Art pays homage to chicano lowrider history


A lowrider car club in San Diego commemorates its history by creating a mural in Chicano Park, a National and Mexican American Cultural Landmark.

The Brown Image Car Club, founded in 1970 and one of the first lowrider car clubs in San Diego, built a five-story mural on a bridge pillar, inspired by lowrider painting techniques. With a glossy candy apple and root beer finish, it includes 30 pounds of gold metal flakes – enough to paint 18 lowrider cars.

Henry Rodriguez, 66, the club’s chairman, said the mural pays homage to the club’s decades-long history and cultural impact.

“I want to show our generation up there,” Rodriguez said, “what we did when we took over the park, when we did our low ride, our club, the things we did in the 70’s.”

Chicano Park is under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan, formerly Logan Heights, a predominantly Mexican American neighborhood. The mural reproduces images from Rodriguez’s photo album, an archive featuring club members, lowrider vehicles, posters of club events and the “takeover” of Chicano Park, when residents of Logan Heights came together in 1970 to suspend freeway construction. designated field patrol post for the park.

“I don’t think it’s ever been done,” Rodriguez said. “I have never seen murals like this.”

According to Cindy Rocha, 38, one of eight artists working on the mural, the mural is done using traditional airbrush techniques used to paint a lowrider vehicle.

Cindy Rocha applies flakes of gold to the top of the column.Courtesy of Victor Cordero

Rodriguez said the mural’s lead artist, Victor Ochoa – one of the pioneers of the Chicano art movement in San Diego – came up with the idea to add the snowflakes after looking at one of the cars in the archives. photographic.

Denise Sandoval, a professor of Chicana and Chicano studies at California State University, Northridge, and one of the foremost scholars of lowrider culture, called the mural “historic, and the only place it could happen would be Chicano Park”.

“Mural painting is such an important part of Chicano history that it’s tied to the Chicano movement, where artists became teachers, educators, storytellers,” Sandoval said, “really teaching us the value of using art to express our feelings, our passions, our hopes – especially in a place like Chicano Park, which was born out of social justice.”

The Brown Image plaque, an auto club symbol that is typically displayed on the back of a lowrider, is featured atop the mural and is now a symbol in the community.

“The mural shows that low driving isn’t all those stereotypical negative things. Auto clubs have been central to bringing the community together,” Rocha said.

While the project is partially funded by Rodriguez and his wife, Janine, Brown Image solicits donations from the community by hosting fundraising events to help reach its $50,000 goal.

The mural should be completed in late February or early March.

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