José Lozano: Creating art of the buffoon—the darker side of humor

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Artist José Lozano was born in Los Angeles, but early in his life lived in Ciudad Juárez, México the birthplace of his mother.   In Juárez he was exposed to the cultural icons that are now part of his artwork—bad Mexican cinema, fotonovelas, phantasm folk lore, lucha, comic books, boleros y rancheras and the flavors of the Juárez landscape. His family core returned to East LA when he was 8, where he attended public school and began to draw.   Later, through formal art training, he captured the essence that is his personal finger print as an artist.

In most of José’s art, he exposes the dark sided humor of the buffoon. A buffoon, in our terms is simply a clown—but being the town fool has a long and illustrious history. As far back as the Middle Ages there were professional buffoons who were hired to entertain by making fun of their wealthy patrons and guests through inappropriate rants. Today someone most likely to be called a buffoon would be a public figure for displaying inappropriately vulgarity, or ridiculous behavior –- which our culture would then find tabloid news worthy.

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José’s subjects, unaware of their affectation for laughter or “buffooness”, stare quietly at you–sometimes in multiples—each one modeled after a friend, family member or passer-by in José’s panorama of life.  One of his favorite themes is the Loteria, the Mexican bingo game which he fills with funny-tragic scenarios.  There is La Loteria de la Navidad (shown above) where even a buffoon gets miffed by his cheap-ass Secret Santa — a bride in the Wedding Loteria being groped during “El Dollar Dance” and the tightly pressed amantes dancing to “Always and Forever”.  Very soon public transportation riders will be able to enjoy his art at the Expo/La Brea Metro Station where he is creating LA Metro Loteria, featuring scenes of passengers riding the metro.  This latter loteria will be a bit toned down from his usual buffoonery fest and political point of view—but will still be amusing nevertheless.

At the outset, the entertaining painted drawings of Jose Lozano are reminiscent of R. Crumb’s infamous underground comix. The flair for confrontation is offset with decor and compositional saturation. ” ——-Mat Gleason, Publishing Editor of Coagula Art Journal

José’s sense of humor is evident in the metaphorical language he uses when he speaks, which can incorporate all areas of pop and classical culture and in his work which seems effortless, but speaks from many levels.  Grounded by a personal commitment to art, and not to an unquenchable ego, he is one of the accessible artists from East LA.

José Lozano will be teaching a Loteria de la Navidad print class on December 5 at 10am.  Click here for details.

3 thoughts on “José Lozano: Creating art of the buffoon—the darker side of humor

  1. I saw him on the channel 34 news when they were talking about the Loteria game. It was a great piece. His children books are pretty cool tambien, specially since they’re bilingual. And I LOOOOVVVVEEEE when new loteria cards are made. I know Artemio put out a great childrens book a few years ago and I’ve seen some new interpritations popping up as of late. I have an idea for one, El Bloggero 🙂

  2. While I love new socks, I can identify with the sense of disappointment in that first pic. It’s like angst and melancholy all rolled up into one tube sock!

  3. lol, yeah, i feel the disappointment too. I dunno whats up with ppl and the obsession of giving socks. We all know that we hate to get socks as a gift but it also seems to be the safest gift.

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