San Antonio Latino Artists’ Studios. Photos By Ricardo Romo
The first studios we ever visited, those of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, fascinated me and my wife Harriett. Fifty years later we can still picture those studios. Since that time Harriett and I have been interested in the studios where artists do their work. For many artists, how they create has much to do with the environment in which they complete their work.
The first artist studio that I recall visiting in the U.S. was that of the ASCO group in East Los Angeles. Willie Herron, one of the famed Chicano foursome, opened his studio to us in the early 1970s. From all appearances, the other members of ASCO, which included Pattsi Valdez, Gronk, and Henry Gamboa all used the same studio space. The ASCO team became the first Chicano artists to exhibit in a major U.S. museum when their “Los Four” show opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1974. We also visited the Self Help Graphic studios in East Los Angeles founded by one of the pioneering promoters of Chicano art, Sister Karen Boccalero.
My family and I moved back to Texas from California in 1980, and our fascination with artists’ studios continued. Over the next forty years we became serious collectors of Chicano art. Our love for Chicano art led us to donate more than 2,000 of the prints we had collected in California and Texas to art museums and educational institutions where others can also come to know and appreciate Chicano art. The photos included on this page are a small sample of our favorite images of Latino artists in their studios.