Since the rise of the Chicano Movement in the late 60s and early 70s, Chicano artists have used a variety of mediums to express historical counter-narratives, encourage political activism, and educate communities. Unsurprisingly, Chicano artists have continued this legacy of Chicanismo into today’s contemporary artistic and political movements—taking the moment to express political autonomy, cultural solidarity, and pride in being of Indigenous descent. Among the many artists continuing this proud legacy is Jake Prendez, a 45-year-old Chicano painter hailing from Seattle, Washington.
Jake Prendez is the creator of a series of popular oil painting portraits, and he is also the Co-Director of the Nepantla Cultural Center in the neighborhood of White center Seattle. During our discussion, we talk with Jake about his upbringing in the Seattle area, the struggle to culturally thrive at a time when Seattle and many cities like it had very little representation in regard to Chicanos and other Latinos, and also his political awakening and desire to create art that pulls on cultural triggers to elicit a response from his audience.
Throughout our conversation, you will notice various reoccurring themes and parallels from Jake’s journey to that of other Chicanos and Chicanas. Themes of being forced to move to a new place and never quite fitting in, experiencing cultural and political awakenings in high school, and continuing on into college. As well as the pursuit of deferred dreams and ambition later in life compared to other fellow creatives.
Featured below is our full interview with Jake Prendez available through our official SoundCloud page. You can listen and subscribe to Step Off! Radio on your preferred podcast streaming service by visiting our Podcast page. You can follow Jake Prendez on his social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Please be sure to rate and review the show!