‘I tell stories with my art’ – Albuquerque Journal

December 19, 2021 by No Comments



An El Moisés illustration from “New Mexico Christmas Story” by Rudolfo Anaya.


Rudolfo Anaya’s book editor first spotted the work of El Moisés in a Santa Fe lowrider exhibit.

The piece featured a stylized roadrunner, just the animal needed for the New Mexico author’s first children’s book, “Owl in a Straw Hat.”

The meeting would produce a trio of children’s books. The most recent, “New Mexico Christmas Story,” (Museum of New Mexico Press) marks Anaya’s last work. The man considered the grandfather of Chicano literature died in 2020.

“He had to approve the images,” El Moisés said. “After it was edited, we would meet. He didn’t make many changes at all. He really loved the imagination I had toward his literature.”

Artist El Moisés worked with Rudolfo Anaya on the “Owl in a Straw Hat” series.

Awash in the magic of Chimayó on Christmas Eve, the book continues the story of the lead character Ollie Tecolote and his Wisdom School classmates Uno the Unicorn, Jackie Jackalope, Bessie Beaver, Sally Skunk, Robbie Rabbit and Ninja Raccoon. The teacher Nana prepares her students for the evening’s Christmas celebrations, making posole and red chile for dinner. Afterward, they walk to the Santuario to visit the Santo Niño.

Renowned for his 1972 classic “Bless Me, Ultima,” Anaya penned more than a dozen children’s books.

“He saw the characters through words,” El Moisés said. “I told him, ‘You pretty much wrote it out for me.’ ”

Born in Baja, California, the Albuquerque artist grew up in Yuma, Arizona and Phoenix before moving to New Mexico. He is completely self-taught.

“My mom said I was drawing ever since I was 2 years old at the kitchen table,” he said. “I just knew I wanted to do this. My teacher in kindergarten said, ‘You’re an artist.’ I didn’t even know what that was.”

At 13, a businessman paid him under the table for a sign painting. Then he drew characters for business logos.

Today he’s known as a modern-day artist bringing the essence of urban culture and barrio flavor to mainstream fine art, steeped in the visual traditions of Mexican-American pop culture and lowrider cars.

He rises at 4:30 a.m., working until 10:30 p.m. with the help of three of his five children still living at home. He paints murals and commissions, and has designed imagery for the New Mexico United soccer team.

A curator from the Smithsonian Institution recently interviewed him for a lowrider project.</…….

Source: https://www.abqjournal.com/2455213/nm-artist-el-moiseacutes-brings-rudolfo-anayas-last-work-to-life-wit.html


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