At least it wasn’t Selena Gomez

So every now and then I google my domain name to see what comes up. Guess what I found on facebook courtesy of Deadlee? Aw shucks.

deadleeIt could be worse, I could be catchin’ heat like Miley Cyrus. I’m sure Chicanos around the world collectively had their minds blown when she tweeted the following:

cyrusmozThe backlash was pretty quick and most notably from Kurt Cobain’s daughter:

mozcyrus02I wonder if MEChA groups are organizing to combat this grave injustice? I demand mobilization and action from our Raza revolutionaries! Okay, maybe not.  Speaking of Morrissey though, this made me smile.



プリクラ Jumpoff

It seems like I have been hustling on graphic design work 24/7 so today I took a break in the morning for an outing to Japantown with my homegirl Maya Chinchilla. We had one goal in mind: hit up pikapika and take some crazy-ass pictures. This was my second trip to pikapika and Maya’s first. Once again the guy who works there was super-friendly and helpful in helping us navigate the menus of the machines we used.

We used the Minna booth (below) and once again I was drawn to the Love Joker booth (above). This time around we used Love Joker’s Shiny Madonna theme. Love Joker has 3 aesthetic themes that you choose from before taking your photos and each theme has a different assortment of backgrounds and suggested poses. The Minna booth had an amazing array of color foil backgrounds that my scanner does not do justice to. Seen in person, they jump off each print.

I am more determined than ever to curate a Purikura exhibit. I can only imagine what kind of images artists and performers can create together with these magical photo booths. If anyone out there is interested in exhibiting or participating in such a show let me know.

Peace and プリクラ,



There’s an article about my Ghetto Frida billboard/mural up at Mission Loc@l. I had a great time being interview by reporter Kate Kilpatrick. As it turns out she was the editor of Black Like Me a column run in the Philadelphia Weekly written by one of my heroes, Jayson Musson.

The recent press for Ghetto Frida’s Mission Memories has made me think a lot about the boundaries that exist between my public and private selves. Last night, after a long day of doing graphic work I decided to make one of my infamous lip-sync videos set to Private’s Secret Lover (Starsmith Remix). These lip-sync videos are the kind of personal media that I only usually post on facebook. At the moment I’ve been stuck trying to define what the boundaries are between my various online representations. Recently, I’ve had really interesting conversations with friends who have had to rethink their online expressions because of career and familial expectations. I’m beginning to feel the same pressures…But tonight I’m saying FUCK IT and kicking out the jams.

Secret Lover (Starsmith Remix) by Private



Anygüey Love and Lolita Guadalupes

I was interviewed this weekend by Alejandro Paz for Anygüey and it was just posted today. I do intend to keep my word and design a tattoo for Alejandro. More on that story as it develops.

Yesterday Mariela and I ventured to Japantown, our first trip there in years. Rene and I go to the Kabuki theater all the time but we rarely go into any of the shops these days. I had been dying to check out New People, a brand new shopping center that recently opened. New People was launched by Viz Media; for those of you that don’t know, I actually used to work for Viz and their publication Animerica way back when. It’s crazy to think that the small company of about 20 that I started working with is now an expanding media empire.

The most fascinating shop at New People was BABY, the Stars Shine Bright the first flagship store of the Japanese Lolita Fashion brand. I had only seen Lolita fashion through magazines & computer screens and seeing a store full of these clothes was like being in a surreal movie set. What really caught my eye was a $38.00 tote bag from the store’s Alice and the Pirates line that featured the image below.

Annie and the Pirtates

An image of the Virgin surrounded by a bleeding heart, roses, and a skull. This was very clearly not a Catholic motif but a reference to Chicano pop sensibilities. Is this a sign of things to come in Lolita fashion?

Mariela and I then walked over to the Kinokuniya building and quickly discovered pikapika. pikapika is a store with nothing but Japanese Purikura photobooths (about 10 in total I think). The place was closing soon and Mariela and I had just enough time to hop into a Love Joker booth and take a set of photos. I used to love Purikura booths as a teenager but DAMN, the technology has improved since then. The ring of diffused strobes that surround the touchscreen menu of the booth were impressive. After our shoot we were led to another section of the booth where we could decorate and draw on our photos using wacom-like pens. All the text of the machine was in Japanese but pikapika has helpful translation charts posted on the machine. The end result of our picture taking and decorating was printed out on a 4×6 sheet of sticker paper.

Making the photos was a fun experience and at $10.00 a pop, it wasn’t cheap but it was well worth it. My mind is now spinning with thoughts of curating an art exhibit of artists who create portraits of themselves with purikura booths. With all the machines at pikapika, there are endless possibilities for artists to create amazing images using them. If anyone is interested in participating in or hosting such an exhibit please let me know.



Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad’s birthday. True to form he’s working a full shift at SOMArts and then going to an event for a exhibit he’s curated at the Mission Cultural Center…and then finally going to his joint birthday party with Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Carolina Ponce De Leon. Never a dull moment, and that’s what’s kept him so young.

I recently did a search on Flickr for “Rene Yañez” and came across a lot of images of my Dad that I didn’t know even existed. My favorite was by Ricardo Vinos; a photo of my Dad shaking hands with the legendary Robert Crumb as I look on in the foreground. The photo was from Project X: The Artists Talk Show, a theater based talk show that my Dad produced and starred in where he would interview artists and have live performances. His most memorable interview subject was R. Crumb and I’ll never forget seeing the two of them together on stage. We’ve both come a long way since that night in 1990, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure together will take us next.

Happy Birthday Dad,


Calacas & Chucks

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer editing down the hundreds of photos that I shot the other day with model/artist/curator Rachel-Anne Palacios. She was our model for this year’s Day of the Dead show announcement and graphics. There will be more to come from the shoot but I’m really excited about it so I thought I’d share at least one image.

Our photoshoot started at SOMArts and after a couple of hours we piled into a car and traveled to 16th and Mission to take some more shots. I shot this video of Rachel as were on our way. Check it out:

One of the potential things to wear that Rachel brought to the shoot were an amazing pair of limited edition Frida Kahlo Converse Chuck Taylors. These rare Chucks in her collection are the real deal, part of a series of Frida Converse shoes that she purchased in Mexico City. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to take some photos, I don’t think I’ve ever been so envious of another person’s shoes before. More info on the Converse HERE.



My Life, My Swag

All day I’ve been pondering turning 30 in January. I wanted to take some sort of proactive action to put my mind at ease and today I finally locked in a date for my 30th birthday party at SOMArts. There are so many streams of thought still flowing through my mind but I am excited and inspired to celebrate 30 years of my life on this planet.

One of my inspirations and reasons that I am looking forward to turning 30 is my favorite Chicana artist Zulma Aguiar (AKA Chicana Feliz). Homegirl has brought Chican@ thought and art to Hawaii and is making headway for those of us still struggling to find our voice in the mainland. Yesterday was her 34th birthday and she’s shown me that my 30’s can be a time of travel, adventure, positive change, and making challenging art all the while feeling good and looking good. My utmost gratitude to her for showing me how it’s done right. Happy Birthday Zulma.

These days I’ve been steady rocking Swedish music makers jj and their song My Life, My Swag. It’s helped me, in my head, lay out the adventure that lies before me. The title makes it sounds like some sort of grimy hip-hop joint but it’s really a dreamy pop song in the vein of The Tough Alliance. I hope you can dig it.

My Life, My Swag by jj