Frank Romero is considered one of the leading pioneers of Chicano and Latino art. Romero grew up in Boyle Heights, a large Latino neighborhood in East Los Angeles, just a short city bus ride from Chinatown.
Romero studied at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and earned a degree in art from California State University in Los Angeles. At Cal State LA, he made friends with several other East Los Angeles artists, three of whom joined him in co-founding the art collective Los Four. Nearly thirty years later Romero recalled his early days as an artist in a story by Carolina Miranda in the Los Angeles Times (March 2017). When Miranda asked how Los Four came about, he responded: “We were getting involved with the idea of being Chicano. I was doing protest art… We were very much involved in the cultural revolution that was happening at the time.”
In 1974 Los Four got their big break when the Los Angeles County Museum opened an exhibit of their creative work– the first ever Chicano show in a major museum in Los Angeles and indeed the entire nation.
Since the momentous years of the 1970s, Romero’s paintings and creative sculptures have been featured in hundreds of shows and exhibitions. Romero is a brilliant colorist and includes bright images of cars, palm trees and ordinary people from East Los Angeles in his paintings. Many of his works have been acquired by major museums, including the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Most recently Romero was included in the LAN! Exhibition at the University of Houston-Downtown Gallery. As noted in my featured article, Romero’s silkscreen was one of the 100 works by Latinos that my wife Harriett and I donated to the University of Houston-Downtown. Read more about the exhibition on page 14.