Eric Almanza

Often it is said that Chicanos feel caught between cultures, not fully American, yet at the same time unable to identify fully as Mexican. I was born in the United States to parents of Mexican descent and I have struggled my entire life justifying my identity to others as well as to myself. I am not fluent in Spanish and I am told that I don’t particularly “look Mexican”.

My current body of work examines the intersection between politics, culture and identity as crafted through the lens of a Chicano painter working in the context of contemporary aesthetics. Themes such as immigration, the criminalization of immigrants, and the border wall that separates México from the USA have populated my work over the past several years. As a child I remember traveling to Tijuana for the day. My family would make the day trip to bring donations, purchase inexpensive medicine, souvenirs and tacos. I saw many things in Tijuana that left lasting impressions on me, but none as great as the US-México Border. I could not process the stark difference I saw between the two countries, so close yet worlds apart in regards to their social-economical conditions. My young mind was left curious as to what function this wall might have played in creating these divergent realities. How luck and the pure random chance of being born north of the border wall came with such great privilege.

The calculated objective of my work is to revise what mainstream twenty-first century American society looks like with the inclusion of both immigrant and minority populations. Over the past 50 years the demographic of Los Angeles, California, and the nation has slowly shifted to a majority that consists of Latino Americans. However, that same demographic shift has not translated into the art world. My work continues to establish both the existence and relevancy of classically trained narrative painters who identify as Chicano, Mexican, or Latino American to the national artistic dialogue.

My work draws inspiration from traditional history and easel painting and artists such as Jacques Louis David, Gustave Courbet, José Guadalupe Posada, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, Vincent Valdez, and the band Rage Against the Machine.

I hold a BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, a Secondary Teaching Credential from California State Dominguez Hills and an MFA in Figurative Painting from Laguna College of Art and Design. I keep an artist’s studio in the LBC and I teach fine art at HArts Academy of Los Angeles in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


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Contact Information

Eric Almanza

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Artist Work

In Search of a New Home (2012)

We Dream of Ways to Break These Iron Bars (2016)

Frida (2014)