There’s no doubt that Cheech Marin has done great things for humanity. In addition to his canonical film output, the L.A. native has also been a tireless advocate for the legalization of the good herb – both of which are arguably great things. But beyond his pothead funnyman public persona, Marin has actually spent the last 30 or so years doing invaluable work for the Chicano visual arts, and happens to be recognized as one of the movement’s most important collectors and advocates.
But don’t take our word for it. Juxtapoz Magazine has dedicated the cover story of a recent issue to the more artistic side of Cheech Marin, including a gallery of his most outstanding pieces and an interview covering topics ranging from the meaning of the term “Chicano” to his first childhood experiences with art. As a digital companion piece to the feature, Juxtapoz also put together a three-part short film entitled De Colores De Cheech, that follows Marin as he moves through a very personal world of panaderías and print shops, morning menudo and art studios.
In addition to introducing us to some of the more standout figures from the past and present of Chicano art – including Frank and Sonia Romero, Richard Duardo, and Emmanuel Galvez – De Colores shows us a surprisingly sensitive and sophisticated Marin who can’t contain his genuine passion for Chicano art. Summing up the identity of the decades-old movement, Marin wisely reflects, “The Chicano artistic imagination is taking traditional Mexican pastoral art and meshing it with…whatever was happening in the pop culture of America at that time…It takes a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and creates a third entity.” Kinda sums up the whole Latino USA thing in a nutshell, huh?