Rio Yañez was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District and currently works as a curator, photographer, and graphic artist. His primary interest is in combining icons and mythologies. His images bring together heroes, friends, and childhood fantasies with Chicano aesthetics, traditional images, and politics, as a response to the lack of Chicano art and iconography in cultural staples such as comic books, pro-wrestling, music, and Godzilla movies. As a curator he is a frequent collaborator with his father, Rene Yañez, and the pair have been developing exhibits together since 2005. He has exhibited in cities ranging from San Francisco to Tokyo. His re-imaginings of Frida Kahlo have included the Ghetto Frida Project, a series of prints, writings, and performance pieces featuring a thugged-out Kahlo. Yañez is also a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective. Yañez currently works at San Francisco’s SOMArts as a curator and manager. For more information visit: www.rioyanez.com.
Selena Ouija (2014), mixed-media
Selena Ouija is a fully-functional Ouija board inspired by the late and widely-adored Tejana singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. For most of his life, Rio has been very fascinated with the ideas and design behind board and video games, but none of them represented his experience as a Chicano/Latino. This piece is his way of bringing his personal history to the game experience and of synthesizing two iconic cultural references. This is a versatile piece that can be displayed on a wall as a work of art or opened on a table and played fully as a game. In doing so, the viewer experiences both art and perhaps sees the future?