Chicano Artist Manuel Cruz: A Diamond in the Rough | KCET
Chicano Artist Manuel Cruz: A Diamond in the Rough
Sonya Fe is a painter and muralist long affiliated with the Chicano(a) Art movement in Highland Park. She directed the screen printing workshop at Mechiano Arts Center and contributed to The Great Wall of Los Angeles. See her profile page for videos of interviews conducted for Departures: Highland Park.
When one speaks about the Chicano Art Movement of the '70s, one must not forget Manuel Cruz from East Los Angeles. He is the Godfather, el Don of the Chicano Art Movement. Many of his ideas of Chicanismo have been incorporated into what we know today as Chicano Art. I first met Manuel in 1976 at the Mechicano Art Center in Highland Park. I was in my early 20s and Manuel was in his mid 40s.
A list of his murals via the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles
648 South Indiana (between Princeton and Hubbard streets)
Plaza Community Center, exterior south-facing wall
To Ace Out a Homeboy, 1973-1977
1974 Mechicano Arts Center
2871 Lancaster Avenue
Scene of Native American Life (Untitled), 1979
4000 Whittier Boulevard (mural on Gage Avenue)
Yaqui Food Products (and Tortilla Factory), exterior
3277 Brooklyn Ave. (mural on Bernal Ave.), Boyle Heights
El Moctezuma Cafe, exterior
1711 West Montana (between Sunset and Montana), Echo Park
Logan Street Elementary School, exterior playground
Three Images of Brazil (Untitled), 1991
207 Ocean Front Walk (near Rose)
On the Waterfront Cafe, interior
Manuel was way ahead of his time as he wrote a song called "Cholo writing on the Wall." The song was popular among Chicano activists. Manuel in many ways had opened the door for my generation and in turn opened the door for the future generations to come. I don't know where Manuel is today, but for us to not mention artist Manuel Cruz of East LA in the Chicano Art movement of the '70s is the worst kind of injustice, a wrong doing to a Chicano by Chicanos, because you see, Manuel Cruz is Chicano Art.
Top photo: Manuel Cruz's mural "To Ace Out a Homeboy" at Ramona Gardens, by Flickr user Lisa Newton used under a Creative Commons license.