My work connects to moments in daily life and how they can reveal the human condition–both internal and external. These experiences inform my work and my work informs my life in return. A finished piece often shares something I need to know.
For a woman, particularly a woman of color, it is a political act to commit a lifetime to the creative process. My community work, parenting, and others are as of human endeavor, are stronger and more wise as a result. The artistic process keeps me agile and true to who I am and who I am becoming.
–Lorraine García-Nakata, 2013
Lorraine as Visual Artist
Lorraine García-Nakata is an artist that navigates between three disciplines and is also recognized as an arts and cultural specialist. Since 1973, Lorraine has been a primary artist “pilot” of the historic Royal Chicano Air Force, RCAF.
Her work as a visual artist, writer, and musician is not visually heavy-handed or overt in its politic or protest, but it does testify. It challenges assumptions about who we are, how we live, and how we intend our actions. Lorraine asserts that we are responsible for the choices we make and how those choices affect others. It can be a silent, life long, necessary, and demanding journey.
Additional Bio Information
One of six original RCAF muralists, Lorraine is the only woman artist to join her fellow “pilots” José Montoya, Esteban Villa, Juanishi Orosco, Stan Padilla, and Juan Cervantes in painting the 1977 historic South Side Mural located in Sacramento, California. Lorraine is a recipient of a California State Arts Council Artist Residency, California State Arts Council Fellowship Award in Printmaking, former Mayoral Appointee as a San Francisco Arts Commissioner, and U.S. Congressional Appointee as federal Commissioner for the National Museum of the American Latino. Lorraine currently serves as advisor to the San Francisco Latino Historical Society. In 2015, The Lorraine García-Nakata Archive was acquired by Stanford University, Special Collections Library and includes both her artistic and administrative professional papers spanning the period of 1966-2015. In 2015, her book entitled, “Chola Enterprises” was published by Co-Pilot Press:
Lorraine García-Nakata as Writer
Writing is another passion and creative discipline Lorraine engages. In 2015, a hand bound satirical book entitled “Chola Enterprises” was published by Co-Pilot Press http://www.copilotpress.com/chola-enterprises.html “Navigating the exhausting stream of ignorant, Colonial encounters….she recruits the reader’s grin,…while also delivering that well deserved left hook.”–Dr. Ella Maria Diaz, Assistant Professor, English and Latino Studies, Cornell University.
"Cholas don't smile if they don't know you and 'mad dog' you if they don't like you. But, they never loose their cool, they don't scream, complain, or show you weakness. That's not their style. They're too proud. Cholas 'do what they gotta do,' and Lorraine has tapped into her inner Chola ('La Lucy'), and you don't mess with her barrio, her culture, her history, her HERstory, or she will cut you up with brilliant satire and drawings that are razor sharp."–Herbert Siguenza, Actor, Writer, and Founding Member of Culture Clash.
To know more about Lorraine’s creative process, her observations, and samples of her fiction and satirical writings, visit her blog.
Lorraine García-Nakata Music
Voice and guitar are Lorraine’s primary musical instruments. Lorraine shares, “Though music is my greatest passion, it is my greatest artistic insecurity because I do not read music…and why I stopped playing for over twenty-five years.” Once having realized that time would not diminish the need to directly engage music, Lorraine once again began playing her guitar, later recording several of her original songs. Regarding singing Lorraine states, “As singers know, the voice is the most visceral of musical instruments because music runs through the body. When it’s right, the experience is like no other.”
To hear and purchase music written and performed by Lorraine visit:
Lorraine García-Nakata and
The RCAF-Royal Chicano Air Force
The Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) is a Sacramento, California-based art collective, founded in 1970 by José Montoya and Esteban Villa. It was one of the "most important collective artist groups" in the Chicano art movement in California during the 1970s and the 1980s and continues to be influential into the 21st century. Through the organizational framework of a collective, artists and community members established a silk screen operation to create multiples of images promoting art, cultural activities, community events, and political action.
RCAF Founding Members include:
José Montoya (deceased)
Ricardo Favela (deceased)
Armando R. Cid (deceased)
Juanishi V. Orosco
Rodolfo "Rudy" Cuellar
Luis "Louie the Foot" Gonzalez (deceased)
Juan Cervantes (deceased)
Max Garcia (deceased)
Juan M. Carrillo
Joe Serna, Jr. (deceased)
The RCAF began operating out of the Washington Neighborhood Center and frequently held events at Sacramento's Southside Park. To fund their activities and to support the farmworkers, they held dances, performances, and other fundraisers, for which they created promotional posters that visually incorporated the themes of the Chicano Movement. They also received funding support from the Washington Neighborhood Center and California State University, Sacramento.
The RCAF painted murals throughout Sacramento, most noteably the 1977 Southside Park Mural, as well as several in San Diego's Chicano Park and one in Burley, Idaho. Community art workshops included the Barrio Art Program and the Anciano Art Project, for children and the elderly, respectively. For high school and college students, there were workshops in silkscreening and muralism.
The members of the RCAF did not restrict their activities to the arts. Inspired by the free breakfast programs of the Black Panther Party, they and other activists such as Jennie Baca and Rosemary Rasul, implemented the Breakfast for Niños program for impoverished schoolchildren in the Sacramento area. Members of the RCAF also established a bookstore that would become La Raza Bookstore that would eventually be known as La Raza Galeria Posada in Sacramento. The RCAF, under the directorship of Gilbert Gamino, ran an automotive repair cooperative called Aeronaves de Aztlán.
https://utpress.utexas.edu/.../diaz-flying-under-the-radar-with-royal-chicano-air-force, Ella Maria Diaz, The first book-length study of the Royal Chicano Air Force maps the history of this vanguard Chicano/a arts collective, which used art and cultural production as sociopolitical activism.