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Hispanic icon shares passion for art at brunch fundraiser

Richard “Cheech” Marin, actor, author and art collector, shows the painting “Tzinaca Yóllotl” by Jacinto Guevara, at the SAC Fiesta Brunch, “Chilaquiles con Cheech,” April 25 at the Pearl Stable. The painting is part of his book “Los Tejanos: Chicano Art from the Cheech Marin Collection.” Deandra Gonzalez

Chicano art is American art and will become world art, Hispanic comedian and art collector Richard “Cheech” Marin said at the April 25 SAC Fiesta Brunch.

“Defiance to what they see as a political landscape, what they see as inequities in the social landscape – that’s what Chicano art represents in an artistic way,” Marin said to more than 300 people in the ballroom of Hotel Emma at the Pearl.

“Defiance as a way that you can see that message clearly, clearly, when you see these paintings and these artworks, and it strikes a cord wherever you go.”

Marin starred in cult classics such as “Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke” and “Born in East L.A.” He is also a director, author and Chicano art collector.

Marin walked onto the stage with a welcome from this college’s mariachis, Estrellas del Alamo, blaring string and percussion instruments while the audience clapped and whistled and gave a standing ovation.

“Thank you very much,” Marin began. “It’s always nice to be here in San Antonio, one of my favorite cities in the world.”

Dressed in black shoes, pants, jacket and socks, he sported only a spot of color — a pink rabbit with the letter X as eyes.

“Do you like my T-shirt?” Marin asked. “It’s by this new Chicano designer, John for Vatos.”

So began a nearly hourlong speech filled with humor and passion for art, along with a slideshow presentation of pieces by Texas artists Vincent Valdez, Alex Rubio, Marta Sánchez and the late Melesio “Mel” Casas, a former art professor at this college.

Marin discussed the importance and lasting impact of art in culture.

“Art is the only thing we leave behind as a culture,” he said. “It’s the part of our culture that says who we are, who we were, what we believed in, what we held dear, what we held valuable.”

He also discussed the importance of education.

Richard “Cheech” Marin, actor, author and art collector, shows pieces from his Chicano art collection at the SAC Fiesta Brunch, “Chilaquiles con Cheech,” April 25 at the Pearl Stable. The money raised from the event will go this college’s president’s fund which can be used to help students struggling financially. The event was part of the 24th Multicultural Conference, Fiesta and San Antonio 300. Deandra Gonzalez

“Education is our path and our superhighway to a bright new future,” he said.

Marin offered advice to younger generations seeking to create art without being concerned about the political correctness of it.

“Chicano culture is not being concerned with being politically correct because from the beginning everything we do is politically incorrect,” Marin said. “Chicano is a Mexican-American defiant political attitude. That’s part of the mission. It’s crying (expletive) when we see it. And praise at the same time. It’s not always negative.”

A collector of numerous works, Marin’s love for art began at an early age in Los Angeles. He and his cousins studied various topics and collaborated about what each learned. Marin’s topic was art

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Published: April 26, 2018

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