Page 1

Small Paintings

chicanitas from the Cheech Marin Collection

Small Paintings

chicanitas from the Cheech Marin Collection


chicanitas: Small Paintings from Cheech Marin Collection EXHIBITION Organized by Mesa Contemporary Arts in partnership with Cheech Marin Curated by Patty Haberman • Managed and marketed by Melissa Richardson Banks, CauseConnect | Downtown Muse

Mesa Contemporary Arts – Arizona March 11 through July 31, 2011 www.mesaartscenter.com

Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame – Indiana September 4 through November 13, 2011 http://sniteartmuseum.nd.edu

Museum of Monterey – California December 10, 2011 through April 1, 2012 www.museumofmonterey.org

PUBLICATION Editor: Melissa Richardson Banks, CauseConnect | Downtown Muse Graphic Design: Babet Mordeno and Juan Rodriguez of KGB Studios Cover Design: Tiffany Fairall Photography: Lefteris Photography, Art Your World, and Eric Nisly Publication copyright © 2012 by Cheech Marin Images of all artwork herein copyright © by the artists All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher and the copyright owners. First U.S. Edition Printed in the United States Published by CauseConnect LLC

For exhibition bookings, send an email to art@causeconnect.net. To learn more about the art collection, visit www.cheechmarin.com.

Designed by KGB Studios

Front Cover: La Envidiosa by Ricardo Ruiz, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 8” x 8” Back Cover: Detail of Car Wash by Margaret García, 2009, oil on panel, 5” x 8.5” 2

Table of Contents

Introduction + Preface

Small Paintings

Artwork Checklist


Artist Biographies

75 - 79

Collector’s Bio + Statement


4 5 - 73



This publication features paintings by artists in an exhibition drawn from Cheech Marin’s noted collection of Chicano art called Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection {size doesn’t matter}. An entertainer who is well known for his work in movies, television, and improvisational comedy, Marin has been acquiring art since 1988, and he has amassed one of the renowned collections of Chicano art in private hands. Marin’s most recent passion is collecting small paintings averaging 16 inches square and smaller in size. In contrast to other works in his collection representing and promoting the Chicano art movement of the mid-1960s and 1970s, the content of many of these works leans more towards the artist’s internal or personal statement rather than as a response to political, social or cultural situations. The paintings, which range from photo-realism to abstractions to portraits to landscapes, offer a window into the lives of the artists. Whether showing us a glimpse of their neighborhood as Margaret García does in her expressive paintings of a car wash, hair salon, grocery store and taco shop; or personal interests such as graffiti art, street fashion and underground music that influence the works of Carlos Donjuán; or peppered with mystery and a bit of humor as in Ricardo Ruiz’s four portraits based on family members; or making a statement about the double standards imposed on Mexican women as Ana Teresa Fernández does in To Press I and To Press II; or John Valadez’s underwater figure studies painted on ceramic tiles, each artist draws on his or her own upbringing, cultural heritage, education and life experiences for inspiration. With a keen and eclectic eye, Cheech has acquired a collection of paintings by both established and emerging Chicano and Chicana artists. Appearing at first glance as a disparate grouping of paintings, Chicanitas begs the viewer to examine, interpret, and appreciate each artwork individually. This reveals the true secret of the exhibition that the individual parts are greater than the whole and that size doesn’t matter!

Preface The paintings herein are whole, entire and complete unto themselves. There is great power in clarity, and the featured artists have distilled the essence of their individual visions into a format that speaks clearly the message that they want to convey … in other words “size doesn’t matter” – it’s what’s inside the frame that counts. There is something about the intimacy of a small painting that draws you in and implants itself is the warmth of your memory. For the collector, the small paintings are the ones that remain with them throughout their lives. They are the paintings that are always in their bedrooms or their kitchens or whatever room in which they spend the most time. The owners know every square inch of these paintings and can almost see them in the dark. In Chicanitas, several young artists are getting their first national exposure. These paintings are their calling cards and they speak with eloquence, style, and clarity. Enjoy! ~ Cheech Marin, Malibu, California 4

CARLOS ALMARAZ, Morning Bridge, 1985. Oil on board, 7” x 5” 5

CARLOS ALMARAZ, 4th Street Bridge, 1986. Oil on board, 5” x 7”


ELSA FLORES ALMARAZ Nude Figure 1984 Oil on panel (encaustic) 9” x 6.5”



JARI “WERC” ALVAREZ, Donkey Show, 2008. Mixed media, 12” x 24” 9

JARI “WERC” ALVAREZ, Pollitos, 2008. Mixed media, 13” x 13” 10

MARTA SÁNCHEZ, Alice Bowie, 2009. Oil on metal, 10” x 10”


CARLOS DONJUÁN, Los Super Feos, 2009. Acrylic on panel, 12” x 14.75”


CARLOS DONJUÁN, El Segundo, 2009. Acrylic on panel, 10” x 12” 13

ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ, To Press I, 2007. Oil on canvas, 6” x 8”


ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ, To Press II, 2007. Oil on canvas, 6” x 8”


MARGARET GARCÍA, The Last Hour, 2009. Oil on canvas, 12” x 12”


MARGARET GARCÍA, Urban Field of Green, 2009. Oil on canvas, 12” x 12” 17

MARGARET GARCÍA, Finding Jesus at the Taco Stand, 2009, Oil on canvas, 10” x 13”


MARGARET GARCÍA, Car Wash, 2009, Oil on panel, 5” x 8.5”


MARGARET GARCÍA La Jarocha 2009 Oil on canvas 10” x 8”


MARGARET GARCÍA, Down Figueroa St., 2009, Oil on panel, 10” x 12.5”


MARGARET GARCÍA, Market., 2009, Oil on canvas, 5” x 8” 22

ADÁN HERNÁNDEZ, El Diablito en El Baile Grande #2, 2009, Oil on canvas, 11” x 14” 23

YOLANDA GONZÁLEZ Portrait of Marissa with Green Sweater 2011 Acrylic on canvas 16” x 9.5”


YOLANDA GONZÁLEZ, Portrait of Anna, 2008. Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 8” 25

YOLANDA GONZÁLEZ, Portrait of Nena, 2008. Acrylic on canvas, 6” x 6” 26

YOLANDA GONZÁLEZ Portrait of Rio II 2008 Oil on canvas 16” x 9”


JACINTO GUEVARA Maguey 2006 Oil on panel 8” x 6”


JACINTO GUEVARA Wiley 2004 Oil on panel 6.5” x 4.5”


SANDY RODRÍGUEZ, Payasa, 1998. Oil on panel, 12” x 12” 30

LEO LIMÓN Fish in Coffee Cup 1993 Acrylic on plexiglass 10” x 8”


LEO LIMÓN Heart with Fishes 1993 Acrylic on plexiglass 8” x 12”



JOSÉ LOZANO, Centauro, 1997. Mixed media on paper, 10” x 8” 34

JOSÉ LOZANO, El Vikingo, 2007. Mixed media on paper, 8” x 10”


JOSÉ LOZANO, Hombre Atomico, 2008. Mixed media on paper, 8” x 10”


JOSÉ LOZANO, Vikingo, 1997. Mixed media on paper, 10” x 8” 37

GILBERT “MAGU” LUJÁN, Green Car, 2002. Prisma color on paper, 5.25” x 6.5”


GILBERT “MAGU” LUJAN Multicultural Face Undated Pastel (prism color) on paper 12.5” x 9.25”


JOE PEÑA, Mollejas, 2008. Oil on wood, 8” x 8”


JOE PEÑA, Machitos, 2010. Oil on wood, 8” x 8”


JOE PEÑA, Lengua II, 2010. Oil on wood, 8” x 8”


JOE PEÑA, Tripas, 2008. Oil on wood, 8” x 8”


FRANK ROMERO, City at Night, 2010. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8” 44

FRANK ROMERO, Chinatown, 2010. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8” 45

FRANK ROMERO, Downtown, 2010. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8” 46

FRANK ROMERO, Freeway Overpass, 2010. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8” 47

ROBERTO GUTIERREZ, Pleasant Ave, 2004. Watercolor and ink on paper, 11” x 14” 48

SONIA ROMERO Swifty’s Devil Tongue 2010 Oil on canvas 10” x 8”


SONIA ROMERO Fledgling 2010 Oil on canvas 10” x 8”


SONIA ROMERO Tina’s Tattoo 2010 Oil on canvas 10” x 8”


RICARDO RUIZ, La Mendiga, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 6” x 6” 52

RICARDO RUIZ, La Envidiosa, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 8”


RICARDO RUIZ, La Preciosa, 2006. Acrylic on wood, 5.5” x 8”


RICARDO RUIZ, La Dottie, 2006. Acrylic on wood, 5.75” x 7.75”


ELOY TORREZ Randy Rodarte 2004 Oil on metal 10” x 7”


ELOY TORREZ Scott Rodarte 2004 Oil on metal 10” x 7”


ELOY TORREZ Keinezukunft 2008 Oil on metal 12” x 8”


ELOY TORREZ Portrait of Artist’s Wife 2004 Oil on metal 10.25” x 7.25”


JOHN VALADEZ, Aqua Chella, 2009. Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11” 60

JOHN VALADEZ, Red and Holding, 2009. Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11” 61

JOHN VALADEZ, Underwater Flects, 2009. Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11”


JOHN VALADEZ, Sunburnt Splash, 2009. Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11” 63

PATSSI VALDEZ My Bedroom 2004 Gouache on watercolor paper 12” x 9”


PATSSI VALDEZ, Winter Morn, 2004. Gouache on watercolor paper, 7” x 10” 65


PATSSI VALDEZ The Wedding 2004 Gouache on watercolor paper 14” x 20”


PATSSI VALADEZ, Cheech & Natasha’s Rose Garden, 2009. Gouache on watercolor paper, 10” x 14”


PATSSI VALADEZ, Cheech’s House, 2009. Gouache on watercolor paper, 10” x 14”



SERGIO VÁSQUEZ, The Quest, 2010. Oil on canvas, 6” x 12” 71

Downtown LA (Left), 8” x 10”

Downtown LA (Middle), 10” x 8”


Downtown LA (Right), 8” x 10”

VINCENT VALDEZ, Downtown LA (Triptych), 2009. Oil on canvas, 10” x 28” 73

About the Collector CHEECH MARIN Born July 13, 1946 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Malibu, California

Cheech Marin is best known as one half of the hilariously irreverent duo of Cheech and Chong. While primarily known as an actor, a director, and a performer, he has developed what is arguably the finest private collection of Chicano art. Much of it formed the core of his traveling exhibition Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge, which broke attendance records during its groundbreaking 15‐-city tour during 2001-2007 to major art museums across the United States. He states, “Chicano art is American art. My goal is to bring the term ‘Chicano’ to the forefront of the art world.” This focus is what led to his touring exhibitions, The Chicano Collection/La Colección Chicana: Fine Art Prints by Modern Multiples, Papel Chicano: Works on Paper from the Collection of Cheech Marin, and now Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection. Cheech has also produced exhibitions for LACMA (Los Angelenos: Chicano Painters of L.A.) and the Art Museum of South Texas (Menudo: Chicano Art from the Cheech Marin Collection). STATEMENT FROM THE COLLECTOR I had two of my biggest art revelations on the same day. In 1982, I was visiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, home to the greatest collection of Dutch masterpiece paintings in the world. Paintings by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Van Gogh, and many others hung in hall after endless hall. I had studied these painters since I was 12 years old and knew their work as well as some kids knew the faces on their baseball cards. I was awestruck to see, in person and up close, paintings I had seen only in books. I knew everything about many of the paintings; the year they were painted, for whom they were painted, the names of some of the subjects in the paintings and even the techniques used in mixing the paints. What I didn’t know, and never paid any attention before, was the size of the paintings. Usually the size was given in meters or centimeters or something else metric. Who the hell knew what they were, they were foreign. I rounded the corner of one of the endless galleries and received the shock of my life. There, right in front of me, hung The Night Watch, probably Rembrandt’s most famous painting … and it was gigantic! It took up the whole wall. It was no longer just a photo in an art book that took up only half a page – it was a mural with life-sized figures. The effect was like watching the film Avatar in IMAX … it was overwhelming. That initial effect made a long-lasting impression on me and when I launched Chicano Visions, the first touring exhibition drawn from my collection, I was determined to re-create that same effect, so I collected some paintings that were even larger than The Night Watch. I was hopeful that the first time most people saw Chicano art, they would come away with the same feeling I experienced in the Rijksmuseum. I stayed in that room for over an hour devouring every square foot of Rembrandt’s masterpiece until I was overloaded. I felt like the guy from the television show Man v. Food, eating the world’s largest pizza in under an hour. I needed a rest, so I found the café in the museum and enjoyed a long leisurely lunch … with two glasses of wine. Fortified, rested, and slightly buzzed, I ventured out again into the museum. The first arrow-shaped sign that caught my eye said “Vermeer” and pointed down the hall. Johannes Vermeer is without doubt my favorite Dutch painter and in my top five painters of any nationality throughout history, along with Picasso, Caravaggio, Jackson Pollack, and Carlos Almaraz. I knew many of his paintings intimately. Unlike Rembrandt, his Dutch contemporary, whose subjects were monumental and posed, usually staring directly into the camera (metaphorically speaking), Vermeer captured intimate scenes almost as if he were eavesdropping: a woman pouring a pitcher of milk; a young girl playing a lute while gazing out the window; a woman just reading a letter. The intimacy and stillness captured by Vermeer spoke volumes about the interior life of his subjects, proving the more specific you make something, the more universal it becomes. I was shocked when I saw my first Vermeer painting in person, not because it was overwhelming, but because it was just the opposite … it was small, almost miniature in comparison to those by Rembrandt. I spent more time in the room with Vermeer’s painting than I had with The Night Watch. From that time forward, I sought out small paintings wherever I went and I was never disappointed. Their charm was that they told a story succinctly and clearly with all the technical artistry a painter could muster. A single pinpoint of red paint in the center of an eye could draw you in and hold you in its thrall stronger than gallons of paint on yards of canvas. Small paintings whisper to you. They tell a secret to you and to you only. They imprint upon the soft clay of your memory and you carry them around forever. You can almost see them in the dark. In one day, I learned that size doesn’t matter – it’s what’s inside the frame that counts. 74

Carlos Almaraz 4th Street Bridge, 1986 Oil on board, 5” x 7”

Yolanda González Portrait of Nena, 2008 Acrylic on canvas, 6” x 6”

Carlos Almaraz Morning Bridge, 1985 Oil on board, 7” x 5”

Yolanda González Portrait of Rio II, 2008 Acrylic on canvas, 16” x 9”

Elsa Flores Almaraz Nude Figure, 1984 Oil on panel (encaustic), 9” x 6.5”

Yolanda González Portrait of Marissa with Green Sweater, 2011 Acrylic on canvas, 16” x 9.5”

Jari “Werc” Álvarez Donkey Show, 2008 Mixed media, 12” x 24” Jari “Werc” Álvarez Pollitos, 2008 Mixed media, 13” x 13” Carlos Donjuán El Segundo, 2009 Acrylic on panel, 10” x 12” Carlos Donjuán Los Super Feos, 2009 Acrylic on panel, 12” x 14.75” Ana Teresa Fernández To Press I, 2007 Oil on canvas, 6” x 8” Ana Teresa Fernández To Press II, 2007 Oil on canvas, 6” x 8” Margaret Garcia Market, 2009 Oil on canvas, 5” x 8” Margaret Garcia La Jarocha, 2009 Oil on canvas, 10”¾ x 8” Margaret García Car Wash, 2009 Oil on panel, 5” x 8.5” Margaret García Down Figueroa Street, 2009 Oil on panel, 10” x 12.5” Margaret García Finding Jesus at the Taco Stand, 2009 Oil on canvas, 10” x 13” Margaret García The Last Hour, 2009 Oil on canvas, 14” x 11” Margaret García Urban Field of Green, 2009 Oil on canvas, 12” x 12” Yolanda González Portrait of Anna, 2008 Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 8”

Artwork Checklist Joe Peña Mollejas, 2008 Oil on wood, 8” x 8”

Eloy Torrez Portrait of Artist’s Wife, 2004 Oil on metal, 10.25” x 7.25”

Joe Peña Tripas, 2009 Oil on wood, 8” x 8”

Eloy Torrez Randy Rodarte, 2004 Oil on metal, 10” x 7”

Jacinto Guevara Maguey, 2006 Oil on panel, 8” x 6”

Sandy Rodríguez Payasa, 1998 Oil on panel, 12” x 12”

Eloy Torrez Scott Rodarte, 2004 Oil on metal, 10” x 7”

Jacinto Guevara Wiley, 2004 Oil on panel, 6.5” x 4.5”

Frank Romero Chinatown, 2010 Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8”

John Valadez Aqua Chella, 2009 Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11”

Roberto Gutiérrez Pleasant Ave, 2004 Watercolor and ink on paper, 11” x 14”

Frank Romero City at Night, 2010 Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8”

John Valadez Red and Holding, 2009 Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11”

Adán Hernández El Diablito en El Baile Grande #2, 2009 Oil on canvas, 11” x 14”

Frank Romero Downtown, 2010 Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8”

John Valadez Underwater Flects, 2009 Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11”

Leo Limón Fish in Coffee Cup, 1993 Acrylic on plexiglass, 10” x 8”

Frank Romero Freeway Overpass, 2010 Acrylic and oil on canvas, 8” x 8”

John Valadez Sunburnt Splash, 2009 Oil on terracotta tile, 11” x 11”

Leo Limón Heart with Fishes, 1993 Acrylic on plexiglass, 8” x 12”

Sonia Romero Fledgling, 2010 Oil on canvas, 10” x 8”

José Lozano Centauro, 1997 Mixed media on paper, 10” x 8”

Sonia Romero Swifty’s Devil Tongue, 2010 Oil on canvas, 10” x 8”

Patssi Valdez Cheech & Natasha’s Rose Garden, 2009 Gouache on watercolor paper, 10” x 14”

José Lozano El Vikingo, 2007 Mixed media on paper, 8” x 10”

Sonia Romero Tina’s Tattoo, 2010 Oil on canvas, 10” x 8”

José Lozano Hombre Atomico, 2008 Mixed media on paper, 8” x 10”

Ricardo Ruiz La Dottie, 2006 Acrylic on wood, 5.75” x 7.75”

José Lozano Vikingo, 1997 Mixed media on paper, 9.75” x 8”

Ricardo Ruiz La Envidiosa, 2009 Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 8”

Gilbert “Magu” Lujan Portrait - Multicultural Face, n/d Pastel (prism color) on paper, 12.5” x 9.25”

Ricardo Ruiz La Mendiga, 2009 Acrylic on canvas, 6” x 6”

Gilbert “Magu” Luján Green Car, 2002 Prisma color on paper, 5.25” x 6.5”

Ricardo Ruiz La Preciosa, 2006 Acrylic on wood, 5.5” x 8”

Joe Peña Lengua II, 2010 Oil on wood, 8” x 8”

Marta Sánchez Alice Bowie, 2009 Oil on metal, 10” x 10”

Joe Peña Machitos, 2010 Oil on wood, 8” x 8”

Eloy Torrez Keinezukunft, 2008 Oil on metal, 12” x 8” 75

Patssi Valdez My Bedroom, 2004 Gouache on watercolor paper, 12” x 9” Patssi Valdez Winter Morn, 2004 Gouache on watercolor paper, 7” x 10” Patssi Valdez The Wedding, 2009 Gouache on watercolor paper, 14” x 20” Patssi Valdez Cheech’s House, 2009 Gouache on watercolor paper, 10” x 14” Vincent Valdez Downtown L.A., 2009 Oil on canvas, 10” x 28” Sergio Vásquez The Quest, 2010 Oil on canvas, 6” x 12”

Artist Biographies CARLOS ALMARAZ Born October 5, 1941 in México City, México

Died December 11, 1989 in Los Angeles, California

While he was born in México, Carlos Almaraz grew up in Chicago and Los Angeles. After studying at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Otis College of Art and Design, he went to New York to start his career as a painter. Unsuccessful and emotionally distressed, he returned to California, where he became one of the first artists involved in the Chicano civil rights struggle, painting backdrops for Teatro Campesino (Farmworkers Theater), a politically radical troupe that supported the labor movement organized by César Chávez. Later, with Frank Romero, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, and Roberto de la Rocha, he founded Los Four, a Los Angeles– based art collective. Although Almaraz died in 1989, his pastels, paintings, and murals remain a major influence on younger Latino artists. He is known for vibrant impressionistic landscapes in which Los Angeles is depicted as a paradise, suffused with a magical aura yet often with danger lurking. His work continues to be widely exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the world. ELSA FLORES ALMARAZ Born June 5, 1955 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Resides in Pasadena, California and Kauai, Hawaii

At an early age, Elsa Flores Almaraz became interested in art, and later studied at the Art Center College in Pasadena, California. Now exhibited around the world, her paintings first began to gain recognition in the 1970s. During that decade, she met Carlos Almaraz who was part of the early Chicano street art movement and a member of the Los Four artist collective. The two eventually married, and collaborated on one of the most famed Chicano murals, California Dreamscape. While Carlos was already highly recognized as an artist, this mural helped Elsa become an icon herself in the Chicano art community. After Carlos passed away, Elsa’s fame continued to grow. Her paintings have been shown, to critical acclaim, in museums and art houses in Hawaii, New York City, México, and beyond. In addition to solo exhibitions in New Mexico and Los Angeles, her paintings have been featured in group shows with other notable artists. JARI “WERC” ÁLVAREZ Born January 27, 1980 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México

Resides in El Paso, Texas

Art by Jari “Werc” Álvarez is influenced by border culture, because he was born in México and grew up in Texas; and graffiti, his urban teacher, because the streets were his training ground as an artist. His paintings, collages and designs are based on inspirations derived from broader issues of labor, border culture, logos, symbols, architecture, urbanization, and nostalgic humor among immigrant cultures. Álvarez is specifically inspired by the creative informal economies of street vendors, the archetypal language of design, and the beauty of developing sustainability in communities. In his paintings, he explores aspects of duality and the politics of identity by hunting and gathering found objects that later become part of his creations. Inherent in all of Werc’s art, there is a response to negative customs, and a re-affirmation of consciousness that create artworks that reflects social change. CARLOS DONJUÁN Born April 17, 1982 in San Luis Potosi, San Luis, México

Resides in Dallas, Texas

The work of Carlos Donjuán combines several subcultures that he find fascinating, rich in content, diverse, and always changing – graffiti, street fashion, and underground music. Through his art, he seeks to interpret and, in some way, glorify people who are part of these movements. Many of his paintings incorporate classical portraiture with the transformative elements of graffiti art, mixing the old and the present to make something new. For him, it’s important to create work that showcases his art training, both from academia and the streets. His intent is to present and represent underground subcultures as a way to document today’s history through art because it grows and changes every day. Donjuán received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Texas, San Antonio and a Master of Fine Arts from University of Texas, Arlington. To date, his work has been shown in group exhibitions in California; Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Austria. 76

ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ Born February 12, 1981 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, México

Resides in San Francisco, California

Growing up in Mexico, Ana Teresa Fernández learned at an early age about the double standards imposed on women and their sexuality. Her paintings in this exhibition accentuate the idea of disposable labor resources by portraying performances of cleaning. The works subvert the typical folkloric representations of Mexican women by changing the protagonist’s uniform to the quintessential little black dress, a symbol of American prosperity and femininity and of the Mexican tradition of wearing black for a year after a death. Fernández’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, as well as in Haiti, Costa Rica and México. She was a recipient of the Murphy Cadogan Award from the San Francisco Arts Commission and was also chosen for the National Association Latino Art and Culture Award. She received her Masters of Fine Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. MARGARET GARCÍA Born September 20, 1951 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Margaret García has said that her work “provides a look at my community through the presence of the individual,” and her desire is for her work “to be pertinent and meaningful.” Although she does not consider her portraits overtly political, over time, she has come to realize that their very specificity belies the stereotypes given to any one culture by the media. In addition to her portrayals of sensual women of mixed race, she recently completed a series of street scenes and landscapes, depicting the Highland Park neighborhood where she lives. A teacher and a mentor to many young artists, García studied at California State University, Northridge; Los Angeles City College; and the University of Southern California where she attended the graduate program in fine arts. Her work has been exhibited in group shows throughout the United States and in Europe, and has been published extensively. García teaches and lectures extensively on art in different cultures. YOLANDA GONZÁLEZ Born February 10, 1964 in Pasadena, California

Resides in Alhambra, California

Yolanda González originates from a family of artists dating back to 1877. Creating works of art professionally for the last 25 years, her work leads viewers through a world of imagination and emotion. It consists of strong bold brush strokes, color and texture. Her world is one of curiosity and love for people and their realms. González’s travels in different countries and diverse cultures, the bonds that she has forged with individuals in those cities, and those life experiences are reflected in her art, and, indeed, in her life. She visualizes and expresses the beauty and strength that has been bestowed upon us culturally and universally. González has exhibited her works in Russia, Japan, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Africa, and throughout the United States. Prestigious art institutions have displayed her work such as the Armand Hammer Museum, MOCA at Geffen Contemporary, Diego Rivera Museum, and Art Institute of Chicago Museum. JACINTO GUEVARA Born August 26, 1956 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in San Antonio, Texas

Jacinto Guevara is an artist known for representational paintings of urban landscapes and life portraits – what he calls “celebrations of architecture, plants, animals, and even passersby.” He spent his childhood in East L.A.’s Maravilla Housing Projects (known as “La Rock Maravilla”) and later, after studying at California State University, Northridge, moved to San Antonio, Texas in 1992 to further his dual career as a painter and as a musician (he plays the genre of Mexican music known as conjunto, and is listed in the credits for performing in Cheech Marin’s film, Born in East L.A.). His first important exhibition was in 1990 at the Palmetto Gallery, founded by the mural art collective East Los Streetscapers. Of notable interest were his early paintings of the now-gone Temple Beaudry neighborhood, which he produced between 1987 and 1990. His artworks are found in notable private and university collections. ROBERTO GUTIÉRREZ Born October 15, 1943 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Known as the chronicler of East Los Angeles—past and present, Roberto Gutiérrez uses striking imagery, mostly in black-and-white, but also in vivid colors. He was born in Los Angeles in 1943 as the youngest of nine children to a father who worked in the railroad yards and as a dishwasher. His family’s lack of resources stimulated his interest in simple and accessible things. He studied at Roosevelt High School and then went to the Philippines and Vietnam as a member of the United States Marines. Because of the G.I. Bill, he was able to attend East Los Angeles Community College. Gutiérrez’s work has been widely shown in galleries throughout the Southwest and extensively distributed through the medium of posters depicting el barrio and Los Angeles. His deepest source of satisfaction comes from the knowledge of who he is and what he has to offer the community—a vision of life with all its glorious hues. 77

ADÁN HERNÁNDEZ Born October 15, 1951 in Childress, Texas

Resides in San Antonio, Texas

The son of migrant workers, Adán Hernández has been actively painting for more than three decades. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States, México, and Spain. Hernández’s art merges neo-expressionism with “Chicano noir”. His aesthetics 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 is celebrated in films, is a common occurrence.” For the 1993 cult-classic, Blood In…Blood Out, he was commissioned by film director Taylor Hackford (La Bamba) to create more than 30 paintings and drawings. In 2006, he published his first book, Los Vryosos: A Tale From the Varrio, which contains over 40 images of his art. LEO LIMÓN Born April 14, 1952 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Nicknamed “L.A. River Catz” artist by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Leo Limón is well known for his cat faces painted on storm-drain covers that channel into the Los Angeles River. His work on paper primarily deals with the indigenous ideals of the heart (corazón) and incorporates many Aztec symbols. Limón considers himself a cultural worker and an arts ambassador for East Los Angeles and the Chicano community. While still in high school, he was influenced by and involved with Los Four, especially Carlos Almaraz. During his time with Self-Help Graphics, a community-based visual arts center, Limón helped to develop the annual celebration of Día de Los Muertos and the Atelier Printmaking Program. In addition, he helped to establish the Aztlan Cultural Arts Foundation, Inc., to pursue his commitment to youth in his community. He has also worked with the MeChicano Art Center and the Centro de Arte Público. JOSÉ LOZANO Born November 27, 1957 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Fullerton, California

While born in Los Angeles, José Lozano spent his early childhood in Juárez, México. His work is fueled by what he calls his “cultural touchstones” acquired as a child in México—things such as bad Mexican cinema, fotonovelas, wrestling, crime magazines, ghost stories, and musical genres such as rancheras and boleros. His family moved to Los Angeles in 1967 where he attended Belvedere Elementary. With encouragement from various teachers, he began focusing on drawing and painting. As a graduate student at California State University, Fullerton, he began creating not-always-flattering depictions of his neighborhood residents in situations such as quinceañeras, weddings, demonstration parties, and baby showers. He received his Master of Fine Arts in 1987. GILBERT “MAGU” LUJÁN Born October 16, 1940 in Stockton, California

Died July 24, 2011 in Arcadia, California

Gilbert “Magu” Luján was born near French Camp, California, a migrant farm workers’ village, and moved to East Los Angeles around the beginning of World War II. He first began painting murals in East Los Angeles in the early 1970s. In 1973, he joined with Frank Romero, Carlos Almaraz, and Roberto de la Rocha to found Los Four. Los Four collaborated on numerous murals and on other public art installations throughout California during the next ten years, and had a major influence in defining Chicano art in California. Luján has exhibited his paintings and sculptures in numerous solo and group shows in the United States and abroad. JOE PEÑA Born August 16, 1971 in Laredo, Texas

Resides in Corpus Christi, Texas

Joe Peña’s work explores issues of ethnic identity, including aspects of cultural and family traditions. His latest body of work is inspired by still life studies of various Flemish painters and by his desire to portray delicate intricacies of such raw material – his interpretations uniquely tie the subject matter to his own heritage as the types of meat depicted are commonly prepared in Hispanic households. Peña regularly exhibits in galleries and museums nationally and internationally, and his work is in several prestigious public and private collections. After working ten years in New York City, he formerly was Public Arts Manager for the City of Corpus Christi and later assumed the role of Gallery Director for Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, which he continues today. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi where he also currently teaches courses in painting. 78

SANDY RODRÍGUEZ Born June 22, 1975 in National City, California

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Sandy Rodríguez’s paintings, drawings, installations, wearable art and performance are strongly influenced by issues of place, social justice, culture and “she-roes.” Selected past exhibitions that included her work were on view at Walter Maciel Gallery, Underground Gallery, The Intersection for the Arts, Tropico de Nopal Gallery, Avenue 50 Studio, Little Bird Gallery, Self Help Graphics, Plaza de la Raza Boathouse Gallery and Coagula Projects. Rodríguez was a founding member of the GALA Committee, whose guerrilla artworks have been exhibited at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA and at various venues throughout Europe and the Pacific Rim. The project was documented by PBS in the series Art 21. She frequently discusses her work live on radio shows; most recently, “The Sunday Show” with Berkeley’s KPFA 94.1 FM host Philip Maldari and “Suicide Girls Radio” with Indie 103.1 FM host Sam Doumit. FRANK ROMERO Born July 11, 1941 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Los Angeles, California & Mirmand, France

Los Angeles native Frank Romero was one of the founders of Los Four, a 1970s Chicano art collective whose creative collaborations helped bring La Raza to the attention of the mainstream art community. Los Four’s historic 1974 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) was the country’s first show of Chicano art at a major cultural institution. Although he is well-known as one of the city’s foremost muralists, today Romero is primarily a studio artist who lives and works in Los Angeles and France. He has shown extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and his work has been featured in several notable exhibitions, including Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge, Hispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters and Sculptors, and CARA—Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and LACMA are among the prestigious museums with his work in their permanent collections. SONIA ROMERO Born July 24, 1980 in Los Angeles, California Resides in Los Angeles, California Sonia Romero is a full-time artist living and working out of North East Los Angeles. Her public works include mural commissions for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Metro (MacArthur Park Station) and Community Redevelopement Agency. She’s had several solo exhibitions, including at the Vincent Price Museum, Avenue 50 Studio, and Self Help Graphics. Romero received her formal education from the Rhode Island School of Design, with an emphasis in printmaking. She is the daughter of renowned artists, Nancy and Frank Romero, and the granddaughter of Frank and Edith Wyle, founders of the Craft and Folk Art Museum. She is currently running a print shop and studio in Highland Park called She Rides the Lion. RICARDO RUIZ Born December 29, 1958 in Corpus Christi, Texas

Resides in Corpus Christi, Texas

Paintings by Ricardo Ruiz often include the themes of family, the cycles of life and death, and Mexican-American folklore. Whenever he needs a human presence in his work, he usually paints his family members from memory (as a child, his sister and brothers served as models, and as a father now, his three boys provide inspiration). The four paintings in this exhibition are from his Masotas series, inspired by childhood visits to his tia’s home, watching his older cousin Esmeralda, a party girl, and her friends get ready to go out. Images usually come to him in those moments between sleep and wakefulness – sometimes, they make no sense to him, and it’s only later when he is able to decipher and depict them visually. Ruiz creates what “Chicano art should be: well painted, familiar and mysterious” according to Cheech Marin. His work is in the permanent collections of the Art Museum of South Texas and the University of Texas. MARTA SÁNCHEZ Born March 12, 1959 in San Antonio, Texas

Resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In addition to her works on paper and metal, Marta 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 of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and a Bachelor of 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 México. 79

ELOY TORREZ Born January 27, 1954 in Albuquerque, New México

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Best known for his narrative style, Eloy Torrez is an artist, painter, muralist, and songwriter. Best known among his many murals is The Pope of Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, featuring Anthony Quinn. His studio work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, México, and Europe since 1978. Torrez was a recipient of a 2004 Fellowship for Visual Arts from the California Community Foundation, a 2004 Charlie Award for his public art from the Hollywood Arts Council, and a 1995 Brody Arts Fund Award. As an art instructor, he has taught children, teens, and adults at Self Help Graphics, Covenant House, and several other nonprofits in Los Angeles. The HeArt Project in Los Angeles honored him in 2007 for his work in mentoring youth. Incorporating contemporary folk rhythms and melodies, he composes original music, sings, and plays guitar. Torrez is the subject of an upcoming documentary film. JOHN VALADEZ Born July 15, 1951 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Monrovia, California

Los Angeles-born John Valadez was one of the founding members of the Public Arts Center in Highland Park, which was organized to provide studio space and access to cooperative mural projects. During the 1970s, Valadez often worked on murals with young people. He also created murals for the General Services Administration in El Paso, Texas and the Federal courthouse in Santa Ana, California. In 1980, Valadez was included in a group exhibition, Espina, at LACE Gallery, Los Angeles, where his work was seen by an owner of the Victor Clothing Co. who commissioned him to paint a mural. A year and a half later, he completed The Broadway Mural inside of the company’s 242 S. Broadway building, which remains one of the most extraordinary achievements to grow out of the mural movement. Valadez has had several solo exhibitions in Los Angeles galleries, as well as in San Francisco and New York. PATSSI VALDEZ Born December 31, 1952 in Los Angeles, California

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Best known for her colorful paintings, Patssi Valdez is a prolific artist who also produces watercolors, ceramics, gouaches, serigraphs, digital prints, installations, paper fashion, and short films. In addition, she has designed costumes and sets for theater and film. Her artistic influences range from her Chicano culture to her dreams and physical surroundings. Several prominent museums have works by Patssi Valdez in their collections, including the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.; Tucson Museum of Art in Arizona; San Jose Museum of Art in California, and El Paso Museum of Art in Texas. Throughout the course of her career, she has been awarded fellowships and grants from numerous prestigious institutions such as the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, Durfee Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Brody Arts Fellowship in Visual Arts. VINCENT VALDEZ Born September 7, 1977 in San Antonio, Texas

Resides in Los Angeles, California and San Antonio, Texas

Vincent Valdez first became exposed to fine art as a child through paintings by his late great-grandfather, José Maria Valdez, a realist painter from Spain. His first drawings were done on rolls of drafting vellum that his aircraft engineer father would bring home from work. “I would unroll the paper throughout the house, room to room, and fill it up. In the end, I had drawings that were 20 feet long.” At age 10, he picked up his first brush and began painting murals. Valdez attended Rhode Island School of Design where he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2000. Being far away from home significantly influenced the direction of his work. “Suddenly, there were no tacos … no Tejano music … and it was cold.” Since then, Valdez’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in major solo and group exhibitions. In 2005, he was a recipient of a prestigious residency at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. SERGIO VÁSQUEZ Born October 13, 1961 in Tecolotlán, Jalisco, México

Resides in Los Angeles, California

Sergio Vásquez says he paints “only people I love and for people I love.” He mostly uses the colors of skin tones in his art, surrounding them with vibrant blues and greens. He considers himself an “evolving American artist who happened to have been born in a colonial Mexican town.” He spent his childhood traveling between his home in México and Galveston, Texas with his widowed mother. Vásquez recalls drawing since he could remember, copying paintings from the backs of matchboxes (cerillos clásicos), which often featured miniature art reproductions from the Renaissance era. He studied at Academia Jorge Palomar in Guadalajara, México; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; and Los Angeles City College. Vásquez has had solo exhibitions in Southern California and has participated in numerous group exhibitions over the years. His work is included in the collections of notable museums, universities, and individuals. 80

Profile for Cheech Marin

Chicanitas Book  

Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection {size doesn’t matter} showcases 65 paintings by 26 painters in Cheech Marin’s c...

Chicanitas Book  

Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection {size doesn’t matter} showcases 65 paintings by 26 painters in Cheech Marin’s c...