The legendary Jazz-Blues singer Nina Simone once said that, “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.” While artists in every medium share this obligation to be to interpreters and storytellers of our own respective eras; perhaps nowhere is this responsibility more apparent and integral to the art than in the realm of satirical comics and cartoons. In a digital age where cheap, unfunny memes are literally plentiful by the millions, littering practically every corner of the web from obscure internet chatrooms and message forums, to the most mainstream of social media platforms; the art of thoughtful, clever, satirical political cartoons is in many ways a under appreciated if not all out overlooked craft. However, in today’s virulent political climate, by no means are satyrical cartoonist at a loss for content or inspiration. In the age of a Trump administration and increasingly emboldened and violent far right faction in the U.S., cartoonists could literally churn out multiple comics a day and still not come even close to being at a loss for content and ample commentary. In light of these strange times our county has found itself in the midst of, perhaps no artist represents this work ethic better or is up to the task more than Joaquin Junco Jr. better known by his artist name Junco Canché.
As one of the best rising political cartoonists in the country, since 2009 Junco Canché has done political cartoons featured in publications such as El Coyote Crossing Borders the San Diego Free Press, La Prensa San Diego as well as the Southwestern College Sun; and most recently working as a regular guest contributor for the nationally syndicated comic strip La Cucaracha from San Diego native Lalo Alcaraz. As a Chicano artist, Junco’s art and satirical comics offer an often overlooked perspective view of both the state and national politics from a adamantly and unapologetic, Chicano/Mexican-American perspective. Giving a unique look into politics and life around the U.S./Mexico border region and South-Western United States; few artists have managed to so cleverly and concisely comment on today’s political climate of the past few years better than Junco.
With that said, we are proud to present the third episode of Step Off! Radio with Junco Canché where we had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Junco on a variety of topics from his memories growing up in Mexico in the 90’s, the countless nuances of the lived Chicano experience here in the U.S., Cultural appropriation vs., appreciation, decolonization in the arts and pop-culture as well as his most recent collaborations with musical artists such as Kozmik Force.
Featured below is our full interview with Junco Canché as well as several of his comics published in La Cucaracha.
*BIG shout out to Junco for his continued support and immense patience with us as we worked on completing this episode!