Here’s your chance! Time to put that pen to paper. Chifladazine is one of the finest zines around.
Here’s your chance! Time to put that pen to paper. Chifladazine is one of the finest zines around.
I read this book of poetry last week. It is a short collection, and won’t take you long to work your way through it (I read it twice in about 80 minutes), but the poems are filled with good emotion, better nostalgia, and a recognition of a changing community. Some poems will make you chuckle, others offer a more introspective look into Lopez’s childhood. Very much worth the read, especially if you know the U.S. southwest culture.
L. Luis Lopez’s fourth collection of poems returns to the barrio in Albuquerque where the author grew up in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Each poem is a glimpse into the neighborhood characters who came and went from the small supermarket where he worked as a ‘sack boy’. With great simplicity the poems move from remembered description into small but vital illuminations of the important things in life.
Luis Lopez has published five books of poetry: Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy (Writers Digest Honorable Mention 2000), A Painting of Sand (2000), Each Month I Sing (American Book Award 2008) and First Place for Poetry (Colorado Independent Publishers Association (2008), Andromeda to Vulpecula, 88 Constellation Poems (2014), and More Musings of a Barrio Sack Boy (expected publication June 21, 2017).
Luis has also published poetry in numerous literary magazines like Karamu, The Americas Review, Pinyon, and anthologies like Geography of Hope, From the Heart, and others. Luis also has written a play, Dίa de Visitaciones staged with two runs in Albuquerque and one in San Antonio. His poem “Abiquiu” from A Painting of Sand was the inspiration for an orchestra composition titled Abiquiu by David Gillingham (Central Michigan University) December 2009.
Luis Lopez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the South Broadway neighborhood he grew up in, which he calls a barrio. He writes about the people of that neighborhood in three of his books and in his play. Dr. Lopez received his BA from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He received an MA from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in Medieval English Literature, having studied for two summers at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford, England. He was chosen to participate in two National Endowments, one in poetry with Dr. Helen Vendler at Harvard and one in the Literature of Suffering with Dr. Terence Tilley, professor at Duke University. He has also taught a National Endowment in the study of Poetry of the Southwest. He taught in the Academic Honors Program at the University of New Mexico. He was Director of the Academic Honors Program at Colorado Mesa University.
Original article by Carolina A. Miranda can be found here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/miranda/la-et-cam-undocumenta-marcos-ramirez-erre-20171107-htmlstory.html
On a rugged patch of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, news crews from all over the world have been documenting the rise of eight border wall prototypes that have materialized, like looming works of land art, in Otay Mesa.
Another wall, roughly 60 miles to the north, has received far less media scrutiny. It is crafted from 61 panels of corrugated metal bound together by steel beams. And in its crude, rusty aspect, it evokes the metal border fence that began to materialize along the international border near San Diego in the 1990s in an effort to curb illegal immigration.
Except this wall isn’t quite a wall, it is a work of art — and it is currently obscuring the Modernist facade of the Oceanside Museum of Art in downtown Oceanside.
The work, titled “Of Fence,” is an installation by artist Marcos Ramirez, known as “ERRE,” and is part of the group show “unDocumenta,” which takes the dynamism of the U.S.-Mexico border as a point of inspiration for works that explore issues of cultural, economic and political exchange.
As they are demolishing the one in Berlin, we are putting this up here. And that barrier is not going to hold anybody.
Marcos Ramirez “ERRE,” artist
On a sunny afternoon late last week, Ramirez could be spotted in work clothes and a tool belt wielding various power tools as he erected “Of Fence” on the facade of the museum.
The artist, who was born and lives in Tijuana, has watched the border harden over his lifetime, evolving from a simple barbed-wire fence to a corrugated metal barricade to various layers of wall made from metallic mesh and pillars.
“It’s a really ugly scar on the landscape,” Ramirez says of the border wall. “It doesn’t allow wildlife to go through.”
In fact, it almost prevented his art from getting through. The artist had prepped the panels for his work at his studio in Tijuana. Getting them through customs at the border took three days (two more than he had anticipated) and it delayed the installation of the work considerably.
“I don’t believe in borders,” Ramirez says. “Especially on a land that used to belong to that people. Like, ‘I’m going to take half your house and then I’ll build a wall so you can’t even look at it.’”
The border wall, he notes, ignores the dynamic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico — especially in California, which was once part of Mexico.
Independent curator Alessandra Moctezuma, who organized the exhibition, knows the relationship intimately. Living in San Diego, where she teaches at Mesa College, Moctezuma is from Mexico City and regularly crosses the border to visit family members in Tijuana.
“There is an interdependence of the two cultures,” she says. “We rely so much on each other — labor, culture, economics. [Ramirez] wants people to connect those dots.”
There is an interdependence of the two cultures. We rely so much on each other — labor, culture, economics.
Alessandra Moctezuma, curator, “unDocumenta”
Ramirez’s wall evokes other things too.
“This is a military community, really close to Camp Pendleton,” he says of the Oceanside location. “I hope it will make you inquire, ‘Is this the border fence or is this one of the training fences from Camp Pendleton?’
“It’s like, you don’t want people to climb those walls,” he adds, gesturing toward the southern border. “But you train your men to climb these walls.”
The “unDocumenta” exhibition brings together the work of six artists — three men and three women, from both sides of the border — to explore issues of politics, labor and culture in the border region. The show is part of the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibition series. Its title nods as much to issues of immigration as it does to the doings of the world of high art: a combination of “undocumented” and “Documenta,” the every-five-years exhibition held in Kassel, Germany.
The show, which was planned well before last year’s presidential election, couldn’t come at a more poignant political moment. The border was a defining issue of the presidential campaign. And building a border wall has been a defining issue of the Trump administration.
In recent years, the border has become a hotly debated topic for commentators, writers and artists. This fall, the French street artist known as JR created art installations along the border in Tecate and Tijuana: the former an image of a giant toddler looming over the border wall, the latter a cross-border picnic.
But “unDocumenta” seeks to go deeper than a one-off event.
“For these artists, the border has always been important,” Moctezuma says. “It has affected people’s lives for decades.”
Moreover, the border is something that has ingrained itself in the psyche of both U.S. and Mexican border communities in different ways.
“When you are in Mexico, [the border wall] is integral,” she says. “It is right there. The city goes against it. You can touch it. You can paint it. It is present — and because it’s present you can act on it.
“But on the U.S. side, it’s actually hard to get up close to it, because of the militarization.”
The exhibition features a piece by Mexican-born artist Ana Teresa Fernández, who in 2012 painted over a section of the border wall on the coast to make it appear invisible from the Tijuana side. By covering the columns in blue paint, the wall blended in with sky and ocean — making it seem as if there was a momentary gap.
“Ana Teresa, she literally embraces [the wall] in her work,” Moctezuma says. “She has to rest her body against it to paint. It becomes part of who you are.”
Other works in the show get at the exchanges that happen between the U.S. and Mexico — wall or no wall.
Dominic Paul Miller, who was based in San Diego before moving to New York, worked with a labor rights group to create a collaborative piece with maquiladora workers in Tijuana. Together they crafted a series of abstract drawings inspired by the patterns of circuitry boards, which are manufactured by Mexican workers for American companies in Tijuana.
“It is,” says Moctezuma, “about the dynamics between the two countries.”
Likewise, an installation by Tijuana artist Omar Pimienta looks at the issues of culture that bind the two countries.
One early sketch of the Statue of Liberty by its creator, French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, featured Liberty standing on a pyramid, an architectural form favored by various pre-Columbian cultures in the Americas. Pimienta has used that drawing as a point of inspiration for a series of Liberty statues — both small and large-scale — that stand on pyramids.
“It’s this idea of the U.S. being built on the indigenous and the pre-Columbian,” Moctezuma says. “If you had built the statue according to Bartholdi, that’s what it would have looked like.”
Ramirez has spent much of his career engaging issues of the border in his work. In the 1990s, he placed a two-headed Trojan Horse sculpture called “Toy An-Horse” on the San Ysidro-Tijuana border crossing — a nod to mutual exchange and invasion. Last summer, for a project titled “DeLIMITations,” he and artist David Taylor mapped and marked the boundary of the 1821 U.S.-Mexico border, when areas such as California, Arizona, Texas and even pieces of Kansas were still part of Mexican territory. (That work was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.)
This spring, he teamed up with artist Margarita Garcia Asperas for an installation and performance titled “Re/flecting the Border.” For that event, a dinner table was placed on the Mexican side of the border wall and a meal was served. A mirror placed up against the wall reflected the impromptu dinner party back on itself — giving it the appearance of a cross-border dinner party. (A work that serves as important precursor to JR’s border picnic, held six months later.)
Ramirez hopes his work — both the installation on the museum’s facade and the two smaller border-themed pieces he has in the show — will get viewers to think about the dynamics of exchange over separation.
“As they are demolishing the one in Berlin, we are putting this up here,” he says of the border wall. “And that barrier is not going to hold anybody. The people in Central America and Mexico, their resources are being taken. Where did that wealth go? It came here. It went to Europe. So people come here to get a share of that.”
Moctezuma says it can seem hopelessly utopian to think of dissolving the border between the U.S. and Mexico at a time when 30-foot border wall prototypes are being built near the international boundary.
“But think of Europe — they got rid of their borders,” she says. “And you couldn’t have imagined that 50 years ago.”
In the meantime, Ramirez — like a good tijuanense — is resolutely practical about the many possible uses of his work.
What will he do with all those corrugated metal panels when the exhibition comes down early next year?
He laughs: “I’ll take it back home and make a roof out of it.”
Gerald A. Padilla did this book review. The original can be found here: http://www.latinobookreview.com/latino-book-review–john-paul-jaramillo—little-mocos.html
A piercingly dark novel charged with extreme family trauma and poverty. Little Mocos by John Paul Jaramillo is the story of two cousins from Southern Colorado, Manito and Bea, who become products of a socially impairing environment that includes alcoholism, drug use, violence, sexual abuse, murder and more.
Throughout the story, Manito and Bea strive to survive and overcome their disturbingly precarious circumstances, their brutally dysfunctional family, as well as the harsh labor in the onion fields. As expected, both Manito and Bea find themselves stumbling into a pattern of unwise decisions before realizing the full extent and root of their reality.
Despite the facetious title and the cartoon illustration on the cover, this book is not intended for children, but for a mature audience with a palate for tough and somber-style narratives. Little Mocos, as the cover artwork suggests, depicts a grey and hazardous world with only a flower of hope sprouting defiantly against all odds.
John Paul Jaramillo has appeared in several publications, including The Acentos Review, Palabra A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Arts, and Somos en Escrito. He was named an International Latino Book Award Finalist in 2013.
Little Mocos is a publication by Twelve Winters Press and can be purchase through Amazon. Click here to purchase.
XXIII Graduate Colloquium of Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures
Call For Papers
Transcending Categories in the Hispanic/Latinx World
The graduate students of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin are pleased to announce the XXIII Graduate Colloquium to be held on March 30- 31st, 2018. This colloquium will examine the dialogue and discourse of crossing and the intersection of subjectivities across underrepresented groups in the Hispanic/Latinx world.
At its broadest this colloquium asks: Who are we/they? How does one become constituted as a we or a they? How does an “I” intersect with an “Other”? And how do the various subjectivities within an “I” or a “we” intersect culturally and linguistically? What part does language play in these crossing of socially constructed categories? In recent years, the fields of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and indigeniety have proposed an array of theories to contend with these questions. We invite collaborators to delve into, explore and build upon the latest theorizations on these topics from a plurality of perspectives. Papers on literature, linguistics, cultural studies and interdisciplinary work are all welcome. Presentations may be given in Spanish, Portuguese or English.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
– Identity, Subjectivities, and Assemblage Theory
– Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Dis/ability,
– Colonial history, Indigeneity, and critical race theory
– Transnationalism, borders, and immigration
– Literature, Film, Music, New Media
– Visual, Sound and Performance Studies
– Geographic, Political, and Spatial Configurations- Pedagogy, Education, Technology
– Languages across cultures
Deadline and Proposal Guidelines: Submit an abstract of up to 300 words by December 30, 2017 to email@example.com Include your name, “Conference Proposal” and either “Linguistics,” “Hispanic,” or “LusoBrazilian” in the message subject line. Please attach two documents, one with your name, affiliation, e-mail address and title of presentation, and a second document with title and abstract only as a .pdf or MS word file.
Original post by Catherine Womack, Catherine Wagley and Liz Ohanesian for LA Weekly found here: http://www.laweekly.com/arts/best-things-to-do-in-la-this-week-nov-10-through-nov-16-8816826
As the Getty’s expansive arts initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA opens in dozens of cultural institutions across Southern California, L.A. Weekly reached out to a few Latinx artists to learn about their own experiences creating artwork that uses identity as inspiration.
Chicano art legend Frank Romero on the genesis of “a strange phenomenon called Chicano art”
Born in East L.A. in 1941, Frank Romero was a founding member of the influential Chicago art collective Los Four, and his art — in which cars and L.A. landscapes figure prominently — has become iconic. Earlier this year, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach exhibited “Dreamland,” a retrospective of his work. He currently splits his time between L.A. and Paris.
My background is Hispanic. I had two brothers and 163 cousins. My mother is one of 14 children. So I always say that half of East Los Angeles is related to me.
My mother always had an inkling that I was visually gifted. I had teachers who were very strong influences. My fourth-grade teacher was a Sunday painter, Mrs. Martin, and she encouraged art — that’s one of my earliest memories.
I was a member of the first freshman class at Cal State L.A. And the best thing that happened to me there was that I met Carlos Almaraz in 1959. He wanted to work for Walt Disney as an illustrator. I took him aside and said, “No, you want to be a painter.” So in a sense, I created Carlos. And he and I became best friends and shared living spaces and studios for the next 30 years. Of course, Carlos died of AIDS 20 years ago.
Carlos was convinced of this strange phenomenon called Chicano art. The history of Chicano art starts with the walkouts at Garfield High. Carlos was much more aware of that because he was a graduate of Garfield. I’m a graduate of Roosevelt High. It was Carlos who brought in Gilbert Luján and Gilbert brought in Robert de la Rocha, whose son is Zack from Rage Against the Machine. Of course, Zack was just a 9-year-old kid in those days. Anyway, that’s how we got together as Los Four.
In the 1980s, Suzanne Muchnic wrote a critique of my work in the L.A. Times. She called my style “bravura.” I guess in a sense it is. Everyone always says, “The colors are so bright.” I think it’s just my Mexican heritage. I like bright colors. I paint straight out of the tubes. I do very little mixing of paint.
I also had a very active career in graphic design. I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I worked for Louis Danziger and Charles Eames.
In the early days, like for the Los Four exhibition at LACMA in 1972, I designed all the posters. For that exhibit, I designed a catalog that looks like a giant serape. In those days, it sold for 50 cents. I’ve seen one on sale recently for $1,700.
Now I’m 76 and I’m the world’s oldest Chicano artist. My best friend, Carlos Almaraz, is having a show at LACMA. I was involved in the Pacific Standard Time they did a few years ago. And now I’m involved in this one.
I’m living in France half the year now. My wife is a Francophile and so I said yes, I would go. Diego Rivera went to Paris and hung out with Picasso, so I had to do it.I understand everything my neighbors say because French is similar to Spanish, but it is very difficult to pick it up. My solution is to buy French pornographic comic books and read them. It’s actually helping. —as told to Catherine Womack
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS: A CULTURAL LEGACY, PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE | Self Help Graphics & Art, 1300 E. First St., Boyle Heights | Through Feb. 24, 2018 | selfhelpgraphics.com
PLAYING WITH FIRE: PAINTINGS BY CARLOS ALMARAZ | LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire | Through Dec. 3 | lacma.org
Chicana self-portrait photographer Laura Aguilar on stumbling onto inspiration
Laura Aguilar has been photographing her community and her body in Los Angeles since the early 1980s. Her former college professor, Sybil Venegas, curated her solo exhibition, “Show and Tell,” at the Vincent Price Museum of Art.
I grew up in the suburbs, in Montebello, where we were the only Mexican family on the block. When I got to East L.A. College, I started finding out about the Chicano community and art. I went to a class called Chicano Studies, and I started laughing, because I grew up not using that phrase. My father was first-generation, born here, and all about being American. At the end of the first Chicano Studies class, the instructor, Sybil Venegas, was talking about Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, [David Alfaro] Siqueiros, [José Clemente] Orozco — all about Mexican modern art. I started going to art openings with Sybil.
Then I started meeting other artists. I would photograph them, because it’s always easier for me to talk from behind a camera than in front of it. Pretty much everything in my life that turned out to be good is something that I stumbled into.
And then I started doing nudes. I was house-sitting for a friend whose name is Sandy. I’m in her bedroom, I’m naked, I have the windows open and there’s sun and it’s summertime, and there’s a fan, and I’m sitting there naked and I have a soda in my hand. I called this photograph In Sandy’s Room. That’s one that got me in a lot more shows than I thought I would be in.
Everybody always asks me about [how I started photographing in the desert], but I just went to the desert and I needed to do some new work. I went to New Mexico the first time I did a self-portrait series, because I had a commitment.I called my friend who lives in New Mexico, and I said, “I need to do some work to send to England,” and I came down to New Mexico. For two days, we did nudes, and then for the last piece from that series, I was standing somewhat close to a dirt road and this truck is coming and you can see the dust flying, and I’m going, “Give me my clothes!” She threw them at me. She went to the dirt road. She came back and said, “The old man and his dog had these big smiles because they saw you naked.”
A lot of my bodies of work are just an idea — “let’s see what happens” — and then it grows. I just trip into things, and things work for me, and I just want to trust that. —as told to Catherine Wagley
LAURA AGUILAR: SHOW AND TELL | Vincent Price Art Museum, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park | Sept. 16-Feb. 10 | vincentpriceartmuseum.org
San Francisco–born artist Shizu Saldamando found her artistic home in L.A. subculture
Born in San Francisco and raised in the Mission District, Shizu Saldamando moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA in 1996. Here, she became known for her portraiture, specifically her depictions of the city’s alternative culture. For Pacific Standard Time, Saldamando, who is of Japanese and Mexican heritage, will have six pieces showing in “Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City and São Paulo.” She also will have works appearing in PST: LA/LA shows at Self Help Graphics and Chapman University Art Gallery.
I don’t know if I would do the same work had I not grown up in San Francisco. I think growing up in San Francisco allowed me to appreciate the really specific scene of L.A., the punk scene and the goth scene.
It was predominantly white people in those scenes up in the Bay. Of course, there are exceptions, always, but it predominantly was. I still felt like a minority going to those things. Being from the Mission District, I definitely felt different.
In L.A., it was interesting because it was predominantly Chicanos or Mexican-Americans that were in every scene. It felt really normal to be a part of those scenes.
When I was in high school in San Francisco, I would draw my friends a lot for art projects. So, in L.A., it was a natural progression that I would do that here. Then, being in the scenes, I would happen to draw my friends that I would hang out with and that was my makeshift family and community.
If I grew up in L.A., I would probably take it for granted that the majority [of Los Angeles] is people of color. I think that the artists that come up in L.A. kind of do that. They are free to explore different things that aren’t tied to representation because they do see themselves already when they go out.
My parents are both activists. They’re both very political-minded people, very assertive about that. They beat it in my brain, both sides of my heritage and being proud of it. I never really was confused.
I grew up with a lot of political art, and I think that’s another reason I choose to depict friends and people I hang out with rather than activists or Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera or someone like Cesar Chavez. I took that for granted because I was already exposed to art like that.
I think I’m trying to question the notion of exceptionalism within communities of color, like, you have to be this perfect example, a shining star of perfection, assimilation or radicalism. You can be a kid that gets drunk on the weekend, and goes to shows and still be human and relatable and deserving of equal rights.
I think I’ve always done political work, just by depicting people of color that aren’t normally depicted anywhere at all. I’m not going to kid myself that what I’m doing is going to change the world or anything. It’s just art. I’m not proclaiming that I’m doing anything incredible but, in my mind, there’s definitely a reason why I do what I do. —as told to Liz Ohanesian
TRANSPACIFIC BORDERLANDS: THE ART OF JAPANESE DIASPORA IN LIMA, LOS ANGELES, MEXICO CITY AND SÃO PAULO | Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo | Sept. 17-Feb. 25 | janm.org/exhibits/transpacific-borderlands
Peru-born artist Kukuli Velarde on discovering indigenous people’s shame
Philadelphia-based artist Kukuli Velarde was born in Cuzco, Peru, and raised in Lima. Her work often draws inspiration from pre-Columbian art and explores the impact of colonization on Latin America. For PST: LA/LA, Velarde’s installation Plunder Me, Baby will be showing with a few other of the multidisciplinary artist’s works at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona.
My parents were very interested in preserving and being proud of our cultural roots, which, at the time of my upbringing, was a difficult task. To be proud of who we are — more than to be proud, to love who we are — was not fashionable in Peru. Now, people are beginning to respect and love those things that make us different, but for many years, there has always been this desire to be like the colonizer, to follow, to look beyond to the ocean, to the other side where we had never been but where everybody says that it’s better. My parents were “Peruvianists,” if that word exists, and in our home, it was always important to recognize our cultural background.
We had somebody who was taking care of the house chores [named Lorenza] and I remember we went to a festivity that was happening somewhere in Lima and there were some dancers. The dancers were speaking Quechua to each other. My father was not there at the moment and I asked Lorenza, “What are they saying?” She looked at me with anger and she told me that she didn’t speak Quechua. Now, I knew she did. I was 8 or so, and I realized that she was not going to acknowledge that part of her being.
That was something that followed in my mind, that shame that many people have to belong to the mountains, to be part of that part of the country and the humiliations that these people have to go through when they come to the city. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s a reality. It’s not one case every hundred years, but it’s something that happens daily even now, that you can see people are ashamed.
When I did Plunder Me, Baby, I thought about how this part of us, these beautiful pre-Columbian pieces, are loved and respected and admired in a museum like the Metropolitan [Museum of Art], or any other museum, while the people who made them are denied to come to live here. For instance, like what is happening now with immigration. The human beings are always left aside.
Plunder Me, Baby is a series that I began around 2006. They are to work as an installation. This series, or this installation, is supposed to be a group of pre-Columbian pieces that are waking up in a museum for the first time in many, many years, and they are having different reactions to their new surroundings. Some of them are upset, angry. Some of them are hysterical. They don’t know where they are, who are the people surrounding them.
The titles are all slurs that are used everywhere in Latin America to show disdain. I painted my face because if I use other people’s faces, I felt like it could be interpreted like I was using the slurs toward them. I felt that it was necessary for me to own those titles. —as told to Liz Ohanesian
PLUNDER ME, BABY | American Museum of Ceramic Art, 399 N. Garey Ave., Pomona | Sept. 16-Jan. 28 | amoca.org/kukulivelarde
I’m happy that one of my favorite zines, St. Sucia is getting love in this article.
Original article by Liz Ohanesian found here…
Back in 2010, comics creator Javier Hernandez was walking around San Francisco with his friend Ricardo Padilla when he had an idea: Why don’t they build a comics convention focusing on the works of Latino artists and writers? Hernandez, best known for his comic El Muerto, had been working independently since the late 1990s. He could make that happen. A year later, the first Latino Comics Expo took place at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. It was a hit that eventually moved to Southern California and into Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art. On Nov. 11 and 12, Latino Comics Expo returns for its annual event with guests Los Bros Hernandez (of Love and Rockets fame), director Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer), graphic novelist Cathy Camper (Lowriders in Space) and many more.
Latino Comics Expo isn’t the only such event in the country. Last summer, Texas Latino Comic-Con launched in Dallas. Later this month, the East Coast will get its first Latinx comic convention when Nerdtino opens in Philadelphia. Hernandez points out that there are also conventions dedicated to comics specifically from black and Native American artists. All that points to the diversity within the comic book world that goes beyond what you see in big-budget superhero movies.
Hernandez, who is based in Whittier, recalls his introduction to comics as a child in the 1970s. His brother had passed along a stack of DC and Marvel titles his way. “Of course, when I got done reading that stack over and over, I made my way over to the local 7-Eleven and started buying my own comics,” he says in a phone interview. One of the comics he remembers reading as a child was Marvel’s White Tiger, which followed a superhero who was Puerto Rican. The character’s co-creator and artist was George Perez, famed today for his work on series like Wonder Woman and Teen Titans.
Eventually, Hernandez gravitated toward making comics himself. In 1998, he released El Muerto. “I decided to self-publish because I didn’t want to work for a mainstream company. I wasn’t looking to be the 100th artist on Thor. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what I wanted to do,” he says. “I wanted to do my own stories and I wanted to do stories from my perspective as a Mexican-American. I wanted to delve into Mexican culture.”
When he began working on El Muerto, though, he noticed something else: “I started noticing self-publishing Latinos making comics, where now it wasn’t just they were working on Spider-Man or Daredevil, but they’re creating characters that represent them as Mexican-Americans or Latinos or what have you, giving it a cultural twist.” He found artists like Carlos Saldaña, from Los Angeles, who created the comic Burrito, Texas-based Richard Dominguez of El Gato Negro and Laura Molina of Jaguar. Hernandez himself had drew upon Aztec mythology and Day of the Dead for El Muerto.
Hernandez has had success with El Muerto, which was adapted into a movie back in 2007. “It’s a long, winding and difficult road, self-publishing, because one of the main things is that you’re paying for your own printing and marketing and conventioneering,” he says. “Having done it for almost 20 years now, I don’t see any other way for me to do it. I love doing my own work at my own pace and putting it out on my own.” Currently, he’s finishing work on Daze of the Dead, a retelling of El Muerto’s origin story that is due to hit local shops soon.
It’s the indie comics spirit that Hernandez brings to Latino Comics Expo. In addition to co-founding the event, he’s the creative director of the convention, bringing together artists and organizing the panel discussions. This year, he notes that Latino Comics Expo, fans of Love and Rockets will get a special treat with appearances from all three of the brothers behind the series, Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez. He speaks with excitement in his voice when he talks about the talent heading to this year’s event. Cathy Camper, from Lowriders in Space, will be on hand to teach a workshop on making mini-comics. Isabel Castro and Natasha Hernandez, from Texas, are coming with their zine St. Sucia. Jean Marie Munson and Melina Chavarria, the duo behind the comic book The Magic Glasses, will be among the panelists as well. Their own comic centers around a Latina from Compton. “It’s a book made for young girls of color,” Hernandez says. “That’s a long way from Iron Man comics.” Moreover, there will be podcasters, like the Comadres y Comics team, on hand and illustrators who don’t work on comics. “I’m looking to create a very rich experience for us, but also for the fans, the attendees,” Hernandez says.
Hernandez also stresses that anyone can attend Latino Comics Expo. That’s a question he’s been asked before. “We assembled the Latino creators, or Latino content, at the expo,” he explains, “but everybody should come.”
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The LCG Lounge seeks to do interviews with artists of all disciplines! If you have an upcoming release, let us know!
We are also seeking out audio/video and visual content, as well as video readings of poetry, plays, and stories, so if you are a musician, artist, filmmaker, poet, playwright, screenwriter, or prose writer, send us your submissions or interview requests!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Valley of Resistance: New Poets of the Rio Grande Valley is the working title for an upcoming print anthology composed of poets born in, raised in, or transplanted to the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. The RGV is a unique landscape that has long been a site of migration and emigration, a meeting place and mixing-zone of peoples and cultures that has birthed a significant literature of resistance, including Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.
Although there are numerous anthologies that include poets from the RGV, we still do not have ONE anthology that can be the go-to text for readers, students, and scholars. The goal is to make Valley of Resistance the definitive anthology of RGV poets.
The anthology will be critically contextualized within the history of resistance in the Rio Grande Valley, be it social or literary. Questions such as “What is the work resisting?” and “What is it embracing?” will help guide the organization of content and open possibilities for thematic arrangements that trace the complex palimpsest of peoples and histories in this storied landscape. However, the subject matter, themes, and styles of the poems are wide open; the only requisite is that the poet is connected to the RGV in some essential way.
1. Submit 5-10 poems in one word document to email@example.com
3. Send your BEST: new or previously published (By submitting, you guarantee you own the rights to the work. If previously published, credit source/s of publication).
4. A bio written in third person
5. Contact information