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IT'S TIME TO ROLL AND FEEL

IT'S TIME TO ROLL AND FEEL

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CHICANO MURALS: CULTURE ON THE WALLS OF LA

Discover the best Chicano Murals in East LA.

While Los Angeles museums are amazing places to discover all types of artistic words, you can also experience the city’s art and culture by immersing yourself in its outdoor murals!

East LA stands out as a prime location for this exploration, serving as the birthplace of the Chicano art movement originating in the 1960s. 

Chicano artists, drawing inspiration from Mexican muralists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and José Clemente Orozco, used public art to convey their culture, history, and political perspectives to a broader audience. 

Besides enhancing the aesthetics of the neighborhoods, these murals played an important role in fostering community pride. And they also were a catalyst for future artistic works. Thanks to these trailblazers, Los Angeles boasts a vibrant mural art tradition, featuring numerous acclaimed street artworks. 

Returning to East LA, the epicenter of this movement, we explored both historic and contemporary murals created by Latinx artists. Here, we present our selection of the top ten murals in this culturally rich neighborhood!

BEST CHICANO MURALS

“We Are Not a Minority”

It pays homage to Che Guevara and is crafted by the artists from “El Congreso de Artistas Cosmicos de las Americas de San Diego”, namely Mario Teror, Rocky, El Líon, and Zade. 

Inspired by Mario Teror’s original black-and-white silkscreen that proclaimed “You Are Not a Minority”, the mural has been modified to embrace a more inclusive message by changing “you” to “we”. 

This alteration serves as a universal mantra for those labeled as minorities, challenging the perception that they are indeed minorities within their communities. While there are numerous other noteworthy murals within Estrada Courts, recognized as the birthplace of the Chicano art movement, it’s important to acknowledge that this location is a residential community. 

If you visit, please remember to explore the place respectfully and be mindful of the residents. The mural is situated at Estrada Courts, 3217 W. Olympic, 90023.

BEST US CITIES FOR ART AND CULTURE

“Orale! Let’s Cruise on Over to Progression, Aye!”

Sergio Robleto was commissioned by the proprietors of First Street Pool & Billiard to create “Orale! Let’s Cruise on Over to Progression, Aye!” The mural features the cheerful visages of Wayne Healy and David Botello, founding members of the muralist art collective Los Dos Streetscapers. 

These two artists initiated their collaborative mural journey back in 3rd grade. In Robleto’s imaginative portrayal, Healy and Botello are depicted seated in a car reminiscent of the one showcased in their inaugural mural, “Filling Up on Ancient Energies” (1983). As the car heads westward, a deity inspired by Tlalocayotl, the Aztec god of the East Wind, watches over them.

The mural is situated at First Street Pool & Billiard, 1906 E 1st St., 90033!

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“Mamá y Papá”

Nestled in Chano’s parking lot is “Mamá y Papá,” a vibrant tribute by artist Man One to his parents, Alejandro and Fidelia. Commissioned by Thrillist, the only request made was for the mural to reflect Mexican culture. 

Man One chose to feature his parents in the artwork, set against a desert backdrop and framed by his interpretation of papel picado, adorned with spray cans. While in the vicinity, be sure to turn the corner for tacos from the Estrella Jalisco stand!

The mural is situated at 1907 Gates St., 90031

Vanessa Guillén Homage 

East LA native Sand One pays tribute to the late Vanessa Guillén, a U.S. Army soldier tragically murdered in Fort Hood, Texas, in April 2020. The mural transforms Guillén into one of Sand One’s signature “Dolls,” honoring her life and ensuring her tragic death is not forgotten. 

You’ll find it at 498 S Ford Blvd East, 90022!

“Muro que Habla, Canta y Grita”

Located off Whittier Blvd in Ruben F. Salazar Park, this mural, commissioned by Los Tigres del Norte, showcases the popular Nortena band on the left side. 

The dynamic and intricate work touches on themes of resistance, immigration, scientific advances, family life, and key historical figures within the Chicano community, including journalist Ruben F. Salazar, the park’s namesake.

Untitled

Following the untimely passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, artist Vela created an untitled mural in Boyle Heights. Amid the numerous murals expressing grief, Vela’s vibrant, cubist-like portrait of the basketball great stands out, bringing a bright touch to the surrounding area.

It’s situated at 1060 N Fickett St., 90033.

Journey to Knowledge

In a departure from the painted murals on this list, Jose Antonio Aguirre presents a tiled piece inspired by fellow Chicano muralist David A. Siquiero’s integration of architecture and art. 

It focuses on three elements: an eagle, Tonatiuh (the sun god in Aztec mythology), and a shaman or curandero. You will find the mural at Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy. It aims to inspire students to excel in their studies and take pride in their cultural heritage.

You’ll find it at 4498 New York Street, 90022

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“Una Trenza” 

While Self-Help Graphics remains closed to the public, the community art center in Boyle Heights showcases “Una Trenza”, a mural composed of several vignettes by 15 individual artists. Each artist was invited by Self Help Graphics to paint pieces representing their experiences at the center and to envision the future of artists and the Boyle Heights community.

Location: Self Help Graphics, 1300 East 1st St., 90033

Mexico-Tenochtitlan: A Sequence of Time and Culture

Also known as “The Wall that Talks”, this expansive mural in Highland Park blends symbols from Aztec, Mayan, Native American, African, and other cultural iconography in harmony. The left side of the mural depicts the creation of life, while Quetzalcoatl, the ancient Aztec feathered-serpent god governing wind, air, and learning, weaves through a majority of the painting.

It’s situated at 6037 N. Figueroa Street and Avenue 61, 90042

What do you think of these street art murals? We love them!

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