Leo Limón


Over the years, Leo Limón has earned recognition and accolades from his peers and colleagues throughout the professional art world and has enjoyed widespread popularity with the community as a leader and role model. His activities date back to the very formative years of the Chicano art movement and over that time, has reflected the vision, aspirations and images of his surroundings and roots.

Leo has always been a cultural worker and an arts ambassador for East L.A. and the Chicano community. In the early years he was very influenced and involved with the art group Los Four and worked with Carlos Almaraz, the Mechicano Art Center, Plaza de la Raza and the Centro de Arte Publico.

During his residency with Self-Help Graphics, Leo was involved in the development of several important programs at the center, including the annual celebration of Dia De Los Muertos. Past director, Sister Karen Boccalero (OSF), allowed him to act upon opening the screen print shop which evolved into the well known atelier printmaking program. His fine art silkscreen prints have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Early in his career, Leo created the artwork for album songbook for Frank Zappa.

In order to pursue his commitment to youth in the community, Leo assisted with the coordination of various projects including the L.A. River Catz restoration and re-creation project during his co-directorship at the Aztlan Cultural Arts Foundation, Inc. he is also involved in a number of groups and efforts to revive the Los Angeles River as a historic region, cultural arts enclave and tourist destination.

Leo's life work and impact to date have left a positive legacy not only upon the local community and culture, but also the art world in general. He is one of the most distinguished mid career artists of the Chicano art movement. Leo is also a United States veteran.

"I reference an indigenous cultural legacy & incorporate the modern world. I draw what I see, then I change it with paint and imagination. I act as a prism and reflect on my canvas as a beautiful spectrum."

The video documentary "Leo Limon: Portrait of an Artist" is about one of the most popular and visible artists in the Chicano art movement. The video captures various phases of the artist's life in the context of the broader history of important cultural centers such as Self-Help Graphics & Art and the Mechicano Art Center, and his proactive and collaborative approaches to alleviate gang violence and other social problems confronting at-risk urban youth and residents in high-violence neighborhoods. In addition, the video explores his important work in the preservation and restoration of the Los Angeles River as an ecological and recreational zone for the Los Angeles community. It illustrates the cultural and economic benefits of innovative parklands preservation through initiatives like the L.A. River arts program.

This movie is part of the collection: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections

Producer: California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives and the Chicano Studies Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: Leo LimonChicano Art

Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.

copyright 2015