A History of Chicano/a Printmaking (Estampas de la Raza)


in the late 60s early 70s you have various movements what was the United Farm Workers movement which you know promoted the unification of all these workers to you know to demand for fair wages safe work environment so you had this movement that was growing that was taking place in the Central Valley here in the east side you had the walkouts where you know youth were demanding for equitable education you also had the killing of Ruben Salazar which to many was the silencing of a voice of a community civil rights movement was going on it was two years after the Chicano moratorium against the war in Vietnam that turned into a riot caused by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department now I remember carrying signs for the United Farm Workers boycotting grapes and a lettuce in our local neighborhood and all these different things happening at the same time really you know we’re really pushing for giving the community a voice printmaking became that voice so from that without the need to create a space create something that really provided artists with the resources to be able to produce the work I really talked about a lot of these issues and self-help was started with that premise in mind by a couple nuns and some artists in the East Side sister Karen Borga later was was the one that experien at this this idea of self hop graphics and so how graphics was a large Mecca because they have the archdiocese behind it and these two sisters that were pushing it and they had program money so there were all kinds of events for the community John Buchi became the master printer and I think I did my first one of silkscreen with him in 1993 perhaps over the course of 20 years I must have done 600 images that he pulled itself out graphics it was a first organized art organization that I knew existed that showed Latino Chicano artists and it was very community based so they would do events for the community around a lot of political movements or political issues that were affecting whether the community around self hug graphics or in Los Angeles in general this is important because one it gave the community and out there to share its message it gave the community an outlet to produce works that reflected what the community was going through whether it was you know issues of immigration issues of cultural identity Richard approached sister Karen who also went to school as a printmaker to set up a screen printing studio on the down there’s of self-help graphics so he apparently helped out with the creation of the screen printing Atelier was self help grab it self help really focused on under trained artists hearing that you side and and you know really nurturing the talent that we had here and that balance of east side at the west side of LA looking back it was really important to the elevation of Chicano art especially printmaking that West Side audience with money would come in and vibrates self-help graphics would have been the East Side that’s how yeh Richard would have had his small Atelier going on which was seventh Street which was a combination of West Side printing and galleries I definitely think that Richard is an icon he’s considered an icon and many areas in the art world Richard are those influence in printmaking goes beyond just the prints that are produced for Morin into the mentorship that he showcased to many other artists his guidance and how he nurtured or how he groomed the artists he worked with is really really important because from there you can see that lineage that’s created through the past forty years Richard have the ability to teach and did teach lots of emerging artists to do that you know where he’s worked with artists such as Shepard Fairey and Nestle yet in germs retina he can truly see his hand and how he really pushed these artists to do better and you know how to really learn the pre making medium and we produce our work in a way that’s very that isn’t just Chicano but it’s also Universal Richard really you know truly reflects what that term Chicano art for me years veena Chicano being a Chicano artists kind of starts at the root of thing and that’s the political identity to mean via Chicano artists is to make expressions that experience that reflected experience of being a Chicano by calling yourself a Chicano is a political statement to me and meant your Mexican heritage born in the United States silkscreen II was a medium that was easily reproduced inexpensive and easy to teach but it’s also very complex complex enough that print such as bolero familiar have become iconic because of the technical excellence of that prayer much of the work that that Richard also has done you know showcases the excellent expect the technical excellence of printmaking and that it can stand you know next to fine art painting it’s a fine art medium painted the original in a bunch of colors but in a serigraph you have to Eve each screen has a specific color and we narrowed it down to eighteen and I had to make eighteen stencils for each color little Familia is a really important piece because it showcases the beauty of a print but that print itself is very well executed and the technique that it took to do that really is really masterful so it touches on the key point about what is family and what is our chosen family and within the Chicano spectrum we see all those varieties and that that piece I think is emblematic of what a family can be and how we define it a collection of tapas analyst is important because truly represents what the Chicano Movement or the Chicano struggle is about like mr. Hernandez now frienda and assert Hernandez and raid images to very iconic and very important pieces to to Chicano art the Sun rate one speaks to the farmworkers movement the you know the UFW 90 farmworkers movement at that struggle work you know they were boycotting grapes no frienda speaks to the issue that some of the women within the Chicano Chicana Chicana world you know the the query issues that the idea of a mujer and what you know what that encompasses and the amount of respect that the Chicano community you know puts up or put towards our women the political environment at the stand isn’t much different than it was in the 60s and the 70s we have the black lives matter movement we have movement for ethnic studies within the school system we have you know all the different police brutality incidents across the country one of the voices that we keep seeing here in the East at is the lila mendez was that from being a filmmaker has also become a print maker i think the movement around immigration about you know violence black lives matter like these this is important and this is a medium that we can use to talk about things that really that are unjust in our society and so i think that’s really awesome to see this new generation of artists using it as a political political artwork and it’s not in a museum but that you can have it outside on the street on you know signs you can post we pasted it up like you have this very accessible images around the city and we can use that and poster making and using them in protests and marches it’s a mobile piece of artwork which is and it’s easy to reproduce and she’s really taking on the influence of Esther Hernandez son rates remix and taking the Cheerios spots and turned it into a clear we Rios print or she’s not only speaking about algae BT issues but also the issues of like the importance of our corn and keeping it as natural as organic as possible and I you know not the genetically modified corn that’s been you know kind of just pushed on us you you

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