The third season of FX’s Mexican motorcycle club drama Mayans M.C. started rollin’ again this month and to help rev up excitement, the network and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts have commissioned local Latin artists to create murals around Los Angeles, celebrating our city’s mural heritage and Chicano creative culture.
Inspired by main character Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, the wall creations by Levi Ponce, Sonia Romero, and Lalo Alcaraz’s are now up and ready to view in Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Boyle Heights. Each mural features a QR code that links to a URL featuring mural inspirations, show scene highlights, artist biographies, downloadable digital wallpapers and a guide to Latin-owned businesses in each neighborhood.
We caught up with Alcaraz, whose biting political cartoons (featured in LA Weekly early in his career) have made him a revered and beloved figure when it comes to social commentary and Latino perspectives. Q&A below.
LA WEEKLY: Can you share the theme & inspiration for your Mayans mural?
LALO ALCARAZ: I was drawn to the father/son relationship between EZ and Felipe, because it is so strong yet so heavily tested by the life of the characters. I included the hearts from Frida Kahlo’s “Las Dos Fridas” to visually represent this blood connection, and to reference Mexican painting. I was actually in Mexico City three years ago and saw an image on a small wheat-pasted mural riffing off of the same Dos Fridas painting. It depicted the hearts connected to each other, but also to many other things that cause pain, such as alcohol and toxic environments, and the image really stuck with me. In my version, I used hearts from the classic Lotería cards and of course, depicted the father and son characters from FX’s Mayans M.C.
How does the location of your mural factor into the inspiration and exposure for Latin art that this project provides?
The setting, inspired by a Mayans M.C. scene in front of Felipe’s shop, is a nod to the mural’s busy Boyle Heights location. I first worked on Chicano Art in Los Angeles in 1991 in Boyle Heights and East LA, so I was passionate about working on this mural location as I know firsthand its deep tradition of Chicano Art. I’m excited to reflect the most Chicano show on television, Mayans M.C., through artwork, in the very epicenter of Chicano Art.
What are your thoughts on the show in terms of representation of our culture on TV?
Mayans M.C. is a wild show and as for representation, it is like the Chicano Actor Employment Program! I wish more shows had the numbers of Mexican-American and Latino actors that this show does.
Huge fan of yours since your LA Weekly days and beyond. In a nutshell, how has your work evolved? What was it like over the last few years & now that we’re in a new political era, what do you anticipate your focus to be?
I’ve been on an aggressive political cartoon tear the last few years. Thankfully, along the way, my work has grown and moved up to bigger platforms. Not just in film and TV, but in art projects like this, in big publishing, and internationally.
My emphasis lately has been in very wholesome projects, like getting people to register and vote and combating vaccine hesitancy. I also want to create more content for children, because it’s so fun and I want kids to have the things I didn’t. My number one goal is: I want to be the Chicano Employment Program too!
Mayans M.C. (season 3) airs 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX and next day on FX on Hulu.
Mural locations: Levi Ponce in Silver Lake (3501 Sunset Blvd.); Sonia Romero in Echo Park (Casa Buona, 2100 Sunset Blvd.); and Alcarez at Boyle Heights (1870 E. First St.).