Orale ese Vato

Orale ese Vato

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As this paño humorously titled Orale ese vato (Spanish for roughly, right on, man) shows, one characteristic of Chicano art is that it avidly consumes and reconfigures both American and Mexican pop culture with its own slang, looks, and attitude. A paño is a hand-drawn handkerchief traditionally designed by Chicano prisoners. Like a letter that retells memories of both good and bad times, paños are often mailed as gifts to friends and loved ones. Valued as a vibrant popular art that overlaps with muralism, tattoo design, graffiti, and auto airbrushing, paños and their makers are receiving increased exposure for their visual storytelling abilities. An illustrator and a muralist known for depicting Chicano themes, Walter Baca (1947-1993) designed this paño in New Mexico in 1992.
Description (Spanish)
Como lo muestra este paño con el gracioso títuloÓrale ese vato , un modo de caracterizar al arte chicano es la forma en que consume ávidamente la cultura pop tanto americana como mexicana y la reconfigura con su propia jerga, perspectivas y actitudes. Un paño es un pañuelo dibujado a mano, tradicionalmente diseñado por prisioneros chicanos. Al igual que una carta en la que se recuentan memorias de tiempos idos, buenos y malos, los paños se envían a menudo como presentes a los amigos o seres queridos. Valorados como una expresión vibrante del arte popular superpuesta al muralismo, al diseño de tatuajes y a la pintura de automóviles con aerógrafos, los paños y sus creadores están recibiendo cada vez más publicidad gracias a sus habilidades visuales narrativas. Walter Baca (1947-1993), ilustrador y muralista conocido por sus representaciones de temas chicanos, diseñó este paño en Nuevo México en 1992.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Baca, Walter R.
Place Made
United States: New Mexico, Albuquerque
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
ink, pen (overall material)
overall: 42 cm x 41 cm; 16 9/16 in x 16 1/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Rudy Padilla
Popular Culture
Mickey Mouse
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I used to work at the jail in Albuquerque and at one time Walter Baca was incarcerated there. He drew a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a paper towel and gave it to me in exchange for cigarettes. It is a great example of “Chicano Pinto art”.

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