May 22, 2002

hometown news
My mom often sends me packets full of news clippings from San Antonio papers. One clipping she recently sent was about Adan Hernandez and the “Chicano Visions: American Paintings on the Verge” exhibition.
I met Adan several years ago in S.A. when I was collecting info regarding the local art scene for Giancarlo Politi. Adan is the son of migrant farmworkers and, as a child, travelled with them throughout the states looking for work. As a teen he earned a living painting signs but, when he married Debi Fischer, his wife insisted that he dedicate himself fulltime to his art work while she maintained them with her job at the telephone company.

For awhile Adan painted portraits of Chicano cultural heroes such as Flaco Jimenez and Maria Berriozabal. But his work made a decisive change when his 18 month old daughter, Alia, fell from a second story window and almost died. To keep from losing his sanity wondering whether or not his daughter would live, Adan worked in a frenzy substituting insomnia with painting. In fact, he painted mainly nocturnal urban scenes that were neon lit and populated by lonely pachucos. These blue-tinted canvases were filled with fires and palms giving a Chicano film noir quality to a pseudo-romantic representation of barrio life.

Adan got his Big Break when the scenographer Bruno Rubeo (of Driving Miss Daisy) saw Adan’s work at the Jansen-Perez gallery in San Antonio and connected the artist with Taylor Hackford. Hackford commissioned Adan to make more than 30 paintings for the film BOUND BY HONOR. The prices of Adan’s paintings subsequently skyrocketed.
Nevertheless Adan, despite his rapid rise to a L.A. based fame, decided to stay in San Antonio because, as he told me: It’s important to stay close to your source and let the others find you. If mainstream wants me, they know where I am.

In 1994 Adan’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. He thus retreated from the artworld to take care of her and their two kids. Five years later, his wife died.

It saddens me to know that a man who loved his wife so much, lost her.

Love is Photogenic.

Adan: adan herndanez post-chicano artist-- 'High Arte, High Fashion for the Varrio'--ADAN HERNANDEZ Post-Chicano Artist from the Barrio-- ARTISTS STUDIO TOUR HERALDED GREAT SUCCESS --Chicano art: Chicano art: a resource guide--controversial exhibitions of Chicano art from 1965 to the early 1990s--CHICANO ART NETWORKS-- Chicano Art Links-- Chicano Art developed in the 1960s during the political eruption of the civil rights movements in the United States--Chicano Art as a Political Statement-- Esperanza art center


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