Gaspar Enriquez: Generations of Attitudes
"Generations of Attitudes" by Gaspar Enriquez of El Paso, Texas. (Photography by Sal Rojas Photography)
"One is born a Mexican-American, but one chooses to be a Chicano, Politically charged, the Chicano lifestyle has been passed from one generation to another. It has survived wars, prisons, and strife" - Gaspar Enriquez
Last year I went on vacation to the city of El Paso, Texas to visit some family friends and a fellow alumnus from CSUF (What’s up Roman?). After spending a week eating Chico’s tacos and photographing some of the local Chicano murals I decided to visit the El Paso Museum of Art.
At the museum I discovered a homegrown artist who was born and raised on the south side of El Paso, Texas by the name of Gaspar Enriquez. I had never heard of him before, but his airbrushed paintings were truly amazing. His realistic paintings of life size Chicano homeboys and homegirls displayed the intricate details of the urban style of Mexican-Americans throughout the different generations of barrio life. His masterpiece paintings was titled “Generations of Attitudes”, and as a Chicano photographer Gaspar Enriquez is now one of my favorite Mexican artists that have inspired me in my own art, along with fellow masters Charles “Chaz” Bojorquez, Emigdio Vasquez, Diego Rivera, and Mexican photographer Don Manuel Alvarez Bravo.
Sal Rojas Photography
Gaspar Enriquez Biography:
A native El Pasoan, Gaspar Enriquez obtained a fine arts degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a master's degree from New Mexico State University. Enriquez explores the subjects of family and relationships as they extend beyond one's own generation. Much of his subject matter is personal and takes form in small constructions, paintings, and monumental installations. Enriquez's images are visual and emotional statements that explore the history and continuity of a street-wise lifestyle of Mexican-American culture that relates to his experience of living on the US/Mexico Border.
One is born a Mexican American, but one chooses to be a Chicano. My work reflects a politically changed lifestyle that passes from one generation to the next— el Pachuco, el Tirilón y el Cholo—surviving poverty, wars, prisons and internal strife. The men and women who populate my paintings reflect the paradoxes that arise in the barrio—pride in place and language, a search for self-esteem and meaning in a landscape of poverty, and the fragility that comes with learning too much about life too soon. Soy Chicano.
"As an American artist with a Hispanic background, my art is about the personal relationships and events that dominate my two-culture environment. My most recent work with airbrush painting and the depiction of 'cholos,' deals directly with my daily experience with the people I know-individuals who remind me of friends and people I grew up with. This body of work is a record of experiences, ideas and feelings about a subculture that has endured in the Mexican-American life since the World War II, a lifestyle that has been passed from generation to generation, survived wars, prisons and other elements- Los
Pachucos (1940s and '50s)' Los Tirilones ('50s and '60s); Los Cholos ('70s and 80s); and Los Gangsters ('90s up to now).”
Sal Rojas Photography