent Valdez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. His first artistic influences came from the canvases of his late great-grandfather, an artist from Spain. Valdez began drawing at age three; as early as kindergarten, he realized his artistic abilities differed from others. While participating in a mural project at San Antonio’s Esperanza Peace and Justice Center at age 10, Valdez decided art would be his career. He worked with his mentor, artist/muralist Alex Rubio, on murals around the Alamo City, eventually painting on his own.
Upon graduating from Burbank High School, Valdez received a full scholarship to the International Fine Arts College in Miami, Fla. After one year, he accepted a full scholarship and transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, R.I., where he completed his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in illustration. Valdez exhibits and works on commissioned pieces and teaches art to middle school students in San Antonio.
George Yepes was born in East Los Angeles. He earned a degree from California State University, Los Angeles, in business administration. He also took painting classes at East Los Angeles City College and worked both as an accountant and a muralist.
Yepes is a former member of East Los Streetscapers, a group of mural painters active from 1979 to 1985. He has exhibited in 12 solo and 45 group shows at venues that have included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Sitges-Barcelona Olympics Exhibit. He has designed more than 30 public murals as well as an album cover for Los Lobos, a Grammy Award-winning music group from East Los Angeles. Yepes established the Academia de Arte Yepes, the first free mural academy for young students in Los Angeles.
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Source: Evergreen Exhibitions