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Prominent Chicano artist Emigdio Vasquez dies at 75

Prominent Chicano artist Emigdio Vasquez dies at 75

Posted by Liliana Castaño on August 19, 2014

Edigdio Vasquez, a renowned Orange County Chicano muralist and painter whose pieces captured the reality and grittiness of everyday life, has died. He was 75.

Vasquez died Saturday of pneumonia at an assisted living facility in Newport Beach, his daughter Rosemary Vasquez-Tuthill said. He also had Alzheimer's disease.

Known as Orange County's Godfather of Chicano Art, Vasquez created more than 400 paintings and 22 murals throughout the county. The "Legacy of Cesar Chavez" at Santa Ana College is one of his most well-known works.

Emigdio Vasquez

Emigdio Vasquez in 1991 with a mural he re-created at the Santa Ana Transit Terminal after painting it at the Bowers Museum. (Don Kelsen, Los Angeles Times)

"My dad liked the gritty subjects, old people's skins and the grittiness of the city," his daughter said.

In an artist statement posted on UC Santa Barbara's library website, Vasquez wrote that he considered his art to be part of the working-class experience that surrounded his life.

"This environment holds inspiring visions of human warmth and cultural heritage," Vasquez wrote. "I want to convey to the viewer the intense reality which people experience. Art must be more than aesthetic or decoration. Art creates an environment which enlarges humanity."

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