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Private Collection Original | Fine Art

Emigdio Vasquez

(b. May 25, 1939, Jerome, AZ;
d. Aug 9, 2014, Newport Beach, CA)

Renown American Chicano artist and muralist, was known as the Godfather of Hispanic artists, Emigdio Vasquez is internationally known for his photo-realistic style. A California-based painter and muralist, Vasquez is recognized as one of the pioneering artists in the Chicano art movement, whose paintings and murals capture the essence of every day life.

He created more than 400 paintings and nearly two dozen murals. Many of the latter dot buildings throughout Orange County, where he lived most of his life.

Vasquez was born in 1939 in the mining town of Jerome, Ariz. In the early 1940s, his father, who worked for Phelps-Dodge copper mines, decided to move the family to Orange. Vasquez attended Mater Dei High School and took art classes in the early 1950s. He then transferred to Orange High, where he continued creating his art. He also attended Santa Ana College and Cal State Fullerton.

He’s embellished walls with everything from pachucos (a juvenile gang member of Mexican-American ethnic origin) to migrant workers to other vivid scenes of barrio life. In his work, Vasquez illustrates people walking along the shops of Santa Ana’s “Calle Cuatro,” highlights day laborers waiting for work, and in one of his most recognized murals, showcases “The Legacy of Cesar Chavez.”

He started by making his own comic books as a child and turned to oil painting in the late 1950s. He was creating murals in the late 1960s, and had painted 22 murals throughout Orange County, in locations including Cal State Fullerton, the Fullerton Museum, Anaheim City Hall, the wall of an Anaheim market, and Santa Ana College.

In an undated artist’s statement, Vasquez said of his work, “Life often holds harsh realities. Many of these appear on my canvasses. Translating elements of beauty and struggle are essential to me. I want to convey to the viewer the intense reality which people experience … These feelings are a commentary on our lives and times.”  “I attempted to give a visual edge to the plight of the laborers. Hopefully, paintings like this can facilitate programs, faster immigration policies, and awareness of honest, hard-working individuals seeking employment to improve their lives – a difference between the hard-working individuals and the criminals that traffic in drugs, guns, and violence – ending violence would be a good first step.” [published Sep 10, 2010, Orange Coast magazine]

John the Prophet

Jackie Frandes y Chavelo

La Jamaica

Incredible Attention to Detail

Watch this video for more on the life of Emigdio Vasquez.

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