Eduardo Carrillo’s art has been described as mystical, realistic, surreal & visionary. Through teaching and scholarship, Carrillo significantly advanced the recognition and appreciation of Chicano art & culture in California. His imagery, grounded in the mundane yet infused with magical realism, reflects his relationship to his native California & to his Mexican heritage, his religious upbringing, & European traditions in art.
Born in Santa Monica in 1937, Carrillo grew up in Los Angeles. In 1960, he studied for a year at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid where spent time studying the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, Giorgio de Chirico, El Greco, Diego Velázquez & other European artists at the Museo del Prado. Carrillo earned a BFA (1962) & MFA (1964) from the UCLA. Carrillo & his first wife, Sheila, moved to his ancestral home in La Paz, Baja California, from 1966-69. During these years, they founded El Centro Regional de Arte in La Paz, helping revive the area’s local artistic traditions.
Returning to the US in 1969, Carrillo joined the Chicano civil rights movement, El Movimiento. In 1970, he & three other artists completed the nine-paneled "Chicano History" for the Chicano Studies Center at UCLA, the first such mural to be painted at a US university. After the violent events of the Chicano Moratorium of August 1970, he moved to Northern California to teach at Sacramento State, & was briefly part of the artists’ group Royal Chicano Air Force. Carrillo never walked away from efforts to eliminate the racism that spurred the civil rights movement, though his activism is best expressed in his artwork and teaching.
“Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo", on view June 24 - October 7, 2018, highlights the creative efforts & social importance of Carrillo as artist, teacher, scholar & social activist. It showcases work created for three distinct realms: public, private, & museum. Intimate watercolors & paintings describe the artist’s everyday life in self-portraits, still lifes & images of people & places he held dear, & large-scale visionary paintings reveal his complex & creative mind.