Speaking of Chicano books...
Lowriting spotted at the Phoenix Art Museum
So, the other day someone uploaded a photo to Instagram that they took at the Phoenix Art Museum; this caught me completely by surprise. Shout out to Instagram user Nixdad for uploading and allowing permission to share the photo. And what did he capture you ask? Lo and behold, he took a picture of a prominent window display for the museum gift shop which features Art Meza’s book, Lowriting - a book which I published in 2014. Wow!
I’m not gonna lie, this is pretty frickin’ cool, so I wanted to share because as a super tiny and unknown little Chicano publisher who has been brownlisted by the cool kids, these kinds of things are a big deal to me.
Here’s some context:
“The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest museum for visual art in the southwest United States. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the museum is 285,000 square feet. It displays international exhibitions alongside its comprehensive collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design.”- Wikipedia
So…yeah. A book I published by the skin of my teeth is on display and for sale at the largest museum for visual art in the Southwest! That’s a pretty big deal, man! It would be mind blowing if it were actually on display as an art piece (I can dream), but that fact that it’s even there and prominently on display in the window of the gift shop is absolutely amazing!
I love receiving news like this because it’s not only validating but also completely out of the blue. I do not have a relationship with the Phoenix Art Museum so however the book ended up there is a mystery to me and that’s what makes publishing books so cool! You never know where they will end up.
Despite being ignored by the mainstream press and bookstores, Lowriting took on a life of its own a long time ago and it still continues to surprise me. The book will never be a “best seller” or “book of the month” but it was never intended to be. It was, and still is, intended for regular people who love and enjoy lowriding and Chicano culture/lit. It was an achievement in self determination and also my having a chip on my shoulder as a publisher and a writer who grew frustrated with the fact that no matter what bookstore I walk into in the USA, books like this are not on the shelves.
Believe it or not, the book has found its way all over the world, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan! Thinking about these kinds of things still blows my mind all things considered, but it just goes to show, that despite the odds, we can and do have success and worldwide appeal when we apply ourselves earnestly and honestly. Because fuck the mainstream! They don’t understand us anyway, which is why it’s more important than ever to tell our own stories!! I cannot emphasize that enough!
Lowriting made no compromises; it is in its purest form as it was intended to be; a work of art and a time capsule of Chicano culture in this era. It’s a small miracle that I was able to pull the contributors together to be able to publish it - that was definitely no small feat and a moment in Chicano history as far as I’m concerned.
To do such a thing today, I do not imagine, would be possible; certainly not with the same bravado and punch the book has.
Congrats to photographer, Art Meza aka Chicano Soul, and to all the authors and artists who contributed to it, on the continued success of the book. Together we accomplished true unity and self determination, and in this day and age, that’s quite an accomplishment.
You can purchase a copy of Lowriting here. If you have read it, please leave a review!
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