In Latin America there is a long and storied tradition of poster-making. From the populist broadsides of José Guadalupe Posada to the political imagery of the Cuban revolution, from the Chicano movement born in the sixties to the everyday world of the barrio, posters communicate the needs, the joys, and the debates of the people.

Luis Fitch, raised in Tijuana, Mexico, creates art is both interdisciplinary and deeply cross-cultural. His posters speak to both Latinos and Anglos, to young and old, to hip and square,to rural and urban, to the street and to the board room. His work references and modernizes Mexican cultural history even as it communicates contemporary Minnesotan Latino community life. His art bridges the distance between the overtly commercial and the quietly nostalgic. And when Fitch strikes out in a political direction, he creates work that is both ironic and refreshingly humorous.

Fitch has centered much of his poster work on the Minneapolis Latino merchant collective, Mercado Central. For their celebrations of such cultural institutions as Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Día del Niño (Day of the Children), Mexican Independence Day, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, he has created brightly colored, ethnically dense, and historically shaded art -art meant for store windows, street corners, cultural centers, and people’s homes.

For the last ten years, Fitch has also done significant work with Grupo Soap del Corazón, a Latino artists’ crew based in Minnesota. For their 2001 exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute ofArt, he created a Mexican wrestling poster, complete with artists dressed asMexican Luchadores costumes/masks and positioned in a menacing manner. His wrestling/art message encapsulated his ability to provocatively position both”low culture” and “high culture” in the same crucible.Correspondingly, the show brought in record numbers of attendees; among them both recent immigrants from Lake Street of Minneapolis and hardcore art world denizens.

Luis Fitch is also the creative director for UNO Hispanic Branding. In that role, he helps his clients understand consumers on preference factors like language, traditions, holidays, food, religion, heroes, music and art. In a poster he did for a Mervyn’s celebration of Mexican food, music, and handicrafts, he used color, type, and icon to create a feeling of both celebration and familiarity for the neighborhood event. He thereby helped a rather large corporation successfully extend itself to a grass-roots level of participation in the region, always a public relations goal.

Douglas Padilla
curator, artist, and cultural activist