Bill Booth wrote in Saturday's Washington Post that while he can't necessarily judge the beauty of Joe Bravo's artistry, the world is starting to "come around to knowing eccentric genius when it sees it." This piece, Lady with Red Fan, is "acrylic on flour tortilla."
You or I? We see a tortilla and we think, yum, burrito night. But not Joe Bravo. No, mis amigos, Bravo looks at a toasted tortilla and he sees the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Or perhaps a sleeping pit bull. Or Emiliano Zapata. Or a cockroach, its head bursting into flame!
The point is that we have the eyes, but do not see. And that is why Joe Bravo is traveling to Hong Kong this month for an international exhibit of his tortilla art, and we are eating lunch at Taco Bell.
"One morning," says Bravo, 57, the memory still as fresh 35 years later as a crunchy chip with a scoop of salsa, "I was looking at this corn tortilla . . . " (He has since moved on to flour).
And? "I saw a canvas."
Bravo was a student at Cal State Northridge at the time. Recently, his tortilla art was featured here at the Mexican Cultural Institute. Here's Bravo's web page on his other media mentions, including a piece in the LAT and a guest appearance on KCRW's "Good Food" with Evan Kleiman.