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Chicano artist, Joey Terrill...
is a second-generation native Angeleno, who has been painting and making art for over 30 years. Born in 1955, his work combines influences ranging from his love of pop art to Mexican retablos and 20th century painters ranging from Romaine Brooks to Frida Kahlo as well as the energy, politics and creative synergy of Chicano and queer art circles in Los Angeles.
He attended Immaculate Heart College from 1973 to 1976 when conceptual art ruled and the feminist strategy of the personal being political was in full flower.
“The sources and images for most of my work have been autobiographical, whether painting, collage, silkscreen or drawing. Friends, family, lovers and self-portraits are the visual sources for the pictures I paint.” Prints and Drawings
I’ve been drawing since the age of three and from the very start of this endeavor I tended to draw “pictures” of people I saw on TV or in magazines (albeit not very well). Drawing as an artistic exercise has evolved over the years veering into one direction or another with sometimes a focus on still-life arrangements while at other times human models. The last few years has my drawings combining elements from both methods…faces, body parts, and genitalia with pieces of fruit or vegetables or sometimes inanimate objects like bones, dishes or HIV medications. My drawings differ from my paintings in as much as they are observed studies from life, while the paintings I do are pictures taken from photographic sources.
Since my high school student days as a volunteer with La Huelga, collecting signatures in support of Cesar Chavez and urging the boycott of grapes and lettuce, marching in the Chicano Moratorium, social activism and Chicano politics have played a pivotal role in my life while at the same time I embraced the politics of the Gay Liberation Movement and challenged the societal oppression of homosexuality. The combination of the two sometimes made for a clash of “values” and provided me with a range of art making strategies.
In 1978 –1979 I made an art piece in a magazine format (well before the ‘zine scene) where I combined the concept of magazines like House Beautiful, Los Angeles, and Cosmopolitan that catered to an upper to middle economic class with the sensibility of Chicano gang culture. It was tongue in cheek and used humor to ridicule both the consumerist bent of those L.A. lifestyle magazines while also pointing out the macho, self-destructive violence and inherent homophobia found in the barrio. I only made two editions of 100 copies each.
In both issues I played an undercover reporter named Santos who featured “exposes” of made up societal problems. In the first issue I exposed a secret underground network of “Homo-Homeboy” parties where vato locos congregated late at night to drink, get high and listen to Judy Garland records ending in a drunken orgy of sex and violence. The homeboys would remove their bandanas from their heads and strategically place them in either their “left” or “right” back pocket following the gay hanky codes of the 1970s. The sensibility was more Dada and Mad magazine in it’s approach than politically correct or strident.
The second issue of the magazine exposed a secret organized East L.A. terrorist network of homeboys/homegirls who in lurid photo-documentation, kidnap a white husband and wife from Westwood along with their Japanese maid to a secret eastside location where they are tied up and forced to eat menudo and watch Channel 34 novelas.
Both issues also had an advice column called “Ask Lil Loca” and beauty tips for cholas and suggestions for that most versatile fashion accessory, the bandana.