Jesus Barraza is an activist printmaker and digital artist based in the San Leandro, California. Using bold colors and high contrast images his prints reflect both his local and global community and their resistance in a struggle to create a new world. Barraza’s work continues the tradition of graphic art in the spirit of Jose Gaudalupe Posada, OSSPAL and Juan R. Fuentes.
Barraza has worked closely with numerous community organizations creating prints that deal with issues of immigration, homelessness, education, indigeniety, and international solidarity movements. Printmaking has allowed him to create large editions of multiples that can be spread throughout his community and throughout the world. Barraza prides himself on his continued connection to his community as an activist artist who can be relied on for help any time.
Barraza has exhibited at Galeria de la Raza (San Francisco), Museo del Barrio (New York); de Young Museum (San Francisco); Mexican Fine Arts Center (Chicago); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); and internationally at the House of Love & Dissent (Rome), Parco Museum (Tokyo), and Mexico. She was a 2005 artist-in-residence with Juan R. Fuentes at San Francisco’s prestigious de Young Museum, and is a recipient of the “Art is a Hammer” award in 2005 from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.
In 1998 Barraza was a co-founder of ten12, a collective of digital artists. He has also worked as Graphic Designer for the Mission Cultural Center/Mission Grafica, where Calixto Robles, Juan R. Fuentes and Michael Roman mentored Barraza in various screen printing methods. In 2003, he co-founded the Taller Tupac Amaru printing studio to foster resurgence in the screen printing medium, where he has complete over 100 prints. Additionally he is a partner at Tumis Inc., a bilingual design studio helping to integrate art with emerging technologies.
Melanie Cervantes is a Xicana activist-artist whose role is to translate the hopes and dreams of justice movements into images that agitate and inspire.
Melanie’s work includes black and white illustrations, paintings, installations and paper stencils, but she is best know for her prolific production of political screen prints and posters. Employing vibrant colors and hand-drawn illustrations, her work moves those viewed as marginal to the center -- featuring powerful youth, elders, women, and queer and indigenous peoples.
Melanie’s training as an artist began with her mother and father. She learned color theory while helping her mother select fabric for school clothes at Los Angeles swap meets; and she developed some of her technical skills by watching her dad repurpose neighborhood junk into her childhood treasures.
Melanie built on this knowledge by studying library books, designing and constructing her own clothes, and forging friendships with other creative people. At UC Berkeley she received formal training in Ethnic Studies, and in 2004 graduated with a Bachelors Degree. Melanie fuses what she learned from this interdisciplinary study of racialized peoples, her art skills and her strong decolonizing politics in order to become a powerhouse “artist of the people”.
Her most revered mentor is her partner and fellow printmaker Jesus Barraza, with whom she formed Dignidad Rebelde, a collaborative graphic arts project that translates storiesof struggle and resistance into artwork that can be put back into the hands of the communities who inspire it.
Melanie has exhibited at Galería de la Raza (San Francisco); Woman Made Gallery and National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago); Mexic-Arte and Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (Austin, TX); and Crewest (Los Angeles). Internationally her art has reached Mexico, Slovenia, Palestine, Venezuela, Switzerland and Guatemala. Her work is in public collections of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the Latin American Collection of the Green Library at Stanford, and the Hispanic Research Center at the Arizona State University as well as various private collections throughout the U.S.
Favianna Rodriguez uses the arts as a tool for liberation. Since 1998, Favianna's pieces have been posted on street corners, store windows, telephone poles, raised at mass rallies and community festivals, or may have found their way into your mailbox. Her artwork carries on a Bay Area tradition of designing and printing socially conscious art for progressive political causes and grassroots organizations.
Favianna is a founding member of the EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA), an Oakland-based collective of third world artist and community organizers who use the arts as a tool in the freedom struggle. She is a co-owner of Tumi's Design, a multi-service technology and design firm. Implementing advanced graphic & web technologies with a social consciousness, Tumi's seeks to use multimedia to engender global communication between oppressed communities and to promote political art and open forums of expression.
Favianna is unabashedly committed to the art of political propaganda. She readily assumes that role, utilizing the graphic arts as an educating tool, affirming a progressive cultural consciousness, providing community access to art and technology to assert an independent voice, and producing propaganda for the people.