Chaz Bojorquez biography in Biographies from the artzine on artrepublic.com
Chaz Bojorquez is a street art pioneer who has been working on the streets since the late 1960’s. His work draws on the even earlier 1940 cholo graffiti tradition of the East Los Angeles Mexican-Americans which he grew up surrounded by, combined with Asian calligraphy.
Cholo graffiti used the Old English or Gothic typeface and was used by the gang members to define their neighbourhoods using a "roll call" or list of names to mark their territory. In 1969 Chaz enrolled into Chouinard art school (known today as Cal Arts) where he studied Asian calligraphy from Master Yun Chung Chiang (Master Chiang studied under Pu Ju, brother of the last Emperor of China). He then combined this into his re-working of the traditional graffiti he had grown up with.
His symbol or “tag”, created in 1969, a stylised skull called Senor Suerte was inspired by Mexican folklore and the cult of Holy Death. It is one of the first examples of stencil art applied to the street and it subsequently became an image for protection against death among the street gangs, in the form of tattoos.
In the late 1970’s Chaz spent three years traveling the world visiting and living in 35 countries and studying their graffiti, art and cultures. He wanted explore how graphics and lettering can describe culture and national pride.
Bojórquez also worked as a commercial artist in advertising and film including logos for movies The Warriors and Turk 182 and master inking for The Empire Strikes Back, the Muppet movies, and James Bond. All this thought him a lot about doing billboards and signs and again fed into the development of his artwork.
Chaz Bojórquez, has influenced successive generations of street artists, writers and tattooists. His work has also successfully moved from street art to the galleries, with works in the permanent collections such as the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art LACMA, and MOCA.
Today Bojorquez exhibits and lectures internationally, and performs “live” art performance demonstrating his unique letter styles and pursuing commercial/cultural assignments.