If one can extract from my past blog, I am a firm believer in Art, and it’s bringing us to a higher mission in life. I myself create art in various forms from the pencil to the pinsas to the paintbrush-from scraps of tin and hot glue to feathers and strips of metal on canvas. The canvas is fabric, it is my face, it is everything and anything I can imprint my message on. I exist, and I am one amongst many who boldly create art so that we can envision and create a society of Dreamers. Often in our society it is easier to destroy then to create. People find a sense of themselves that was hidden and expressed through Creation. The Creation is a manifestation of the Creator. Manuel A. Acevedo has given a life to Queer Cholo Culture through his art which is intimate, romantic, sexual, masculine and much more.

Two vatos exchange a sacred kiss induced by Amor.

Art from the Corazon of Manuel A Acevedo

This piece in particular is very intimate and romantic. A kiss is a sacred exchange induced by feelings of love and attraction. Here, two individuals who most could not not imagine kissing are in fact exchanging this sacred act of Besitos. These are your typical young Chicanos whether in Orange County, Los Angeles, or San Diego. The one on the left could remind you of a cousin or friend at school who sported his Blue shirt. He goes every week to his Homeboys pad to get his hair faded and trimmed to maintain his clean cut image. The one on the right could be the “misunderstood” vato at your High School. The one who was always in trouble. The loner. The troublemaker. The rebellious one. The one walking down La Jolla late at night. Everyone thought he was going to meet ones of the Jainas who chilled in the neighborhood, turns out that Rose was for someone else.

Silenced Vato

Cholos live with degrees of secrecy as they navigate through the Barrios.

This piece, though the Cachucha says LA, imagine any Acronym for space such as OC or SD. Here is a depiction for the secret lifestyle which is led by many Gay cholos. Here we see a contrast of colors. The hat is blue representing Sureño affiliation. The red is a color representing Chican@ gangs from Northern Califas aka Norteños. Many Sureños will never sport the Red color contributing to hostilities between North and South. In many ways Queer identity is seen as betraying a cholo lifestyle, like red betrays blue in gang culture. This vato has a secret which must remain hidden. The revelation of this secret can change his entire world. To his male cousins he could become the joto of the family. To the Clica, he can be seen as weak. To  the LGBTQ community he is seen as “too ethnic”.

Manuel A. Acevedo

The window in this piece can act as a portal to another dimension where this Cholo can escape from the restriction of closeted spaces.

This piece shows a Chicano in an enclosed room. The only opening space is a window on the wall. This art piece conveys the message of solitude one lives while searching for identity. Sometimes one feels trapped in societies projections of who we are supposed to be. At time, we only have a small window which we can exit through-it becomes a portal to another dimension where we can imagine a place where we can live as ourselves.

I remember being immersed in this culture, and the things I did to perform masculinity. I thought I was safe in Cholo culture-nobody would question my masculinity or identity while it was overtly in their face. It was a place for me to act Macho. At 14 a freshmen in High school I said to myself “I am going to act straight. I will fight this feeling. I will never come out.” Being the Chican@ kids at an all white High School we were labeled as Chol@s whether we were or not. I felt some pressure in that as well being one of the “Mexican” kids pushed out into the margins. I feared rejection and isolation as well from my Chican@ counterparts, not knowing how they would react to my sexual orientation. Being Queer and Cholo presents these individuals with a myriad of issues and challenges which can either “make or break” a person. One must learn to navigate through various spaces while staying tied to their identity whether that is sexual, cultural, or spiritual.

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About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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