The Great Tortilla Conspiracy is:

Jos Sances

Jos is founder and the art director of Alliance Graphics, begun in 1989 it has grown into a successful, union screenprint and design shop. Over the years Jos has designed and printed thousands of posters and t-shirts for hundreds of progressive causes, while at the same time maintaining a steady output of art which address issues and ideas which concern him. He is an expert at computer design and its application to screenprint. Before Alliance Graphics, he co-founded Mission Grafica at the Mission Cultural Center in 1980 and worked there until1988. Jos has painted murals at the Oakland Coliseum and tile mural commissions at the new Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro, CA; AMTRAK/BART Station, Richmond,CA and the Sixteenth Street BART station in San Francisco. He has been commissioned to do tile murals at the new Library in Castro Valley and Arnett Watson Apartments in San Francisco, with Art Hazelwood, both to be installed in 2009. Also a large mural with Daniel Galvez for a new Recreation Center at Ira Jenkins Park in Oakland in 2010. Jos is proudly a founding and lifelong member of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy.

René Yañez

René Yañez is an artist, curator and producer who lives in San Francisco. A founder and former Artistic Director of Galeria de la Raza, Yañez was one of the first curators to introduce the contemporary concept of Mexico’s Day of the Dead to the United States with Rooms for the Dead and Labyrinth for the Dead at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Since the early 1970s, René Yañez has been instrumental in establishing the Day of the Dead as an important cultural celebration. With co-director Ralph Maradiaga, the celebrations were marked by increasingly large exhibitions, ceremonies, processions, and school-based activities. They quickly spread beyond the Mission District, encompassing various communities in the Bay Area, California, the American Southwest and back home to Mexico.

René Yañez galvanized a large community of Latino and Chicano artists and their allies from all communities. The list of artists he supported at early stages of their careers reads like a who’s who of internationally-recognized Latino artists, including Rupert García, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Ester Hernández, Yolanda López, Carmen Lomas-Garza, Enrique Chagoya, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Gronk, and ASCO. Active as both a visual and performance arts curator and artist, Yáñez co-founded the successful Chicano performance trio Culture Clash. In 1998, he received the “Special Trustees Award in Cultural Leadership” from the San Francisco Foundation for his long-standing contribution to the cultural life of the Bay Area.

Yáñez is widely recognized for his innovative art projects that promote a greater awareness of our culturally diverse society. He has curated numerous exhibitions including the art exhibit Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge. The collection features works by Chicano artists from around the United States. During its five-year, 15-stop tour, Chicano Visions will be shown simultaneously with its companion cultural exhibit, Chicano Now: American Expressions.

Throughout his decades of work in the arts, René has remained a stalwart supporter of grass-roots organizations and community artists, collaborating with organizations such as SomArts, Oakland Museum of California, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Kearny Street Workshop, Mission Cultural Center and the San Francisco Arts Commission. He has been a strong role model and vital cultural force in the San Francisco arts community.

Rio Yañez

From the moment he was conceived in an artist’s studio, Rio Yañez’ fate as an artist was sealed. Born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District, Yañez is a curator, photographer, and graphic artist. As a curator he is a frequent collaborator with his father, Rene Yañez, and the pair have been developing exhibits together since 2005. He has exhibited in cities ranging from San Francisco to Tokyo. His reimaginings of Frida Kahlo have included the Ghetto Frida Project, a series of prints, writings, and performance pieces featuring a thugged-out Kahlo. Yañez is also a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective. Yañez currently works at the South of Market Cultural Center (SomArts) as a curator and manager.

Art Hazelwood

Art Hazelwood is an artist, impresario and instigator. With Stephen Fredericks, he organized a nationwide political art coalition called Art of Democracy in 2008. In 2009 he curated the traveling exhibition Hobos to Street People: Artists’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present, which continues its tour through 2012. Also in 2009 he curated a history of the relief print in Northern California at the Hearst Art Gallery, St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. In 2011 Hazelwood curated several exhibitions. In Extremis: Prints Monumental, Intimate and Encompassing at the Meridian Gallery in San Francisco featured the work of more than 30 contemporary artists and artist groups. He also curated Between Struggle and Hope: Envisioning a Democratic Art in the 1930s, at the de Saisset Museum. He has worked to protect and promote the artwork of several artists in their last years, including organizing several retrospective exhibitions.
Hazelwood has created artwork that is political, satirical and sometimes literary in a range of forms from posters to fine press artist books to public art. He recently created two large scale ceramic tile murals in San Francisco, one with Jos Sances and one with students of Visitacion Valley Middle School. Hazelwood’s artwork is in several major collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress and regularly appears in several west coast street newspapers.

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