The Huelga-Tron 3000 Farmworker Defense Mech

Borrowing from 80′s anime mech design and the timeliness of Cesar Chavez Day, I present to you my latest creation – The Huelga-Tron 3000 Farmworker Defense Mech. For the last month I’ve been slowly building this Lego behemoth and I’m really happy with the results. I’m thinking about making another UFW themed Lego creation soon, stay tuned!

In case you were wondering, the Dolores Huerta minifigure is NOT an official Lego product. It was produced by Chinese bootleg Lego manufacturer IQ as part of their Black Widow line (as in Black Widow from the Marvel comics/movies). These original minifigures are fascinating and can be purchased on eBay and here.

Peace,

Rio

My Proposal for the Lego Movie sequel

In the last three months a confluence of events have led to a rediscovered love of Legos for me. Starting with receiving a Lego Batman set on my birthday from Chicano superstars Cary Cordova and John Mckiernan-Gonzlez, finding my childhood Lego collection in the midst of my parent’s eviction, and ending with watching the Lego Movie; I’m all in. Since then I’ve organized and cleaned the dusty Legos I loved so much as a kid and made many pilgrimages to the Lego store to buy new ones. On Monday I sat down to play and inspiration struck. I cobbled together a UFW flag from my bricks. Wanting to flesh it out more I created a small agricultural field and put in Emmet and Wyldstyle from the Lego Movie right in the middle of it. I think I’m happier with everyone extrapolating their own stories from the images so that’s as much as I’ll say about my intentions.

When I posted the images above on facebook, someone asked me if I was the first person to make a UFW flag out of Legos. To be honest I don’t know. I’ve never seen any UFW (or Chicano) themed Lego constructions but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If anyone know of any previous UFW Lego art let me know.

Peace,

Rio

El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my friends and lovers! El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards are back in the ring to take another swing! This is the 8th year of my cards and it’s turned into my longest running project yet. Enjoy! As always, please post these cards on the pages of your online friends, craigslist booty calls, sanchos, baby daddies, OK Cupid regrets, people you’re stalking on instagram, and people in your polyamorous love-quadrangle. To see a complete collection of El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elrio/sets/72157594533338379/

Peace & Love,

Rio

Japanese Chicano Fashion – Fresh for 2014!

I am endlessly fascinated by the Chicano/Cholo subculture of Japan. It’s inspired artwork and writing of mine for almost two decades. In the last couple of years I’ve done periodic check-ins on the latest Chicano fashions in Japan (mostly from clothing brand Slangy) and I’m here with another mind-blowing report back. See my previous findings on Slangy and Japanese-Chicano fashions HERE and HERE. Enjoy!

cf-13n-002model05CALIFAS CREW NECK SWEAT

01701803152211SLANGY 7分FIGHT96 ラグランTシャツ

01701804153030SLANGY シャンブレーシャツ

01701804139230スランジー/シャツ SLANGY フランネルチェックマリアシャツ

01701804139310スランジー/シャツ SLANGY ブロックチェックスカルシャツ

cf-13n-004model05CALIFAS PRINT PULLOVER HOODED SWEAT

cf-13n-003model06CALIFAS PRINT PULLOVER HOODED SWEAT

cf-13n-001model06CALIFAS PRINT PULLOVER HOODED SWEAT

And last but not least, these iPhone cases:

01701858149610SLANGY GANG Style アイフォンケース

01701858146310スランジー/アイフォンケース SLANGY スカルマリアI phone5ケース

Peace,

Rio

Rest in Power Gary Arlington

arlington

When my friend Stan Heller texted me this morning to let me know that Gary Arlington had died, I was stunned. With all the talk of gentrification and rapid change in San Francisco, the death of Gary Arlington is truly the end of an era in San Francisco.

For kids like me who grew up in the Mission District, Gary was all of our unofficial Uncle, a Marry Poppins of the ghetto. So much of my childhood revolved around his store, The SF Comic Book Co., the first comic shop in the country. If you read his obituaries, they talk about how Gary was essential to the underground comics movement in the Bay Area. The missing story is how much he meant to the youth of the neighborhood in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s. As a kid I spent every Friday after-school squeezed into his shop rubbing elbows with other kids buying X-Men comics, Cholos buying Teen Angel, and old hippies buying underground and independent comics. Gary and his store influenced multiple generations of artists, activists, and troublemakers.

Outside of my parents, Gary Arlington is biggest reason I decided to become an artist. I’m devastated that he’s gone but so grateful for the influence he’s had on my life. Rest in power Gary.

Rio

34 in Texas: A Mixtape

bday2014cdfrontbdadycdback

Today is my 34th birthday! I’m away from the sweet frigid land of the Bay Area and visiting Texas. This is the first birthday not spent in San Francisco of my entire life. Dang!

Big hugs from San Antonio, here’s a mixtape to celebrate the day. The songs are a few of my favorites of the moment and some classics, all dedicated to people who have made such a difference in my 33rd year on this Earth.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fb7madyy6js3et1/Rios34thBirthdayMix.zip

Peace,

Rio

2014!

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Like Maria Ozawa (above) I’m still wiped out from ringing in the new year. I’m so excited about the new art and projects I have in the works and will be sharing some of it soon. Happy new year!

Peace,

Rio

Dia de los Muertos

So much is happening in the world, so much is happening in my life, struggles and triumphs in equal amount. Today I wanted to honor the lives of Allan Sekula, Carlos Batts, and Spain Rodriguez, all amazing artists who have shaped my life and my creative vision. On this Dia de los Muertos I’m sending my thanks and gratitude for the many ways in which they’ve touched me.

These photos from my annual Day of the Dead shoot with Mayra Ramirez are dedicated to them. This year, Mayra and I shot at Somarts and Stern Grove. A complete album of the shoot can be found HERE. Special thanks to Leanne ElRod Rodriguez for being an amazing makeup artist.

And here’s a short video I shot of us having fun behind the scenes:

 

Peace,

Rio

On the air with Margarita Azucar

justelida

Hey everyone, I’ll be live on the air with Margarita Azucar today from noon to 2pm! I’ll be talking about Dia de los Muertos, evictions, and more while sharing some of my favorite songs of the moment.

Listen live here: http://radiovalencia.fm/listen/ and 87.9 FM in San Francisco
The show will be archived at: http://radiovalencia.fm/podcasts/?show=ms+margarita

Thanks to the always amazing Elida for making this possible!

Peace,

Rio