Valadez, Marin share Chicano art history with fans

AN ARTIST'S TALE-- Chicano artist John Valadez tells the story behind the painting to a crowd of art fans while walking through his exhibit "Santa Ana Condition." CN/YESENIA MARTINEZ
AN ARTIST’S TALE– Chicano artist John Valadez tells the story behind the painting to a crowd of art fans while walking through his exhibit “Santa Ana Condition.” CN/YESENIA MARTINEZ

By Alejandra Carrillo

Realist painter and muralist John Valadez, along with Chicano art collector Cheech Marin, welcomed fans to their book signing and gallery walk-through at the Vincent Price Art Museum last Saturday.

Valadez introduced his latest book called Santa Ana Condition: John Valadez, a collection of the Chicano inspired art currently in the exhibit of the same name.

“This book is 36 years of work,” Valadez said.

The book has murals and paintings that he’s done over the course of his career.

Marin signed his latest book of paintings and drawings from various artists called “Small Paintings Chicanitas from the Cheech Marin Collection.”

“It’s basically a catalog from a traveling show called Chicanitas that is in different museums all over the country. It is in the museum of the University of Wyoming right now,” Marin said.

Marin’s book features paintings from known and up-and-coming artists.

He says that this is a great opportunity to introduce new artists who are good at what they do.

After they met with fans, signed books and took pictures, Valadez and Marin walked through Valadez’s gallery.

Fans joined them into the gallery as Valadez explained where each painting and murals’ inspiration came from.

“I started drawing gente (people) from where I’m from. I draw and paint for myself, but I would always tell people ‘I dare you to like my paintings and I dare you to buy them.’ It was a great strategy to introduce my art,” Valadez said.

He started drawing and painting in black and white then followed it with photography.

“A photograph for me was like a sketch. I started drawing and photographing before Photoshop came along. I used to be my own Photoshop,” Valadez said.

Marin excused himself mid-walk-through, but Valadez continued telling fans about his works.

He explained how he went from “straight drawings” to “realistic drawings” and the different types of paints and canvases he uses for each.

His murals and paintings vary from pencil on paper to pastel on paper or oil on canvas, digital print on paper and black and white photography.

Valadez’s gallery will be shown at the VPAM until Dec. 7.

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