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Tonight in San Jose! When 80’s pop culture crosses with migrant culture…

March 4, 2011

I have an artist talk tonight in San Jose!
March 4, at 7:00pm
Location: MACLA – 510 S. First Street San José, CA 95113
If you are familiar with my work, you will know that besides the political posters I do, I also make prints about 80’s music that I grew up to. I’m really happy to announce that for the first time ever, my 80’s pop-rock posters will be on display as a full body of work in San Jose, CA!
photo below is from installation in MACLA’s gallery

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I totally love all the played out, cheesiest, ultra-pop, whitest 80’s singers and bands you can imagine. Of course I also enjoy the indie, hard-to-find stuff, but nothing amuses me like Madonna, Cindy Lauper, Depeche Mode, Bruce Springsteen, Def Leppard, Journey!
I have some theories on why this type of music makes me feel really warm and comfortable.


People make a lot of assumptions about me. Like – why would a girl from the Oakland hood, a first-generation, U.S.-born daughter of two Catholic, Latino immigrants, like this music SO much? I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves 80’s, but I think I’m definitely someone who is abnormally and permanently fixated on the genre.
I explore this question frequently in my work. The recently exhibit at MACLA in San Jose explains:

Favianna Rodriguez explores 80’s pop culture intermingled with Latin-American migrant culture to create an installation of bold graphic prints inspired and titled after rock songs.  Favianna draws a narrative that’s based on on her deep love and connection to the 80’s rock music of Madonna, Depeche Mode, Michael Jackson and Journey – all pop bands that defined the identity of her bilingual family. Her bold graphic works are intricate Meso-American influenced 80’s pop fashion-sci-fi images that reference the song each piece is titled after.

While the 80’s birthed a pop-movement largely centered around European and white American culture, this was also the decade in which Reagan would legalize hundreds of thousands undocumented migrants. Those were also the years during which the US government poured millions into squashing democracies in our Latin American home countries, supporting tyrants and engaging in all out murder against our people. In 1981 for example, Reagan poured 19 million in military aid to support guerrilla groups fighting Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, a leftist government that had been established by the Sandinista revolutionaries after overthrowing a brutal and corrupt dictator, in 1979.

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The 80’s was also the decade in which we would see the crack-cocaine pandemic spread in communities of color. During my adolescence, I gravitated towards new wave pop music as a way to differentiate myself from the street gang culture that surrounded me in Oakland, CA. Music became a way to both claim a new space and a new self, forming a hybrid identity that would define my generation – one that was “ni de aqui, ni de alla.” 
One of the pieces in this show is titled, Rio, after the song by Duran Duran (shown here). This piece is about women of color being strong leaders in their community. The shape of the face was hand cut from black construction paper as an experiment. (you can buy it here on the Justseeds website)
Novelas, Love, & Other Adventures
Featuring: Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Rio Yañez, Mayra Ramirez and Favianna Rodriguez.
This group show investigates the realm of graphic novels and comic books from a Latino perspective.
Exhibition Dates: January 26 – March 26, 2011
Location: MACLA – 510 S. First Street San José, CA 95113
My Artist Talk: March 4, at 7:00pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday & Thursday, 12pm to 7pm, Friday & Saturday, 12pm to 5pm. Free Admission

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One comment on “Tonight in San Jose! When 80’s pop culture crosses with migrant culture…”

congrats on this show, favi! i love 80’s pop music too, i DJ cheesy jams a lot, and love how you embrace it in your work. i am also a huge love and rockets fan, and am so stoked that you are in a show with jaime hernandez!!!