I’ve taken a while to publish this post because I’m still short of words when talking about this experience. I was humbled to have an image I created in honor of Jose Montoya, the legendary Chicano poet and one of the founders of the Royal Chicano Air Force. Jose has always been a consistent inspiration for my work and life as a creator and activist. I’m deeply grateful to Richard Montoya and the Montoya family for warm welcome and support of my work. I’m also very grateful to collaborate with photographers Natalia Gonzalez and Hector Gonzalez, a dedicated documentarian of the Chicano Movement. The images in this print are inspired by photos from these two photographers. This serigraph was printed at Modern Multiples in Downtown LA with master printers Ivan Josue Alpuche and Richard Duardo, another inspiring creator, printer and community supporter. The Modern Multiples family was amazing to work with. I was also blown away by a surprise visit from one of my favorite artist John Valadez. And if this experience couldn’t get more surreal I made a road trip to Sacramento for a memorial celebrating Jose’s life and work at the Crest Theatre.
The energy at this event was high with the spirit. Dolores Huerta, Edward James Olmos, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Malaquîas Montoya (Jose’s brother), Ana Castillo, Louie The Foot, Rene Yañez, Paul Chavez & Arturo Rodriguez, Circulo de Hombres, National Compadre Network were amongst many other hard working community members, organizations, activists, artists, poets, and spiritual leaders in attendance to honor Jose Montoya, The General.
After the memorial I was blessed to finally meet Melanie Cervantes & Jesus Barraza, two creators and activist that I greatly respect and look to for inspiration. These two are on the front lines of many national and international social justice efforts. They create powerful work for their community and work hard for change. In addition to putting me up for a night, Melanie and Jesus also invited me to attend a printmaking workshop at TANA in Woodland near UC Davis with Malaquias Montoya. This was another inspiring experience to see the community space established by Malaquias, his son Maceo, and Carlos Francisco Jackson. I’ll have more photos and videos following this post about these other encounters.
I was grateful for the shout out Richard Montoya gave me in talking about this event and his other powerful work, including a recent film he wrote & directed, Water & Power. His interview can be found here: Richard Montoya - Words On A Wire Interview
I’m still struggling to understand this experience but I know it has changed and inspired me. I’m humbled and grateful for these blessings.