Growing up in a Mexican-American working class family and community, I remember how important sports were to most of my friends and their families. Particularly, I so remember the early 90’s and seeing a lot of Raider, Charger, Chivas de Guadalajara and America jersey’s and of course those of the Dodger’s and their blue and white hats with the iconic LA blazoned on the front. But my immediate family was different. My dad who in the early 1990’s sold automotive paint and painted cars was surprisingly not that much into the usual sports but all except for BOXING! At that point in time I remember the gatherings at my house when there was a Julio Cesar Chavez fight, a De La Hoya fight or a Maromero Paez fight. My dad would bring the TV outside, set-up a bunch of chairs, roll out the grill, fire up the mesquite and lay down the marinated carne asada before the first round bell. I remember how much fun those days were and how much pride people had in the Mexican fighters.
One of my most vivid and cherished memories of anything to do with boxing was again in the early 90’s. My Tio Amando, who has now since passed away, was a janitor at an elementary school in Mexicali. One Friday night he had set-up one of the classrooms for the family to watch a fight. I remember my family bringing beer and food and seeing my grandparents struggling to sit in those combination seat/desk things and enjoying the fight. I think of all the loud cheering that went on during that fight. That’s when I think of what the sport of boxing means to me. To me boxing is a connection to my family, my community, my childhood.
For a while I stopped following the sport of boxing. I went to college and could never seem to find the time or a special place to the watch the fights. But I got back into viewing boxing when Manny Pacquiao began catching the reputation for his style and relentless fighting ability. Quickly I became a fan and started following his career. That’s when I learned about his trainer, the Legendary Freddie Roach and Wild Card Boxing Club. He not only trains Manny but he has trained numerous boxing legends including, Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Julio Cesar Chavez to name a few. Although many professional boxers and celebrities have entered through the doors into the humble surroundings of this club, there is no pretentious attitude that’s directed towards anyone. On my first visit as I walked up those stairs and into the Club, I saw a diverse crowd training here, boxers ranging of all ages, nationalities and gender. The Wild Card Boxing Club has a genuine welcoming spirit and the people Mr. Roach chooses to work with him also share that same quality.
I am humbled and honored to be given an opportunity to create a graphic art piece in collaboration with Freddie Roach and the whole Wild Card Boxing Club family. Originally the concept that I was given by WCBC was that they where interested in me creating a Mexcian themed graphic. I decided to create one of my iconic Dia De Los Muertos Calavera graphics with the theme revolving around boxing culture. While touring the Club, it was easy to notice that many flags of various countries were represented on the walls. They hung proudly as representatives proclaiming their respect and love for the sport of boxing. Although this was suppose to be a Mexican themed skull I wanted to make sure that this graphic is inclusive of the different nationalities that give so much to this rich culture. Hopefully it not only reflects my artistic feelings and love for the sport of boxing but to all those who love boxing as an art.
Not many people know that I spent sometime living in Echo Park. It’s a beautiful neighborhood full of life and struggle. At any given moment you can walk by a señora hustling by selling tamales and over hear hipsters talking about what coffee shop they want to hang out in. I got a lot of love for Echo Park, so when the opportunity to collaborate with Red Bull for their latagráfica mural project came up, I was excited to do it there. Echo Park has a long history of being a working class community. In the 60s, Cuban Refugees made it there home, along with raza in the 70s and 80s, but in the last few years, gentrification has changed it into a shadow of its former self.
I wanted to be intentional with the imagery for the mural and where it was going to be placed, that’s why I chose “El Centro del Pueblo”. El Centro provides social services to youth in the community to improve their quality of life, along with families living in Echo Park and the city of Los Angeles. They help meet the needs of the community in whatever shape or form that may take, which is why a lot of their programing is family inclusive. I was also excited that the building had the words "El Centro" on it since I am from the small city of El Centro, CA.
I decided on going with my calavera (sugar skull) in the tradition and spirit of Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead. The calavera is a reminder that death is a natural part of our lives and not something that should be mourned, but celebrated. Teacher and elder Ofelia Esparza once described to me last tres muertes (three deaths) we all under go in our lives: the moment we take our last breath, the moment our spirit leaves our bodies and lastly and the worst of all is when we are forgotten. That’s why we celebrate and honor the lives of our ancestors, to not forget them and to continue breathing life into the traditions and history passed down from one generation to the next.
I originally created the image for a canvas and limited edition prints in 2011. I used imagery and symbols that represented figures like Oscar Zeta Acosta, but also as symbols that serve as a reminder that Chicanas/os are indigenous people as well. The sacred heart comes from Catholicism, as a reminder of how the Catholic Church re-appropriated indigenous symbols and icons for their own gains. Having heart also means having strength, while the fire represents the spirit of ganas, knowledge, and resistance.
The wall was painted on September 5th and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Nick Bowers and Rob Zugala. I have a fear of heights, so I relied on the help of my friends and co-workers, who have also assist Shepard Fairey on most of his murals around the country and abroad, to complete the mural.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to leave this mural in Echo Park and to be working on this project. I can’t do this work on my own, and I just can’t talk about this project without giving thanks and shout outs to a few folks here and there:
- El Centro Del Pueblo for the wall and their work in the community
- Manny Rodriguez for getting the wall
- My brother Eddie
- My girlfriend Dolores for hanging out while the mural got painted
- The homie Picazo
- Tom & Billy for managing the Latagrafica Mural Project
- Red Bull Crew (Christian, Paula, Malverde and the rest of crew)
My mural is number 9 out of 10 in this series of murals that are all over Los Angeles. I’m blessed to be a part of this and to be in such great company with all the other artist participating.
Coloniam Deductam (of each color way Red and White)
Edition of 150.
Signed and Numbered
35 USD + Shipping
Prints are available for purchase here:
Purchase a set of both prints for 65 USD + Shipping and we will match your set.
I will be participating in a amazing group show titled "The Provocateurs" curated by Shepard Fairey and Art Alliance. The idea behind the show is showcase provoking art by provocative artists.
I decided to make a image on a issue that is never really discussed in mainstream media or in general outside of conscious circles. The issue or theme being COLONIZATION. Its never spoken of perhaps because it makes the dominant structure of this country a bit uncomfortable to discuss. Its easier to sweep it under the rug and call anyone who brings up the connection and legacy of colonization to the present status of people of color in this country. Its easier to say that people do not work hard enough, people are lazy, people are violent, people are uneducated, etc. etc. It is much easier to write those stories and discussions off than to step back and look at the truth. People in positions of power have a deep possessive personality when it comes to ever questioning the manner in how they where able to have certain privileges. Most privileged people want to believe that they worked hard to get what they have. American Nobility disguised in sincere "hard work" is a nice way to avoid owning up to the fact that this country was built by slavery on stolen land. No hate here, all love. I have a deep love for the truth and I believe that everyone should try and face the truth about this country's inception in a critical manner and go even further back to the colonization of Europe to see how the original cultures and languages were affected by colonization. I hope you all enjoy this piece. I hope for positive and thought provoking discussions on this matter in the future! Decolonize!
Prayer of the Ancestors
When I was about 10 or so, I remember having memories of my great grand parents and hanging out with them in the Rancho in the outskirts of Mexicali. I vividly remembered that when my great grandparents spoke to me they spoke in Spanish and also in another dialect or language. Since I was a very curious child and very eager to learn about myself and my family's history I asked my grandmother about the "other" language they spoke. My grandmother or as I referred to her "Mama Blanca" told me that they were speaking in Yaqui which I eventually learned is actually Yoeme but the people are Yaqui. Other than a few conversation here and there not much of my Yaqui ancestry was spoken about. In Mexico as like in many other societies and cultures that have been colonized there is sometimes shame about being indigenous or "non-white", so most people have assimilated into the "Mexican" identity and in many ways rejected the culture and languages of the ancestors. However, the rejection of the original ways did not start with "shame" it started as a means of survival. During and after the process of colonization people who lived in the cities tended to reject the traditional ways more and more. The introduction and in many ways force of the Catholic faith was a great tool to erase the original traditions. Not all indigenous nations or traditions where completely eradicated, to this day there are many tribes or nations that still live in there traditional ways in modern day Mexico. This is a true example of cultural perseverance and resilience. Over the years I have really tried to learn the TRUE version of History that was never taught to me in the public education system. The process of Decolonization I've sought to understand myself and my history by attempting to gather / reclaim / restore what was purposely erased through colonization. With that in mind those few conversations I had the privilege of having with my grandparents and great-grandparents about our relatives have become very important to me over time. In the past couple of years I have also come to realize how lucky I am to know exactly what nation some of my ancestors come from. Most Mexican-Americans have native or indigenous blood but most people do not know exactly what nation or even what languages are linked to them. This is not a coincidence, this is an example of Linguicide which happened during the colonization process. Taking into consideration that many people today who have indigenous ancestry may have little to no knowledge of their ancestral culture, traditions and languages, I wanted to create a image as a reminder that we are in fact indigenous and we cary the prayers of our ancestors within our spirit. This could be said about everyone on earth. Before Europe was fully colonized there where people living in harmony with earth and they didn't speak English! Decolonize! Honor the Ancestors! thanks-e
18"x24" screen-print. Edition of 150. Purchase Print here.
I created this image in order to honor Maiz or corn. As a people who are native to the continent where Maiz originates we identify as the people of the Maiz. In many indigenous nations Maiz or corn is a key element in the identity of the people. So if Maiz is gone so is the culture and heart of the people. Now a days companies like Monsanto have been desecrating our sacred relative by genetically modifying it. When our sacred relatives are harmed we are also harmed as a people and as a culture. About two years ago my good friend and fellow artist Jaque Fragua gifted me some Pueblo Corn Seeds that have been in his family for many generations. The seeds where never genetically modified and he asked me to keep them to myself and to not let them get in the wrong hands. It was a very special gift and it got me thinking of how rare these seeds where and how important they where to my friend Jaque. These seeds are not only seeds that grow corn. These seeds are a direct connection to Jaque and his ancestors, to his traditions, stories. Monsanto genetically modifying our seeds is a attempt to once again control our culture and destroy our connection to our ancestors and who we are as a people. Decolonize! thanks-e
18"x24" screen-print. Edition of 150. Purchase Print here.
FINALLY! After about 6 years of procrastinating and not working on my website I finally got it done! Since I worked on it myself there may be a few bugs, typos, etc. so if you catch anything please let me know by using the contact page. So let me get you upto speed. In 2011 I moved to Phoenix, AZ, in 2012 I moved to Austin, TX, and late last year I moved back to LOS ANGELES. This time I moved East of the river in Boyle Heights. I dig it here alot, It reminds me a lot of where I grew up except without all the country but the RAZA is definitely in the building haha. It is very inspiring to be back. I spent the last couple years enjoying living in the different parts of the country and just last month I finally made it out to Australia for about 3 weeks. So now that im back and getting settled in I decided to not sleep for about 5 days and knock out the new website start to finish. CON GANAS! I put all of my work up here (I might have missed some) and wrote some descriptions for selective works.
We have some very exciting projects and print releases coming up in the near future so stay tuned. If you wish to be kept up to date on print releases please subscribe to our newsletter here.
I really hope you enjoy check out the site and going through the work if you have any questions please feel free to contact us using the contact page. We go through all the mail that comes in as fast as we can. Thank you for your interest and your time. - ernesto