Cholas, Cholos, and new Ghetto Frida Art

Photo by Lex Leifheit
Photo by Lex Leifheit

Question: How do you explain what a chola is to someone who has absolutely no frame of reference as to what one might be?

Tonight I was part of the 2009 Chicana/o Biennial artist talk at MACLA. It was great to see my peeps and peers talking about their work like my boy Jaime Guerrero, my homegirl Viva Paredes, and Seattle-bound sculptor Gustavo Martinez (additional shouts to Mariela, Rachel, and Lex for coming out to support us). I missed seeing MACLA’s wonderful Stephanie Chiara but otherwise it was the perfect night.

The discussion of my work MACLA went really well but I was stymied by a little old lady who had no idea what a Chola was. While I was talking about my portrait of Ask a Chola she wanted me to explain to her what a chola was. Every explanation was dependent on refering to some part of  urban Latino culture and she couldn’t grasp anything I tried to communicate to her. I wasn’t expecting to have to define a chola in talking about my work but it was my fault for not being able to think on my toes. What’s the best way to cleanly and concisely explain to someone what a chola is?

Speaking of Cholas, Cholo rapper Deadlee has put me on blast on his blog. He didn’t care for the review that I gave to his recent movie, homophobic cholaxploitation film Hoochie Mamma Drama. You can read my review HERE and chime in on the comments section if you want. I have no interest in any sort of blog-beef and I wish Deadlee the best of luck in his career.

After seeing Jim Mendiola’s amazing video for Girl in a Coma’s Static Mind I wanted to further explore photo sequence animation.

This was a casual first try, Mariela and I had a lot of fun taking photos in sequence throughout the Mission District. More to come, hopefully.


I have some big Ghetto Frida news coming soon and the image at the top is a small preview of more to come. Stay tuned.




The 2009 Chicana/o Biennial

A print of my most recent portrait of Ask A Chola will be included as part of the 2009 Chicana/o Biennial at MACLA in San Jose, CA.

Exhibition: June 5 – August 8, 2009

Opening Reception: Friday June 5, 8:00 – 10:00pm

Book signing: Friday June 5, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Join us in celebrating the second publication of the A Ver: Revisioning Art History series, highlighting the artistic contributions by Yolanda M. López.

Artist talk: Friday August 7, 7:00pm

Join selected artists for a gallery walkthrough and an engaging conversation about their work.


510 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113

tel: (408) 998-2783
fax: (408) 998-2817

Gallery Hours:

Wednesdays & Thursdays 12 noon —7:00pm
Fridays & Saturdays 12 noon—5:00pm

My art featured in Ask a Chola’s latest video

I should be sleeping right now. In about six hours I’m boarding a flight for Los Angeles to attend this event at UCLA for my mom , Yolanda Lopez. Before I sleep for a quick second I wanted to share this latest video from Ask a Chola featuring my recent portrait of her.

I hope y’all tune into Chola’s show tonight. She’s hands down  my favorite performance artist and I’ve tried to support her work with my own art on many occasions. I thought I’d share my contributions to her presidential campaign of 2008.

If anyone I know is going to be around UCLA this Wednesday and Thursday give me a call and we can hang out.



Radio Chola

I spent the other night listening to my favorite performance artist Ask a Chola on her brand new radio show. Between the gully banter and crazy music I loved every second of it. I wanted to do what I could to support Chola’s new endeavor so I thought I’d create a new portrait to help get the word out.

My first portrait of Ask a Chola, circa March 2007, is a good marker for how far my technical skills in illustration have evolved. I wonder sometimes if I’ve gotten too far away from my original style but I’m really happy with the direction the tablet has taken me in. There’s even a noticeable difference from my first couple of piece with it. Things are looking up!

Alas, I’m triste because I’ll be in LA next Wednesday and will be away from a computer to listen to the show with. Someone will need to fill me in on the jams Chola throws and if there are any more breathless phone calls from the mysterious Anonima. Radio Chola airs Wednesdays from 7:30pm to 10:00pm at Kill Radio.