Size: 11 Sound cassettes, Sound recording (60 mins. each), analog; 209 Pages, Transcript
Summary: An interview of Elsa Flores conducted 1997 Feb. 18-Apr. 30, by Jeffrey Rangel, for the Archives of American Art.
The interviews took place in Flores' studio, in South Pasadena, Calif., over four sessions. Flores discusses her parents' diverse backgrounds and her difficult childhood and adolescence; the development of her political consciousness; her involvement with Chicanismo; her interests in art, photography, and music, including being a member of California State University, Los Angeles mariachi band; her art, which she considers more biographical and mystical than ethnic; her use, initially, of a dark palette to distinguish her work from that of her husband, Carlos Almaraz, and changing to a brighter, more optimistic palette after Almaraz's was diagnosed with AIDS. She recalls Almaraz's energy and genius; his struggles with AIDS and his search for alternative healing methods; finding solace in Kauai; and his request to have his ashes strewn around Kauai at his favorite places. Flores comments on the difficult period after Almaraz's death; her devotion to their daughter; keeping Almaraz's work at the forefront of public awareness; and her own art career.