Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection


Carlos Almaraz, Elsa Flores Almaraz, Jari “Werc” Álvarez, Carlos Donjuán, Ana Teresa Fernández, Diane Gamboa, Margaret García, Cici Segura González, Yolanda González, Jacinto Guevara, Roberto Gutiérrez, Adán Hernández, Leo Limón, José Lozano, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, Gronk Nicondra, Joe Peña, Sandy Rodríguez, Frank Romero, Sonia Romero, Ricardo Ruiz, Leigh Salgado, Marta Sánchez, Eloy Torrez, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Vincent Valdez, Sergio Vásquez, Jaime “Germs” Zacarias.

About This Project

Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection {size doesn’t matter} showcases 70 paintings by 29 painters from this noted art collection.

Marin, the entertainer who is well known for his work in movies, television, and improvisational comedy, has been acquiring art for more than 20 years, and he has amassed one of the renowned collections of Chicano art in private hands. His most recent passion is collecting small paintings averaging 16 inches square and smaller in size. In contrast to other works in his collection representing and promoting the Chicano art movement of the mid-60’s and 70’s, the content of many of these small paintings leans more towards the artist’s internal or personal statement rather than as a response to political, social or cultural situations.

The paintings, which range from photo-realism to abstractions to portraits to landscapes, offer a window into the lives of the artists. Whether showing us a glimpse of their neighborhood as Margaret García does in her expressive paintings of a car wash, hair salon, grocery store and taco shop; or personal interests such as graffiti art, street fashion and underground music that influence the works of Carlos Donjuán; or peppered with mystery and a bit of humor as in Ricardo Ruiz’s four Masotas portraits based on family members; or making a statement about the double standards imposed on Mexican women as Ana Teresa Fernández does in “To Press I” and “To Press II;” or John Valadez’s underwater figure studies painted on ceramic tiles, each artist draws on his or her own upbringing, cultural heritage, education and life experiences for inspiration.

With a keen and eclectic eye, Cheech has acquired a collection of paintings by both established and emerging Chicano and Chicana artists. Appearing at first glance as a disparate grouping of paintings, Chicanitas begs the viewer to examine, interpret and appreciate each artwork individually. This reveals the true secret of the exhibition that the individual parts are greater than the whole and size doesn’t matter! The exhibition was organized by Melissa Richardson Banks. The full-color art book was published by CauseConnect.

Art talk by Cheech at Washington & Lee University on April 22, 2013 (NOTE: Cue up to 5:00 as that first part is all audience background)