‘Blood In, Blood Out’ Chicano Artist Adan Hernández Dies at 69

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Adan Hernández, best known in the film industry as the artist who painted all the artwork for the 1993 cult classic Blood In, Blood Out, died of heart failure last week (May 16) at his home in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 69.

The artwork Hernández created for the film was represented as the artwork that actor Jesse Borrego’s (Con Air) character Cruz Candelaria painted. Blood In, Blood Out follows the lives of Cruz and his cousins, Miklo (Damian Chapa) and Paco (Benjamin Bratt), all members of an East Los Angeles gang known as the Vatos Locos.

“When you look beyond the Blood In, Blood Out collection to his work … you see why Cheech Marin has him in his collection, [Blood In, Blood Out director] Taylor Hackford has him in his collection,” Borrego told the San Antonio Express-News. “The (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in New York has a couple of his pieces. If you’re smart, you have an Adan Hernández, then you have something that’s going to live forever.”

Hernandez was one of 10 children who moved with their family to San Antonio from Robstown, Texas, in the early 1960s, where they made a living as migrant workers.

“We never saw him as this giant that he is,” his brother Armando says. “We just saw him as my older brother.”

Borrego says he will work with the San Antonio art community to build a memorial and foundation in honor of Hernández and his artwork.

“That’s the beauty of being an artist, that when you’re gone, your work is going to live on after you,” Borrego says. “In that case, I’m honored to share the screen with his work and with him. That Vato Loco’s art is going to live forever. Vato Loco art is forever.”