Month: April 2014

Custom Cars and Low Riders in San Juan Texas

On a hot Sunday afternoon I met custom car owners from San Juan, Pharr, McAllen and Raymondville, Texas to take pictures and talk about their cars. I picked the San Juan Municipal Park for the location of this photo shoot because I wanted to include a Mexican American themed mural as background. The mural features an agricultural laborer, family life and Aztec-like symbols.

I interviewed owner Joel G Flores from Raymondville, Texas. He is the proud owner of a black, shiny 1936 Plymouth with air conditioning nicknamed “Chingon”. The car has a black and white painting on a rear compartment door that features charros with a Mexican flag. I asked Joel what the term Mexican American means to him. He replied that we all have Mexican roots, “todos venimos del otro lado”  he said in Spanish, we all come from the other side. Mr. Flores was born in Texas but is aware of his Mexican roots. “I’m proud to be a Mexican American” he said “it’s not to insult nobody, it’s just being proud of who you are”. Mr. Flores has taken “Chingon” on the road to be shown at car festivals in various cities. It earned first best of choice in Lowrider Magazine in San Antonio, Texas.

I also interviewed owner Jaime de la Cerda who restored a 1947 Chevrolet from the bottom up. He has driven the car to San Antonio, Texas and back to the Valley to participate in a low rider show.

I would like to thank Rafael Soto for bringing together car clubs from various Rio Grande Valley cities for this photo shoot. Also, thanks to Iris Davila for helping me with names of the car owners.

Custom cars and low riders in San Juan Texas_05

From left to right: Arnold Martinez with Veteranos Car Club, Josh Razo with Del Valle Car Club and Roy Loera with Latin Fantasy Car Club. April 27, 2014.

Latin Dreams Rio Grande Valley

R. J. Guzman with Latin Dreams Rio Grande Valley Car Club. April 27, 2014.

Latin Dreams Rio Grande Valley

R. J. Guzman with Latin Dreams Rio Grande Valley Car Club April 27, 2014.

1936 Plymouth named Chingon

Joel G Flores proud owner of this 1936 Plymouth with air conditioning nicknamed “Chingon”. The car is tattooed on Joel’s forearm. April 27, 2014.

Arnold Martinez with Veteranos Car Club.

Arnold Martinez with Veteranos Car Club. April 27, 2014.

Josh Razo with Del Valle Car Club in San Juan Texas.

Josh Razo with Del Valle Car Club in San Juan Texas. April 27, 2014.

Custom cars and low riders at San Juan Texas Municipal Park

Front row from left to right: Joel G Flores and his 1936 Plymouth nicknamed Chingón, Elizandro Chandler Flores with Veteranos Car Club, Jaime de la Cerda and his 1947 Chevrolet. The oldest cars in front are nicknamed “bombs” or “bombitas” in Spanish. Back row from left to right: Joey Flores, Chris Coronado with Veteranos Car Club, Bobby Martinez with Veteranos Car Club, R. J. Guzman with Latin Dreams Rio Grande Valley Car Club, and Iris Mambo Davila with Traditionals Car Club. April 27, 2014.

Jaime de la Cerda and his 1947 Chevrolet he restored from the bottom up.

Jaime de la Cerda and his 1947 Chevrolet he restored from the bottom up. April 27, 2014.

Jaime de la Cerda owner of a 1947 Chevrolet.

Jaime de la Cerda (front) owner of a 1947 Chevrolet. April 27, 2014.

Jaime de la Cerda with his 1947 Chevrolet

Jaime de la Cerda and his 1947 Chevrolet he restored from the bottom up. April 27, 2014.

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Lupe and Rosa Navarro celebrating on Easter Sunday in San Juan, Texas

On Easter Sunday I visited the San Juan Texas Municipal park and met Guadalupe Navarro and his wife Rosa. Guadalupe is a 66 year old Vietnam Veteran who goes by the name Lupe for short. He is originally from Cotulla, Texas, which is about 90 miles Southwest of San Antonio.

I asked him what the term Mexican American means to him. He replied that the term describes his identity. He said that he is neither Mexican nor hispanic, he is Mexican American, born in the United States with Mexican descent. He has not used the terms Latino or hispanic when filling out job applications. Instead, he has always selected the option “Other” and filled out the blank with “Mexican American.”

“For me the word Latino means nothing, the word Hispanic means nothing” he mentioned “I know I made a lot of people angry, that was me.”

Lupe Navarro in San Juan Texas

Lupe Navarro and his wife Rosa celebrating on Easter Sunday with family. San Juan, Texas. Photo from April 20, 2014.

Joe Ibarra with La Olla Mexican Restaurant in Edinburg Texas

In the morning of Saturday April 19, 2014 I spend a few hours at La Olla Restaurant in Edinburg with the goal of photographing my first restaurant for the project.

La Olla was founded in 1999 and it’s located near the Hidalgo County Courthouse on highway 107. The restaurant specializes in breakfast and lunch. They serve mole, caldo de mariscos, botanas and other predominantly Mexican inspired dishes.

Here’s a fun highlight about La Olla Restaurant that adds a folkloric touch to its ambience. Folk musicians visit the restaurant and sing tunes for a tip.

I had a chance to meet and chat with the owner Joe Ibarra.

La Olla Restaurant  Edinburg Texas

Joe Ibarra owner of la Olla Mexican Restaurant in Edinburg, Texas. Photo from April 19, 2014.

La Olla Restaurant  Edinburg Texas

Joe Ibarra (right) owner of La Olla Restaurant holds a penny bank that was donated by his friend Judge Charlie Espinoza (left). Photo from April 19, 2014.

La Olla Restaurant  Edinburg Texas

Joe Ibarra owner of la Olla Mexican Restaurant hold a restaurant t-shirt. Photo from April 19, 2014.

La Olla Restaurant  Edinburg Texas

La Olla Restaurant in Edinburg, Texas. Chatting with friends. Photo from April 19, 2014.

La Olla Restaurant  Edinburg Texas

A folkloric element to the ambiance at La Olla Restaurant. Musicians sing for tips. Photo from April 19, 2014.