Greetings friends and relatives my name is Zeke,
it rhymes with geek or freak. Some people call me Zeque, Cheque or Ezequiel depending on what language they speak. Thanks for taking the time to look at my work. I'm a cartoonist, an illustrator and a painter working on the US/MX frontera in El Paso, Tejas. Most of my work is inspired by living on the border and remixes historical narratives with what's going on today. I use comics to subvert American history and reclaim stories that were burned by colonialism; resistencia one cartoon at a time. I also do community work for organizations in my region and across the country. I'm currently working on a few comic and book projects including an illustrated history of the US/MX Border. I'm always open to taking commissions and I'd love to hear from you about collaborating on something. Or if you're an art director or publisher I'd love to tell you all the reasons why should hire me for your next project.
Here's another dorky press photo if you need one.
United States b. 1983 Las Cruces, New Mexico
I'm a cartoonist, an illustrator and a painter working on the US/MX frontera in El Paso, Tejas. My interdisciplinary work explores universal themes of identity, politics, ecology and social justice by remixing contemporary and historical narratives. My process is informed by extensive research, community engagement and historical methodology. I'm self taught in the studio but went to school for Art History + Visual Studies at UT Austin. I use a mezcla of new media and traditional techniques to tell stories that are influenced by cartoons, border culture and indigenous iconography. I use the accessible medium of comics to engage complex issues with satire and comedy. I'm interested in subverting American history and reclaiming stories that were burned by colonialism; resistencia one cartoon at a time.
My illustrations and cartoons have appeared on album and book covers, in editorials and comics, and as graphics for community organizing. I recently finished Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publishing, 2018), a graphic biography about the Mexican photographer with author Isabel Quintero. My work has been exhibited at Rose Gallery for Pacific Standard Time LA/LA (2017) as well as galleries and museums across the country. I’m a recipient of the Stan Lee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Arts Excellence Endowment (2016), Santa Fe Arts Institute - Arts Residency (2015), MCAD/NEA Artist Incubator Grant (2013, 2015), Siqueiros-Pollock Concurso Binacional Fronterizo de Pintura y Dibujo (2017) and I’m a Working Classroom Artist Resident (2017). My work is included in collections at National Museum of Mexican Art - Chicago, El Paso Museum of Art, National Hispanic Cultural Center- Albuquerque and several Private collections of American and Chicano art.
BA Art History/Visual Studies - University of Texas at Austin, Ampla Cum Laude - 2005
Areas of Focus: U.S./MX Border & Southwest Region, Indigenous Art, Chicana/o Art, Women/Gender Studies, Film Studies
2017 | Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide Getty Publishing - Illustrated graphic novel with author Isabel Quintero.
2017 | Border Beast - The Nib: Daily Comics Publication - Web comic
2017 | Jaya And Rasa: A Love Story - Cinco Puntos Press / Sonia Patel, author - Illustrated book cover + Production graphics.
2017 | Your Healing Is Killing Me - Plays Inverse Press / Vicki Grise, author - Illustrated play cover + Production graphics
2016 | This Land Is Your Land - Chicano Batman, Johnnie Walker campaign - Illustrated album cover
2016 | YONKE - Self-Initiated Project - Comic zine about the border
2016 | Disasters of War - Self-Initiated Project - Comic zine about war crimes on the US/MX border
2015 | Visions From The Inside - Culture/Strike - Illustration
2015 | Rani Patel: In Full Effect - Cinco Puntos Press / Sonia Patel, author - Illustrated book cover + Production graphics
2014 | Gabi, A Girl In Pieces - Cinco Puntos Press/ Isabel Quintero, author - Illustrated book cover + interior Illustrations
2014 | Desert Yeti - Macbeth Footwear - Mural, shirt graphic + print
2014 | Los Lobos - Modern Multiples/Los Lobos - Gig poster
2017 | Photographic - Pacific Standard Time LA/LA - Rose Gallery. Santa Monica, CA.
2017 | Siqueros-Pollock Concurso Binacional Fronterizo de Pintura y Dibujo. Centro Civico, Ciudad Juárez, Chih. MX
2017 | La Frontera - University of Texas El Paso Centennial Museum. El Paso, TX.
2017 | Future Now/Futuro Ahora - Loisaida Art Center. Harlem, NY.
2017 | 6th Annual Chicana/o Biennial - MACLA. San Jose, CA.
2017 | Amexican@ - Gravelmouth Gallery, San Antonio, TX.
2017 | Bravo/Grande - Roswell Museum and Art Center. Roswell, NM.
2016 | Reclaim - Rubin Center for Visual Arts. El Paso, TX.
2016 | Aztlán, the Permanent Collection and Beyond - Riverside Museum of Art, Riverside, CA.
2016 | Amexican@ - Mexic-Arte Museum of Art, Austin, TX.
2016 | Welcome! - CAL State - Fine Arts Gallery - Los Angeles, CA.
2016 | House On Mango St.: Artist Interpret Community. - HCC, ABQ., NM curated by NMMA Chicago, IL.
2016 | Visions From the Inside - Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art - Peekskill, NY.
2016 | LA/SA - Gravelmouth Gallery, San Antonio, TX.
2016 | Immigration & Citizenship - Idyllwild Arts Exhibition Center, Idyllwild, CA.
2016 | Desert Triangle Carpeta - El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX.
2015 | La Muerte Niña - National Museum of Mexican Art. Chicago, IL.
2015 | Return of the Souls - Self Help Graphics Gallery. Los Angeles, CA.
2015 | Agua/Frontera - Juárez Contemporary Gallery. Juárez, Chih., Mexico.
2015 | Comics With A Conscience - Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery. Chicago, IL.
2015 | Print Residency - Chicago, IL. Master Printer: Gabe Hoare & Liz Born.
2015 | Yay Big Southwest Print Exhibit - Rusteberg Gallery. Brownsville, TX.
2015 | Chelas Y Cheetos - Cinco Puntos Gallery. El Paso, TX.
2014 | Septiembre Photos - La Fe Cultural Center, El Paso, TX.
2014 | Rito Y Recuerdo - National Museum of Mexican Art. Chicago, IL.
2014 | Una Cita Con La Vida - Self-Help Graphics. Los Angeles, CA.
2013 | Exposicion - Maintain Creative Coalition, El Paso, TX.
2013 | Yay Big Southwest - Tucson, AZ & El Paso, TX.
2012 | Maintain Mobile - Chalk The Block. El Paso, TX.
2012 | Chucanos - Kalavera Gallery, El Paso, TX.
2011 | Free Radicals - Chalk the Block. El Paso, TX.
2011 | Border to Border - Gallery A.K.A., San Diego, CA.
2011 | Exquisite Dorks - DFault Gallery, El Paso, TX.
2009 | Redefining Walls - Union Gallery, Univ. of Texas El Paso.
2009 | Biennial Ciudad Juárez / El Paso - El Paso Museum of Art & Museo del Arte Juárez
2009 | Viewfinder - Houston Center of Photography, Houston, TX.
2007 | High Contrast - Shine Gallery. El Paso, TX.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT + PRESENTATIONS + WORKSHOPS
2016 | Artist Talk & Studio Visits - University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso, TX.
2016 | Print Workshop & Presentation - University of Texas at Brownsville. Brownsville, TX.
2016 | Desert Environment on the Border Presentation - Centennial Museum at University of Texas at El Paso. El Paso, TX.
2015 | Freelance Futures: Professional Practices Workshop - CUADRO Community Space / Stan Lee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Arts. University of Texas at El Paso.
2015 | Waterbound Presentation - Bowie High School. El Paso, TX.
2015 | Artist In Business: Public Art Training - City of El Paso MCAD & Texas Commission on the Arts El Paso, TX.
2015 | Letters from the Inside - Participating artist in a national graphics campaign connecting visual artist with migrants in detention centers. Culture/Strike, San Francisco, CA.
2014 | Centennial Celebration of the Arts Presentation - Presentation of a participatory project about immigration and water. Stan Lee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. El Paso, TX.
2014 | Visual Narratives: Collaborative Storytelling - Presentation at the Inaugural Wise Latina Conference, El Paso, Tx.
2009 | Young Curators: Summer Youth Art Program - Rubin Center, UTEP. El Paso, TX.
2005 | Abriendo Brecha / Haciendo Camino: Activist Scholarship on Race, Identity, and Mestizaje - Scholarly paper presentation Poster Theory: Cultural Identity & Reciprocity in Chicana/o Prinkmaking. Univ. of Texas at Austin.
2005 | Emerging Scholarship in Women & Gender Studies Conference - Scholarly paper presentation EARTHBODY: The Work of Ana Mendieta Univ. of Texas at Austin.
2002 - 2005 | Save Our Youth /Resistencia Bookstore - Event coordinator and host for Red Salmon Arts, Austin, TX.
AWARDS + RESIDENCIES
2017 | Working Classroom Resident - Albuquerque, NM.
2017 | Self Help Graphics Print Residency - Los Angeles, CA.
2017 | Siqueros-Pollock Concurso Binacional Fronterizo de Pintura y Dibujo - Ciudad Juárez, Chih./El Paso, TX.
2016 | Stan Lee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts Excellence Endowment - El Paso, TX.
2017 | Santa Fe Artist Residency - Santa Fe Art Institute. Santa Fe, NM.
2016 | Artist Incubator Grant - NEA Art Works, The City of El Paso MCAD. & Texas Commission on the Arts
2015 | Studio Residency - Firestation No. 4, San Antonio, TX.
2014 | Artist Incubator Grant - City of El Paso Museum and Cultural Affairs Dept. & Texas Commission on the Arts. El Paso, TX.
2014 | Special Projects Print Residency - Self Help Graphics, Los Angeles, CA. Master Printers José Alpuche, Self-Help Graphics.
2014 | Print Residency - Modern Multiples, Los Angeles, CA. Master Printers Richard Duardo & Ivan Alpuche.
2013 | Studio Internship - Artist Vincent Valdez, Strangest Fruit Series. San Antonio, TX.
2017 | Hispanic Cultural Center. Albuquerque, NM (pending)
2016 | National Museum of Mexican Art. Chicago, IL.
2016 | El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX.
2016 | Collection of Juan Sandoval. El Paso, TX.
2015 | Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center; University of Washington. Seattle, WA.
2014 | Collection of Gilbert & Dolores Cárdenas. Southbend, MI.
2014 | Collection of Dr. Harriet & Ricardo Romo. San Antonio, TX.
2013 | Collection of Karl Whitaker. Tucson, AZ.
About fourteen years ago while traveling on a road trip through Northern Mexico, Zeke Peña brought only one book with him: a small, pocket-sized book of photographs by Graciela Iturbide. A few years ago, the works of Graciela Iturbide entered his life again when he was presented with the opportunity to illustrate Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide, published by Getty Publications. It was not until he was preparing the proposal for the book that he made the connection between the subject of his most recent project and the photographs that accompanied him throughout the landscape of Northern Mexico. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEW