Artist and poet Israel Francisco Haros Lopez was born in East Los Angeles to immigrant parents of Mexican descent. Israel brings his firsthand knowledge of the realities of migration, U.S. border policies and life as a Mexican American to his work, addressing a multitude of historical and spiritual layered realities of border politics, identity politics, and the re-interpretation of histories.
“Forget who’s watching you.... Your ancestors are watching you, and they are gonna give you what you need.” -Israel Francisco Haros Lopez
In this episode Israel Francisco Haros Lopez takes us on a journey of story; from growing up in East L.A., to attending UC Berkeley, to being a working artist and community organizer in New Mexico today. He speaks about how various experiences and humans have shaped his foundation as an artist and activist, how he has had to decolonize the learning process of higher education, how music has informed his life and writing, and the importance of creating a contemporary narrative through poetry and drawing. Israel shares several teaching he has received along his path which have changed his world view, such as words from a respected Elder and Xicana Activist who shared, “Without Art, there is no Movement”. Israel also speaks of participating in the 2009 “starving teachers” action in California and the strength of fasting, prayer and poetry as forms of direct action. He invites us to remember the complexity of existing as humans, that we all will contradict ourselves constantly, and as artists we must be aware not to get caught up in the ‘isms’, that “if we are always de-contructing, then when are we constructing".
Here is the conversation with Israel Francisco Haros Lopez
More About The Artist:
Israel Francisco Haros Lopez is both a visual artist and performance artist. He was born and raised in East Los Angeles, graduated from Roosevelt High School with a 1.59 G.P.A. He is a graduate of Laney and Vista Community College with an A.A. in English Literature. Survived UC Berkeley with a degree in English and Xikan@ Studies and received an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts. His work is an attempt to search for personal truths and personal histories inside of american cosmology. The american cosmology and symbolism that he is drawing from is one that involves both northern and southern america that was here before columbus. The work both written and that which is painted is attempting to mark and remark historical points in the americas and the world. The mark making attempts to speak to the undeniable presence of a native america that will continue to flourish for generations to come. The understanding which he is drawing from is not conceptual but fact and points to the importance of honoring and remembering ancestral ways of living as a means of maintaining healthy relations with all humans, the winged, all those that crawl on this Earth, all Life, the Water, the Sacred Fire, Tonanztin, Tonatiuh, the Sacred Cardinal Points, everything in between, above and below and at the center of self and all things in the universe. Currently the visual motifs are drawn from both a pre-columbian america that had far far less physical, mental or spiritual borders . He also draws inspiration from the contemporary styles of inner city youth who use public space by any means necessary as their method of artistic expression. Israel also draws much of his inspiration from his peers and contemporaries who constantly show him innovative ways to approach cultural and political dilemmas. The written words cannot be without the painted image. The painted image cannot be without words. Neither the written work or visual work can be without sound without vibration, as all things on this earth carry vibration. As such his written and oral work is constantly shifting as it is performed or recording. The same poem,story,monologue or abstract diatribe shifts within the space it is performed taking into consideration audience and the theatrics and vibration of the moment.