After World War II, the car culture exploded as returning Anglo service men started buying used cars and reaching for more speed by building "Hot Rods." It had been simmering for a long time, but was now at full tilt. As the Mexican-American servicemen returned, they reached back to their heritage to reignite their car culture, and lowriding.
|El Moises, "La Catrina y Su Vida Loca." Acrylic on wood. Image © El Moise|
Lowrider cars began surfacing througout Los Angeles barrios in the 1940s with the rounded body styles refered to as "bombs." Today, the term "lowrider" often describes a car that has the suspension customized with hydraulics to lower it close to the road. Back in the day, it started by cutting springs and loading lead into the trunk to get that low and slow look that is so important for cruising. And just like the early lowriders, the cars of today have elaborate paint jobs, striking chrome features, ornately designed upholstery and add-ons of all kinds of car gadgets.
However, the term, "lowrider" reaches far from just the cars. It's a way of life with a culture of family unity and a reflection of cultural pride. At most lowrider gatherings, the family is there as a part of the party, and with it comes the formation of clubs. Members go to the same church, school, live in the same neighborhood or drive the same make or model of car. The members of the club become the extended family and rely on each other to assist working on fellow members cars. However, it always comes back to the cars, because they are the links that are considered an inanimate member of a lowriders's family.
Each artist featured in Cruisin Califas provides a window into the life and family of the lowrider. The exihbition was organized by Carlos and David de Baca, both members of the Califorina car culture for more than 25 years. Carlos is an active museum board member and David has been interviewed by national television shows to discuss the lowrider culture. Both enjoy their own lowriders. The show is at the Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA. 92054. Phone, 760.435.3720. The show runs until, September 30, 2012 and you can find a link to the museum here.
|Mike Pickels, "Bomb Burger." Water acrylic on board. Image © Mike Pickel|
|Show time at the Oceanside Art Museum. Image © Charles Thi|
|Salvador Gonzales, "Dale and Beach." Acrylic on Canvas. Image © Salvador Gonzales|
|Ready for the Family. Image © "Along For The Ride"|
|Teen Angel, "Familia," ca. early 1980s. Paint on paper. Image © Teen Angle|
|Jesse Valadez's "Gypsy Rose" the most iconic lowrider in the world. |
Image © "Along For The Ride"
|The "Gypsy Rose" was featured during the opening credits of "Chico and the Man," early in the 1970s. |
Image © "Along For The Ride"
|Eddie "Swoopy" Galindos, "Southern Califas," 2006. Colored pencil on paper.|
Image © Eddie Galindo
|One of the Car Clubs represented. Image © "Along For The Ride"|
|David Lozeaus, "Slow and Low." Image © Randy Strain|
|The parking lot. Image © "Along For The Ride"|
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