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- Artbound: The Infectious Ephemera of Germs

Jaime "Germs" Zacarias is a Chicano artist and South L.A. native who has captured the essence of Los Angeles and Chicano history through a myriad of futuristic designs and three-dimensional characters.

Germs says his favorite artists include the Clayton Brothers, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring.

One of his greatest mentors is Chicano artist Gilbert "Magú" Luján, the founding member of Los Four, which was one of the first Chicano art collaboratives to be exhibited at a major American museum in the early '70s, notes art collector Paul Dunlap.

"He liked to nurture young artists. Magu was one of my mentors. He taught me a lot as far as how to behave, how to be a troublemaker, just show up to art shows, have beers, make a mess, break things, tag on things," says Zacarias. "He just taught me how to compose myself and start focusing and making better art work."

One of Germs' most recent paintings is a tribute to Magu. Purple tentacles wrap around the whimsical painting, while a blue dog drives a shiny, futuristic car.

If you take a closer look at his pop surrealist paintings, you'll catch a glimpse of hidden messages in the form of eyeballs, bacon, and robots. You might even see an image of an iPhone with an emblem of the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Virgin Mary.

"Sometimes I like hiding stuff in there. Combining old things to make them new again," says Germs.

His artwork was recently displayed at the LA Art Show earlier this year, alongside other galleries like La Luz de Jesus, and Thinkspace.

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