"Then & Now"

"Then & Now" Series - #2 Featuring Chaz Bojórquez August 01 2014, 0 Comments

Chaz Bojórquez, Arroyo Seco, Ave 43, Northeast Los Angeles, Senor Suerte

This month’s image is a 1975 shot of a noted Northeast L.A. artist, Chaz Bojórquez. It was taken In the Arroyo Seco by Italian photographer Gusmano Cesaretti, who did extensive documentation of street writing in the 70s, and shows Bojórquez’ famous Señor Suerte image.

According to Bojórquez, true self-expression comes from the soul. His work represents an amalgam of life experiences. He learned the traditions of Cholo gang graffiti on the street. In the 1960s, he received formal training at Chouinard Art School. He studied Asian calligraphy with master Yun Chung Chiang, one of the true calligraphy masters of China. All of this combined to make Bojórquez one of the first graffiti writers with his own style, and later, one of the very first to present that style in gallery shows.

Bojórquez Señor Suerte image is now synonymous with Avenues gang culture. But Bojórquez himself was never a gangster. The imagery originally had more to do with Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebrations than with gang life. Señor Suerte wears a “Zoot Suit” with a big fur collar and a big hat. His fingers, instead of holding a cigarette or rolling papers, are crossed as a symbol of luck. Señor Suerte has everything to do with life and death in the face of poverty, violence and neglect.

In addition to Señor Suerte, the photograph shows a “roll call,” a tagging of the names of crew members, or the list of people who helped create a piece.

Were you there? Do you have photos? Please share them so that the story may be told.
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