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Guide to the Ernesto R. Palomino Papers CEMA 6
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Collection Details
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  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Sketch
  • Scope Note
  • Container List
  • Bibliography

  • Title: Ernesto R. Palomino Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 6
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.0 linear feet 1 box of clippings, 3 sketches, 4 videos, professional portfolio, and 1 slide tray
    Date (inclusive): 1950-1990
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    General Physical Description note: Three linear feet; six boxes

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    Service copies of audiovisual items may need to be made before viewing or listening. Please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ernesto R. Palomino Papers, CEMA 6, Special Collections, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical Sketch

    Ernesto Ramirez Palomino (December 21, 1933-) is a Chicano artist, educator and community activist. Palomino was born in Fresno, California and continues to live in the San Joaquin Valley area with his wife, Joyce Alire Palomino (married August 27, 1967). Together they have raised five children: Jocylen, Fresno, Joaquin, Billy, and Calvin. Since the Fall of 1970, Palomino has taught at California State University in Fresno, first in the La Raza Studies Department, then in the Department of Art where he is currently Associate Professor. Palomino's artistic media have included masks, drawings, 'found-object' sculpture, ceramic mosaics, body art, easel and mural painting, as well as the production of a book and a film.
    Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Palomino participated in the Chicano Cultural Movement by assisting communities in the creation of public murals. In 1975, Palomino helped found la Broche del Valle (the Brush of the Valley), an interdisciplinary collective of artists in Fresno working with Central Valley communities to produce public murals, theatrical productions, and art exhibitions. The non-profit organization has a Board of Directors, several full-time employees, and numerous members. Their program of activities has included art exhibitions, classes, theater productions, publications, and the creation of murals throughout the region.
    Palomino attended Fresno's Edison High School where he received artistic encouragement from art teacher Elizabeth Daniels Baldwin. Ms. Baldwin was instrumental in getting Palomino's book In Black and White: Evolution of an Artist published in 1956. This book reproduces much of Palomino's work done between 1945 and 1955 while he was a youth. After graduation from high school, Palomino served two years in the Marine Corps. He then attended the San Francisco Art Institute in 1954, the Fresno City College in 1956, and Fresno State College in 1957. He also attended San Francisco State College from 1960 to 1965, earning a BA and MA in Fine Arts.
    Palomino characterized his work during the years 1957-1965 as gabacho (Anglo) art, referring to the found objects and junk materials incorporated into his sculptures of this period. A number of these sculptural pieces were included in his autobiographical, animated film "My Trip in a '52 Ford." This film, created for his Master of Arts thesis project presented at San Francisco State College in 1966, features his assemblage sculpture as cinematic characters. Included are Mary '52 Ford, "an immortal mother having children after death," George Go, Dorothy Dresser, Carol Chair, and Steve Stove. From 1968 to 1969, Palomino worked in Denver for the Migrant Council, became a member of La Raza Unida party, and then returned to Fresno to begin his teaching career.
    In 1970 Palomino, along with Lee Orona, created the first Chicano murals in Fresno, beginning with Farmworkers Mural. In 1972, he created for the Madera community the Raza Mural, and in 1974 the Benito Juarez Portraitat the Selma Farmworkers Office. These murals present Chicano themes such as the UFW Huelga eagle, the calavera, an image of Quetzalcoatl, and a portrait of Juarez, the first liberal president of Mexico. The public paintings depict the social struggles of local farmworkers and the belief in a new cultural identity for Chicanos. Art historian Jacinto Quirarte has written that "Palomino, like other Chicano artists, is using the Chicano experience in the valleys of California and in the entire Southwest in general as a point of departure for his work." As Palomino explains his artistic efforts, he sought to "help create the new Chicano culture."
    An expression of this new Chicano culture was the development of numerous artists' groups working with and for the people of La Raza. Palomino's involvement with activism in the arts includes serving as an artistic director for several school and community programs in the central valley of California. He worked with the Retired Teachers Organization, the Fresno Juvenile Hall, and Fresno City High Schools to create murals at a school, a hospital, and various public places. Palomino was a participant in the 1973 National Symposium on Mexican American Art at Trinity University. In 1973 Palomino became artistic director for "Inner City Mural Project" of Fresno and, through a 1973 National Endowment for the Humanities grant, assisted the creation of the Malaga Community Park mural titled Humanities Mural. His artistic and community activism gained additional support in 1974 with a second National Endowment for the Arts grant, followed by a California Arts Council grant in 1976.
    Palomino has had one man shows at the Fresno Arts Center (1954), the California Legion of Honor, San Francisco (1957), The Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento (1957), Fresno State College (1958), Teatro Campesino, Fresno (1970), and Mechicano Art Center, Los Angeles (1971). His work has been included in group shows such as Mission Gallery, San Francisco (1963), Sabor a Fresno in Fresno (1976), Chicano Art of the Barrio, Houston (1976), University of Texas, Corpus Christi (1977), Rez Crez Studios, Fresno (1978), Corazon de Aztlan, Santa Cruz (1981), Califas: An Exhibition of Chicano Artists in California, San Francisco (1981), Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, Los Angeles (1985) and others.

    Scope Note

    The contents of the Ernesto R. Palomino Papers reflect the development of a Chicano artist from his 1950s era beginnings as a Mexican American youth through his active participation in the Chicano cultural movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The material in this collection provides reproductions of all phases of Palomino's career, including photos of his earliest drawings, his sculpture, paintings, and color photocopies of his murals. Included in the papers are grant proposals and artistic statements that reflect Palomino's goals, intentions, and breadth of accomplishments as an individual artist and as an activist educator working with students and artists from various communities.
    The Palomino Papers presently consists of documentation assembled by Palomino for a 1990 tenure promotion review, a draft of Palomino's 1956 book In Black and White: Evolution of an Artist, a videorecording of his 1966 film My Trip in a '52 Ford, three bound notebooks of his sketches, and assorted newsclippings, photographs, and color photocopies of his art work. The two volume set of tenure review papers created by Palomino, and submitted to California State University in Fresno, includes a curriculum vitae, files documenting his professional activities, syllabi of classes taught, photographs and color photocopies of his community murals, and letters of recommendation for Palomino. These papers provide information on Palomino's activities during the years 1950-1990.
    The records are housed in six archival boxes spanning three linear feet. The collection will be augmented on a continuing basis.

    Container List

    The Biographical Informaiton series consists of three folders contained in box one. Included here are documents about his education and employment history, early art work, exhibitions, reviews, awards, bibliography, and a short biography.
    The Tenure Promotion Files series has nine folders contained in box one. The series maintains the original order of the two-volume-set of papers Palomino prepared for his tenure review at California State University in Fresno in 1990.
    The Book in Black and White series consisting of seven folders, is contained in boxes one and two. All folders within this series pertain to Palomino's 1956 book In Black and White.
    The Sketches series, consists of eight folders, and is contained in boxes two, three, and oversize box four. The first through third folders contain bound, undated sketch books and are maintained in the order received from the artist. The fourth folder is a collection of miscellaneous, unbound sketches maintained in the order of receipt from the artist. The remaining folders contain several large, matted pen and ink sketches.
    The Video, Film, and Slides series contains video-formatted reproductions of his 1966 film My Trip in a '52 Ford and several other videotapes.


    Barnett, Alan W. Community Murals: The People's Art. New York: Cornwall Books, 1984 (pp. 113-115, 297-298).
    Cockcroft, Eva. Toward a People's Art. New York: Dutton, 1977.
    Griswold del Castillo, Richard, Teresa McKenna and Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano. eds. Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985. Wight Art Gallery, Los Angeles: University of California, 1990.
    Directory of Hispanic American Organizations.San Antonio, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1987 (p. 3).
    Mexican American Biographies. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988. (p. 170).
    Palomino, Ernesto (Ernie). In Black and White: Evolution of an Artist. Fresno, California: Academy Library Guild, 1956.
    Quirarte, Jacinto. Mexican American Artists. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983 (pp. 96-99).
    Who's Who in the West. 17th edition. Chicago: Marquis, 1980-1981.