One way to support artists is sharing what they do with as many people as possible. That’s why I like to write about artists whose works I own in my personal collection.
Cheech Marin and I first met Texas-based artist Paul C. Valadez on January 11, 2018 in my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. At the time, we were visiting the “Sparkling City by the Sea” to attend the opening of an exhibition “Los Tejanos: Chicano Art from the Cheech Marin Collection” that I helped organize with the Art Museum of South Texas.
Often, when we visit cities across the nation for museum exhibition openings or for Cheech’s performances with Tommy Chong or for his speaking engagements on art at universities and museums, I arrange studio visits for Cheech with local artists. During this trip, artist and art professor Joe Peña invited several artists to his group studio so Cheech could meet them and see their work. Paul quietly stood near a table piled high with his artworks – textured large works on paper featuring names, nicknames, and even made-up words of popular Mexican foods.
After flipping through stacks of Paul’s work, Cheech chose three for his collection: Fresonada, Mangonada, and Reptliana (each 28 x 22 inches, acrylic with menudo spices on paper, 2017). I was lucky enough to acquire three smaller works by Paul from his “Mysteries of Mexican Food” series: Vaso de Frutas, Raspas #1, and Raspas #2 (2017).
Since then, I acquired a drawing from his performance piece at The Cheech titled God Like Tacos (page 59-60, 2022) and four 2023 works titled Frito Pie, Li Tacos, Orale, and Taco (acrylic and collage on scrapbook pages, 15 x 10.5 inches).
Valadez is currently an assistant professor of art at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (formerly the University of Texas-Pan American), which is located along the U.S.-Mexico border. Currently residing in Edinburg, Texas, he was born in San Francisco and grew up in Stockton, California. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Art from the San Francisco Art Institute and received his Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina in 2003 where he was awarded a Weiss Fellowship for Urban Livability. Valadez uses mixed media, acrylics, metal, and text to create works that deal subtly with race, culture, and history through a concept of “old signage.” His current work is autobiographical in nature with a somewhat satirical social commentary, which he finds is a reflection of his childhood memories and growing up in a bicultural household in the Central Valley in California. Follow him on Instagram and visit his website at www.paris1920.com.