Exposition Art Blog: Carlos Almaraz

Carlos Almaraz

Carlos Almaraz (October 5, 1941 – December 11, 1989) was a Mexican-American artist and an early proponent of the Chicano street arts movement.
Almaraz was born in Mexico City, but his family moved when he was a young child, settling in Chicago, Illinois, where his father owned a restaurant for five years and worked in Gary steel mills for another four. The neighborhood Almaraz and his brother were raised in was multicultural, which led him to appreciate the melting pot of American culture.During his youth in Chicago, the family traveled to Mexico City frequently, where Almaraz reports having his "first impression of art" that "was both horrifying and absolutely magical", in other words "Sublime". 

 A painting of John the Baptist in the Mexico City cathedral appeared as a gorilla to his young eye and frightened him, but it also taught him "that art can be something almost alive." When Almaraz was nine his family moved to Los Angeles on a doctor's recommendation that his father seek a warm climate to assuage his rheumatism, and also as a result of family problems, first settling in Wilmington, later moving to the then-rural Chatsworth, where they lived in communal housing with other Mexicans.[The family then relocated to a Mexican "colony" of the nearly-all-white Beverly Hills, and still later to the barrio of East Los Angeles. Almaraz's interest in the arts, nascent in Chicago, blossomed after his family moved to California, and the sense of mobility developed after so many moves later allowed him to connect with migrant farmworkers and their children. He graduated from Garfield High School in 1959 and attended Los Angeles City College, studying under David Ramirez, and took summer classes at Loyola Marymount University. Loyola offered him a full scholarship, but he declined it in protest of the University's support of the Vietnam War and stopped professing the Catholic faith altogether. He attended California State University, Los Angeles but became discouraged by the structure of the art department there, "because there was no place for an artist." While at CSULA, Almaraz began attending night courses at the Otis College of Art and Design, then known as Otis Art Institute, studying under Joe Mugnaini.Wikipedia

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