Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 8, 2009


Host: José A. Cárdenas

Lowriders and Tattoos


  • HORIZONTE takes you inside the Mesa Contemporary Arts where lowriders, tattoos, and graffiti are showcased as themes in Chicano art.
Guests:
  • Patty Haberman - Mesa Contemporary Arts
Category: The Arts

View Transcript
José Cárdenas
>> In “sounds of cultura,” an exhibit showcasing the low-rider and tattoo culture. Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez reports on how Chicano artists are giving people the opportunity to see what people may not normally think of as art. ¶¶ [music] ¶¶

Nadine Arroyo
>> Pin striping, Tattoos and graffiti is what the mesa art center calls contemporary art and they are all showcased at the mesa contemporary arts.

Patty Haberman
>> showing it in a very fine arts setting elevates the status of what has traditionally been a street art, really.

Nadine Arroyo
>> The exhibit is divided into three exhibits -- low and slow, beneath the skin and the parlor. The lifestyle of the low-rider is interpreted by local and west coast find and traditional low-rider artists. All with a common goal to transcend a street culture into contemporary art.

Patty Haberman
>> We always wanted to have a car in the gallery to see if we can do it. We brought in one full car and then decided to get car hoods and give them to prominent low-rider artists from the southwest and painters and drawers, mainly. And allow them to use it as a canvas and see what we got. So what we're doing is taking the low-rider canvas and art and putting it in a museum and showcasing it as exactly what it is. Fine art.

Nadine Arroyo
>> Three of the car hood canvasses covering the walls are from Arizona artists. Mack has this car hood canvasses painted in acrylic depicting an Aztec Warrior. Buzz Gonzalez exhibits this hood with painting, hand pin striping and 23 carat leafing. And then an outerspace chase of a ball of yarn and what's a low-rider exhibit without a low-rider? A slick 1979 Monte carol sits in the center of the entire exhibit. The interior is wall to wall pink velvet and the exterior is completely covered in paint art. From the inside of the hood, firewall, under the car and even the wheel wells, and if it’s not painted, it’s chromed. it's the artistic of Mr. Cartoon, a nationally recognized low-rider artist and tattooist from Los Angeles. The exhibit features national artists inspired by the culture of tattooing. Among the artists is Sean Barber whose portraits depict the various styles of tattoos. The exhibit captures the the history and culture of tattoos. From ancient tribal traditions and individual expressions, such as the work in the parlor provides a backdrop to the history of tattoos.

Patty Haberman
>> We’ve had a variety of reactions. There's people that are like, what are you guys doing? That sort of thing, to, wow, this is really great. To I was really skeptical and then I saw it and now I get it. Kind of reactions. So it's been all over the board. I think some people are coming in with not quite sold -- coming in with not quite sold and leaving with a really new understanding of what we're trying to do here. That's been very positive and exciting.

José Cárdenas
>> The "low and slow" exhibit can be seen until January 11th and "beneath the skin" will be on display until March 22nd at the mesa contemporary arts museum.

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