Robert Rodriguez fineartprintsca

The art and interests of Robert Rodriguez


I did this page of boys, right around the same time I did the Cliques drawings.  I had gone to junior high school in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, and I really missed being there.  All my friends had gone on to high school where they were taking Life Drawing, Design classes, Ceramics classes,  Oil painting …while I was stuck in New Orleans with Art 1, Art 2, and Art 3.  All exactly the same except for the name.  I was so jealous.  So when I graduated, I only applied to art schools in California, and only really considered two.  Art Center and Chouinard.  My mom would only agree to Chouinard because they actually gave you a BFA degree, and I needed “something to fall back on” in case I couldn’t make it as a starving artist.  I don’t know what good my degree would have done me anyway, high school was much harder.

But I’m getting sidetracked.   These were my California dreamin’ drawings.  These guys were all California kids, doing California things.  Dressed in Pendleton shirts, wheat-colored jeans, and track shoes with three stripes on the sides.  There is even a guy with a UCLA sweatshirt on.  They are skateboarding, something you can’t do very well in New Orleans because none of the streets are in good enough shape due to the marshy ground and oak tree roots breaking up the sidewalks.  These guys are riding go-carts and mini-bikes, and playing with yo-yo’s.  I wonder why I didn’t have any guys with surfboards?

By the time I did get back out to CA, I was too busy with school to do any of these things in the drawings except basketball, and body surfing.  I never could afford a surfboard, and never learned.  Besides, by then, we were all Hippies.  Pretend Hippies anyway.  Hey, what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?california-dreamin


Back when I was in high school we had different cliques, but it seems that we only broke it down to two groups.  In Southern California my friends told me it was Surfers and Greasers, in New Orleans where I was at the time, it was Frats and Hoods.  These weren’t derogatory names, each group was proud of their look and style.  Since I did illustrations for the school paper, I did a cartoon of them and I was a hit with each group.  They all thought I had nailed them, and they loved it.

Frats wore button-down collar oxford cloth shirts in light blue, yellow, pink, or white, with socks to match, penny loafers, dickies sometimes, and very short, wheat colored jeans.  The jeans would be about 8″ above the ground.  The girls wore the same basic thing except for wearing khaki jumpers.  They both wore their fraternity pins, or sorority pins, and the girls wore their boyfriends class ring on a chain around their necks, like in the old Elvis Presley song.

The Hoods wore very loose, high-waisted slacks, skinny belts, and open-collar shirts, and usually sandals with socks.  They greased their hair back and did a sort of Elvis Presley thing with a pompadour and ducktails in back.  The girls were called Charmers, and wore beehive hairdos, lots of makeup, tight skirts and pointy-toed shoes.

Interestingly, the two groups had distinct ways of walking and carrying things.  Hoods slouched and carried their books high up under their armpits.  Frats carried their books down low on their hips.  Sorority girls carried smaller purses on a long strap slung over their shoulders.  Charmers carried fairly large purses with short straps, and always over their forearms.  The girls didn’t carry their books, their boyfriends carried them.

I found these pieces when I was cleaning out my house in New Orleans last year.  Flashback!