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The next renaissance: Latino

Works of these artists are still within reach

If you want to find the next wave of artists, look to East L.A.

“Many people may not be willing to leave the Westside,” says Latino artist Camille Rose Garcia, who now receives up to $30,000 for her paintings. “But the smart buyers from New York go straight to the art schools and straight to Self-Help.”

Self-Help Graphics & Art was founded more than three decades ago in a garage in East L.A. Now occupying half a city block on Caesar Chavez Blvd., Self-Help supports Chicano and Latino artists with exhibition space, printmaking resources and professional workshops.

Gallery director Christina Ochoa has served as the Maxwell Perkins of Self Help, shining light on Garcia’s Disneyland gothic works and Raul Gonzalez’s “lowbrow” portrayals of gang life.

“Each generation helps the evolution,” she says. “They’re going to art school. There’s always going to be people that are more traditional in expressing the culture, but more and more incorporate cultural iconography in a contemporary way.”

The Smithsonian American Art Museum began collecting the work of Latino artists such as Patssi Valdez, Gronk and Charles “Chaz” Bojorquez in the 1990s, but not every institution saw a future in it. In 1993, painter Jose Ramirez was put on probation at Berkeley’s graduate arts program for producing work that was “too Mexican.”

Jose Ramirez makes colorful iconic paintings

Ramirez did work for Gregory Nava’s PBS series “American Family” and shows in the predominantly African-American gallery Tilford Art Group. Ramirez says the melding of cultures reminds him of the dialogue between Harlem and Mexico for folks like Diego Rivera and Jacob Lawrence.

Today, collecting seminal Latino artists means competing with art-buying heavyweights like Cheech Marin or Nala Films chairman Emilio Diez Barroso. However, the next wave of Latino artists are still within reach — for the moment.

Here, V Life Weekend‘s look at emerging Latino artists worth the investment.

Artist: Jose Ramirez
Gallery: Tilford Art Group (
Art: Colorful iconic paintings
Price: $800-$4,000
Industry fan: Gregory Nava

Camille Rose Garcia's artwork is available at the  Merry Karnowsky Gallery

Artist: Camille Rose Garcia
Gallery: Merry Karnowsky Gallery (
Art: Disneyland gothic paintings
Price: $1,500-$30,000
Industry fan: Portia De Rossi

Artist: Moses
Gallery: dA Center for the Arts (
Art: Graffiti-inspired paintings
Price: $1,500-$6,800
Industry fan: Usher

Artist: Michael Amescua
Gallery: Earth Iron (
Art: Sculpture, welding
Price: $50-$15,000
Industry fan: Kevin Lyman (Immortal Entertainment Group); “The George Lopez Show” (red piece on the show’s front porch)

Artist: Daniel Ruanova
Gallery: Tropico De Nopal (
Art: “Un-painting” — removes layers of acrylic paint from his paintings
Price: $300-$12,000
Industry fan: Director Ricard Mendez Matta.

Artist: Chaz
Gallery: Patricia Correia (
Art: Graffiti-inspired paintings
Price: $20,000-$40,000
Industry fan: Nicolas Cage

Artist: Raul Gonzalez
Gallery: Sparc (
Art: Cartoon depictions of the ‘hood
Price: $500-$3,000
Industry fan: 311 lead singer Douglas Vincent Martinez

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