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Remembering Magu

Gilbert “Magu” Luján and his work has had a profound affect on many people. He created an extended family through the bonds he forged with friends, colleagues, students, mentees and mentors throughout his 70+ years of life.

The Luján family invites you to share your stories, anecdotes and memories of him here. Please share how he’s inspired or influenced you, or about a special memory you have of him.

Read his obituary, written by Peter Clothier.

This Post Has 113 Comments
  1. My mom, Joan Weldon, loved Magu. She often told me about his work, creativity and participation in the art world. When I would visit her at the dA where she was the executive director, I saw some of his wonderful art. She always said he was one of her favorites. She, too, passed away from cancer at the age of 70 four years ago. I send my condolences to his family and friends and I am grateful for his contributions to the art world.
    With blessings, Penn Weldon

  2. Mi muy querido amigo. I can see you doing arte with my Larry and laughing a lot. It was wonderful seeing your arte and amigos especially your familia.. I will always cherish the times our families spent together and will always appreciate your being there for me in good times and other times. DESCANSA MI AMIGO MAGU, MY GURU.

  3. Last lines in a letter to Magu: “Magu, U & I were mudmen on the

    headwaters of the Rio Bravo, recuerdas?”

    I am in deep sorrow for him. Life is but a moment in the present — all my

    sympathy to the Lujan family,

    beto rocha

  4. Dear Magu…It’s hard to imagine that just a year ago we were at your house to discuss the strategies for the documentary on the Con Safos Magazine. We celebrated Rudy Salinas’ birthday with Arturo, J.C., Serg, Diane, Tony Gomez and Margaret and me and Rudy. You were so full of life, had so many projects going on it was a wonderful day spent with you. From Rudy and I, we say
    Rest In Peace. Your legacy will live on in your art, on film and in literature. You will continue to be a role model to up and coming new artists.

  5. Esé Magú, you will will be sorely missed. I had the great privilege of meeting you at different chicano art events. I will remember you as an icon of Chicano art for so many reasons and I’ll pass on your many lessons to my students. Back in the day, when I was beginning my journey on the artist path, you reached out to us “mocositos” and gave us encouragement, advice, and made us feel like part of the “big art world”. Unlike so many of the other big name Chicano/a artists, you were generous with your time, your laughter, and your creative ideas. I hope when the spirit guide took you on your journey…you were able to stop in and have a cold one with Joe Morán. Con mucho respecto y cariño, Anna c/s

  6. carnales… otro mas.. from here in san diego… he made his mark… we made a adobe roundhouse inside the centro cultural de la raza that remained many years… he painted at chicano park in the early years of the 70’s and ultimately was coordinating mentalmenudos here lately, i knew him in santa monica, with his wife and children, and he as many have said above, was very generous and loving, we always laughed as we discussed serious issues of chicano art and our perspectives on how to get us into a more unified front. i recently curated a show at the automobile museum here in balboa park, we had over 20 lowriders and bikes in the show, put together by carlos c. de baca, but we also had a exhibition of chicano art dealing with ranflas…naturally, magu was on my list, we broke the museum records of attendance and more familias and girls? under 12 came in to see the show, the museum was baffled, as they had not had that experience. yes cars are part of our social cultural expression and magu was on top of it all. i have many memories of gilbert… working on the graff/old school murals issue in L.A. trying to instill respect and understanding between generations of public artists and dealing with the burrocracy of city and state government. from my heart and representing the borderzone my FRIEND gilbert will always be part of my life experience, and as many of us enter into the third phase of our lives in the movimiento chicano… any events we plan, count on me for any assistance. TE RECORDARE, SIEMPRE!

  7. I had the privilage of meeting Magu through my sister Cynthia Carla Leyva. Magu was spending some time in La Mesa ,NM and El Paso “El Chuco” TX. He would often come to my house and spend time with my wife and me. My wife would always make him a big plate of red enchiladas. i enjoyed the time we spent together and I will never forget you, Magu. My condolances go out to the Lujan family. Con mucho carino y respeto….
    “El Mundo”

  8. My time with tio MAGU:) My stepfather Philip Lujan (Magus brother) and my mother Gueysel Lujan used to take us to tio Magus house in Venice to see. Marti, Otono , Naichi, Risa. It was always fun hanging in the West Side going for walks to the beach. Or just kicking back drawing on some piece books that Otono had @ the time. and this is when my graffiti career began… Thank you for your great stories and your influence tio Magu 🙂 you live on in your Art work and in our hearts…. Love you… Respect to the Lujan Family… God Bless

  9. Having known Magu since his days in Fresno and Otono was a young pup Marti would always be smiling at our antics then it was Santa Monica and I would bring my daughters Gema & Perla to hang out with Otono, Naiche and Risa at their Santa Monica home we would go on our morning walks to Venice Beach. Talking always talking about everything then he got stationed to Pomona his studio full of art from top to bottom with his friend Gordon of so many years who would always be bringing him all types of things to his studio it was there that I met his other two daughters. Recently this photo I took at his house in La Puente a photo of a photo of him taken in 1944 while Rene Yanez and Magu were having a drawing duel of their characters in the kitchen. I’ll always rememeber our meetings whether it be menudo or art openings. These are the things I will always remember.

  10. I thank Magu for being such a good friend and brother in art. I will always count our dialog as very important to me as an artist, and also credit Magu with having a direct influence on keeping the Chouinard Foundation going during tough times. Only Magu, with his experience in handling a large artist-oriented group such as the Mental Menudos could shed the necessary light on what it took to handle something like that, and was an inspiration to continue. He, Brad Howe and I began discussions on a SoCal related show, which turned into my recent show “L.A. Aboriginal”. Magu would have been on the Panel discussion which featured prominent SoCal artists such as John Van Hamersveld, Chaz Bojorquez and others. He passed the following day. For all this and more that he did, I dedicate a short film to him – “Dave Tourje – L.A. Aboriginal”, which will be released in a couple weeks. His love of people is what I will most remember and keep with me.

  11. Para Mi Compadre y su sagrada familia comenzando con La Mardi, Otono Amarillo, La Risa (loca) y El Naiche los acompanio en su pesar. I met Magu when you all lived in Santa Anita/Santa Ana before the kids were born. That is where I met Carlos Almaraz (at that time known as Charles) participating in some fantastic debates about “Chicano” art. Later, while earning his Masters @ UC Irvine, he painted our Teatro’s backdrop and travelled to a couple of our performances in San Panchito y Chicano Park. A lot of years of wonderful memories all the way to his studio in Pomo. Muchas locuras, risas y carcajadas pero mas que nada mucho amor Chicano. May the Great Spirit bless you on your final journey Compai y que camines hacia a la LUZ! Ahi nos estamos watchando ese. Tu Comai Por Vida, La JP—Y QUE!

  12. To my dearest estranged “primo”: You touched my life for such a short period, but it was enlightening. Circumstances in todays hectic & fast paced world did not allow us to bond or connect in a familia mode… I regret this mucho!!! In the short time shared, I found your ideas, philosophy & artwork muy surreal, yet sensible in a strange way-all good my brother. Now that
    you have found “Magulandia”, may you ride & rest in peace. Love, peace & happiness.
    (Chuys’ oldest)

  13. Mi amigo Magu, I heard about your passing at Spanish Market in Santa Fe. We have lost an icon of Chicano art and a great man. I enjoyed our visits and am proud to have your art in my home. RIP

    ~From a headstone in Ireland
    Sad to hear about the passing of Gilbert Magu Lujan
    A great artist and a wonderful, caring human being! We met Magu on several occasions. Last year we sent him a Send Out Card…a birthday card, with pictures of his art printed inside the card. He sent us a letter, thanking us for making time for remembering his birthday….a thank you letter who does that? Needless to say, Magu did not just sent a lette, he put some beautiful drawings on the envelope! Of course we plan to frame it. He did invite us to go to his studio, sad to say we never went. Our condolences to the family.
    Arlene and I were looking forward on seeing him again at the Cruisin’ Magulandia: A Benefit for the Preservation of a Legacy! Schedule for August 13,2011

  15. Yo recuerdo de Magu cuando el estaba visitando la Galeria de la Raza durante los 80s. Descansate carnal, estas en tu cielo…

  16. Magú, estimado amigo
    Since first meeting you in the distance of time
    When your voice and imagination filled me with pride
    I shall miss you, I shall never forget you
    Un fuerte abrazo, mi querido compañero en la lucha, y adelante
    ¡Adelante con el Arte!

  17. My heart is broken by news of Magu passing.
    when I think of Gilbert , I see his studio completely stacked to the rafters
    his smile and energy pouring out of every cell in his body.
    a good artist and a good human being .
    love to the family



  19. Magu was patient. It must have been tough to have a storm of bold colors, a twister of complex ideas all wrapped in a very calm, loving demeanor. How can so many questions be answered in one life-span? Magu had answers, antidotes. I respected Magu for 33 years and I always found a way to him, whether in a Studio in South LA on Washington Blvd., Downtown Pomona or his house in La Puente, a two dog greeting behind a chain linked fence, I managed to get to him, somehow, for a short talk and a “thank you.” See, a Fresno Community Worker, Bob Cruz, went to the projects and picked up me and my brothers and sister, shoeless, with nothing but a stolen bike and no door, no road to speak of. He took us the Colegio De La Tierra and Magu was there, working art into the community and it was then that his power, his influence, his willingness to help La Raza was revealed to all of us. We all admired Magu, an admiration developed early in life. Last year, he kissed my wife on the cheek and I was happy to purchase a piece from him. He signed it, Para John y Rosa – con mucho carino – desde Magulandia – October 2010.

  20. He was one of my artist Facebook friends and i admired his work. I asked if we were related in some way because our last name of Lujan and it was never established if we were or not but it was an interesting conversation here on facebook. May he contiue to paint in Magulandia. Lupe Lujan, Alviso, Ca

  21. I was fortunate enough to be acquainted with the Lujans during the time they lived in Fresno. My kids and I would go swimming with Mardi, Risa and Otono. Their home was always welcoming. I remember Magu as being warm and generous, and I was encouraged by his recognition in the art world. May he rest in peace, and may the family be warmed and comforted by their memories.

  22. Hola nose si se acordaran de mi soy sandra de Camelia combalecent quisiera darles mi mas sentido pesame atoda la familia del senor Lujan quisiera desirles que fue un plaser conoser asu senor padre y esposo aun que no tuve el plaser de conoserlo por mucho tiempo pues los dias que lo atendi fueron muy gratos el platicava mucho sobre sus pinturas su ciudad y su origen de ser orgullosamente chicano que dios lotenga en su santa gloria.
    ATTM: Sandra Coba.

  23. Mis mas gratas condolensias ala familia lujan yo no tube el plaser de conoser al senor Lujan pero mi Mama si en sus ultimos meses de vida platico con ella i ledijo de magulandia y asta el dia de hoy medoy cuenta de quien era lapersona de laque mi mama platicava y ella decia que el era una persona muy amigable de parte de mia y de toda mi familia mis mas sentido pesame desde pasadena ca.

  24. I have tried to remember how many years I have known you. It was like going through the history of my own life, before marriages, children, early Self Help Graffics, Con Safos magazine and working with the farmworkers with Fay (who you are probably sitting next to at this moment.). One thing for sure their were plenty of laughs, love, conversations, Buddha and the importance of knowledge. I remember going to the Laemmle with popcorn in hand celebrating our Libra birthdays. Thanks for the memories my MAGU. Will continue to love you into infinity. La Loca, Dianna.

  25. I wrote this in less than ten minutes, with tears rolling donwn my cheeks, and withing an hour of my geting the notice of my prino’s passing.


    By Jerry Javier Luján (Sunday July 24, 2011)

    Magú, ya te nos fuiste
    Y en cada corazón que tocaste, existe
    Mucho amor y respeto de los tantos que conosiste.

    Ya se nos fué un grán amigo, mi primo
    Se nos fué, peros sabemos que seguirá
    Pintanto con sus colores ardientes,
    Los cuales fueron su marca, signiatura y su tradición.

    Te vamos a extrañar de todo corazón hermano
    De todo lo que compartiste,
    Las pláticas pesadas de tu Mental Menudo
    Y más que todo, lo gentíl que fuiste

    Ya se nos fué otro veterano
    Y grán piloto del Royal Chicano Air Force
    Y uno del los mentados, “Los Four”

    Pero más que nada, te damos las gracias
    Por ver convivido aquí entre nos,
    Y la riqueza que nos dejaste de todas tus obras
    Por las cuales dejaste tu huella bien marcada

    Siempre vivirás dentro de nuestras memorias,
    Tantas memorias inolvidables
    Que descances en paz mientras sigues tu
    Jornada eterna, alla en Magulandia.
    (con safos)

    Jerry Javier Lujan, de Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico de Aztlan.

  26. Magu was an influential artist in the Pomona Arts Colony scene and inspired many area artists especially with his Mental Menudo gatherings at his studio, which I attended many. Magu participated in a few shows that I had curated at the dA Center for the Arts where I am a board member. He always told me “think outside of the box” and push it. And I am still pushing it. I am so happy that the dA will be celebrating the difference he made on this earth on August 12 & 13 and the whole month of August.
    To the Lujan Family sorry for your loss. I know he will live on forever in our visual hearts.
    La Marti,
    Marti Gutierrez

  27. Ingredients For The Next Mental Menudo!
    “vocabulary and aesthetics of what is today called Chicano Art”
    “….donation is small but from the heart”
    “Nuevo Mexico”, (where “runners” are born)
    “He remains one of the indelible creative forces of the Chicano Art Movement”
    “From a book that has yet to be written”
    “you were the guide in times of confusion”
    “he would teach me how to learn”
    “it was a viaje knowing you”
    “my spiritual mentor and has helped me get through some very difficult times”
    “Dearest Risa, may your fathers love….”
    “The RCAF salutes him”. The (Veterans) “Save the HOME” Lista salutes him because……………….
    “soul, energy, and inspiration”
    “May his essence and legacy continue through his children……’s our time now”
    “mental coscorrones…mental menudos….pero todavia no terminamos la platica”
    “run your Mental Menudos with………………..all the greats”
    “’Menudo Mental’ con la idea de promover el dialogo entre los activistas”
    “he had an aversion to organization, preferring the looseness of the discussions rather than making decisions”
    “Magu, this is my wife, y que!”
    Gilbert taught all who would listen of the greatness of Chicano art
    “his laughter and his ‘vasilando’”
    “What i learned from you is more valuable than anything i own.”
    “Hermano to so many of us, your wisdom and kind Heart will continue to inspire us!”
    “a gift for leading people like the Pied Piper but in a good way”
    “felt like we were distant primos that spoke the same language”
    “truly the “Chicano inside” us all”
    “He was the only one who did not try to dissuade me”
    “It just seemed he’d live on forever”
    “smile on his face and time to chat and cheer me up.”
    “the many sign posts of inspiration you left for us on that road.”
    “By the time I left, I thught we had been grade school friends who just reunited”
    “His art was all over our house. A visual soundtrack of my childhood”
    “I don’t owe you any money do I ?”
    “I invited them to stay at my house and gave them my bed.”
    “He captured so much of Los Angeles life in a way that was funny and true”
    “all who have met you and felt your presence celebrate it”
    “generous in sharing his knowledge and moving Chicano art forward”
    “…Magu!!! que tu espiritú creativo se propague por el Universo…”
    “¡Pa’ ‘lla va la sombra!”
    “respected because you never betrayed your principles”
    “mira como ando…..todo rasquache.”
    “Next day I called him and returned his money, in which he turned around and treated me to dinner! That’s the way he was!!”
    “at least one of his pieces planned for exhibition would still be wet upon arrival”
    “….the humble, giving way the Luján family walked in the world,”
    “…the cultural ride; it’s now a part of who I am thanks to you.”
    “…hope to participate in preserving his legacy.”
    “…strength of his convictions, which would never falter even….”
    “Cruisin’ Magulandia: A Benefit for the Preservation of a Legacy! Schedule for August 13, 2011”
    “……share his visions and saw us at our best potential”
    “..remember his gruff sweetness and the excitement of the kids.”
    “May Aztlan be forever great full of what you left behind!”
    “he preceded to grow into a 7 foot El Gran MAGU right before my eyes”
    “..left your footprint in Fresno and became an icon in L.A.”
    “…the most well loved Chicano artist in the whole movimiento”
    “In honor of your bright smile, your tenacity, your artist drive, and your brilliance”
    “And a sense of humor that would have you rolling!”
    “….back it up with ingenuity, sophistication and heart.”
    Al rato, Carnal.

  28. Magu, you were a genuine person and the time we spent hanging out watching Culture Clash, chasing Luna around La Mesa and talking about your plans for Nuevo Mexico will always be in my mind. Gracias for being an inspiration and a force for nuestra gente and you will always be in our hearts…

  29. Magu was always so generous with his time and sharing with what he knew about art, the world, raza and anything visual. I will miss his consejos which he dispensed with tact and genuine empathy. He taught to go ahead be whimsical and silly when making art but to back it up with ingenuity, sophistication and heart. No Neanthathral art, as he put it, which I may be one, because I can’t even spell the word. God bless you Magu and your familia, aqui estaras siempre.

  30. It was a pleasure and an honor to have celebrated in this journey with Magu. First time I met Magu was with the RCAF back in Sacra in the 70’s. I a young & adventurous up and coming performer part of the “Farm Workers/RCAF Band. The RCAF went from Sacra to Fresno on the March and we went to the Lujan home in Fresno as our meeting place.
    I remember the respect and admiration all the artist had for Magu and his familia… I also remember that quick wit and ageless smile that would spread across Magu’s face. And a sense of humor that would have you rolling! I would feel a validation with my purpose as a vocalist when the artistas like Magu would share a sincere compliment with me for my work as a performing artist through out the years. There was a mutual admiration and respect for each other as we shared our creative vision to make this a better world for all humanity. The last chat I had with Magu in June of this year was as pleasurable and fun. You could
    feel the love and warmth from his familia. They were so carrying and supportive…I have been so blessed and honored in this journey knowing Magu…I love you & Gracias Maestro/hermano….Carry On…Ometeotl!

  31. Back in 2005 when Antigua Coffee house opened up in El Sereno, Magu send us a blessing email wishing us the best in our quest to have a cultural coffee house space. He would send us random emails and promise to stop by to check out the place but he seem to never be able to leave his home studio. We moved to Cypress Park in 2009 and he send us an email again and an apology for never being able to stop by, “maybe this time I can cruise down to Cypress park and see your place”… No worries Magu you have always been here, your vibes and blessings are enough to keep us culturally involved in this neighborhood. Have fun brother! and I salute you with this fine espresso shot, thank you for being that voice we dearly needed, thank you so much!

  32. So much to say…but what I remember most is our conversations about teaching. Since his son Otono used to work with me at Side Street Projects, and painted the first Alternate Routes Woodworking Bus Mural, Magu would sometimes drop by. He would come in to the office if Otono was busy, and ask me lots of provocative questions about my teaching philosophy among other things. We talked a lot about Art, and of course his son Otono. I also used to run into Magu at various events and mental menudos, sometimes on the fly, and we had the best conversations. He loved to be provocative while at the same time being really nice about it.

    I loved his infectious smile and his hugs were devine. He was definately a bright spot in the world, and I will miss him coming by, showing off his car, or just being around, or sometimes getting stuff in the mail. He was so proud of his family and loved you so much.

    Since your Dad is no longer able to give you advice on all things art related, I hope that the family will never hesitate to ask me for anything. The Lujan family has always felt like family to me, even if I don’t see them all the time. Love all of you.

    So, a toast to Magu. In honor of your bright smile, your tenacity, your artist drive, and your brilliance, I promise to carry on your spirit whenever I work with artists.

    Hugs to the Lujan Family. Oh, to Otono, I guess now I can tell you the things he said about you. The proudest part was when he thanked me for being there for you O. Don’t mean to embarrass you but I guess it is way to late for that…

    PS: Wrote something for the Huffington Post Arts on Magu. Hope they print it.

  33. You walked into my life when Carlos brought you to my house in 1973. I met your art at UCI at the first Los Four show. Throughout all the intervening years with all the chismeando going on, I never heard a discouraging word about you. You remain the most well loved Chicano artist in the whole movimiento and have set the bar high for all of us. All my love to you Magú, and to Mardi and your offspring – P/V

  34. La Brocha (Ernie, Bob, Sapo, Bob, Cecilia, Sal) remembers you. You left your footprint in Fresno and became an icon in L.A. We will always remember you. Dios te bendiga!

  35. Today I was thinking about the time I visited MAGU at his studio in Pomona. He was saying that he does not think of himself as short… then he preceded to grow into a 7 foot El Gran MAGU right before my eyes. Now I don’t know if it was MAGU’s magical powers or the organic foods he had just fed me…
    HE IS BIG!!!!!!!

  36. Mi amigo, Thank you for being you! And having all those wild mental menudos meetings in 2009 at the studio in Laguna Canyon. It was an epic time to watch you make your clay artworks and debate art concepts. Over and above all it was a great pleasure having our lives cross paths. I will see you later in the mundo cosmico. PAZ

  37. Magu, may you rest in peace, It was an honor to know you. You have inspired me from the get go. May Aztlan be forever great full of what you left behind! Rest well homies…Aztlan will never be the same..

  38. I remember Gilbert with such fondness. Many years ago, I was a young, untried director of the Pasadena Art Workshops (pre Armory days). I asked Gilbert to teach as a guest artist in the summertime – to actually transform a pocket park that had no trees up in Altadena. So Gilbert took all the kids who came to his class and they started making a forest of cardboard trees – all of them at least 6 feet tall. And then there were cars, and animals, I am sure you can all imagine this. I remember his gruff sweetness and the excitement of the kids. He inspired them to create something more than just the wonder of the cardboard community – rather something that will stay in their memory – I am so sorry to hear of his death. My condolences to his family.

  39. A genuinely warm and almost overly modest person and a damn good artist – that’s how I will remember Magu. I am so sorry to learn of his death, truly premature , in this case.

  40. When Magu spoke it was from the heart, the truth, just like in his legacy of work and reflected in his beautiful children.
    Magu always tried to share his visions and saw us at our best potential. Thank you for having faith in me, and seeing a better Julie in me. Bless you Magu, and my deep condolences to his family and all who loved him.

    ~From a headstone in Ireland

    Sad to here about the passing of Gilbert Magu Lujan
    A great artist and a wonderful, caring human being! We met Magu on several oaccasions. Last year we sent him a Send Out Card birthday card, with pictures of his art printed inside the card. He sent us a letter, thanking us for making time to rememerber his birthday….a thank you letter who does that? Needless to say, Magu did not just sent a card he put some beautiful drawings on the envelope! Of course we plan to frame it. He did invite us to go to his studio, sad to say we never went. Our condolences to the family.

    Arlene and I were looking forward on seeing him again at the Cruisin’ Magulandia: A Benefit for the Preservation of a Legacy! Schedule for August 13,2011

  42. Our dearest friend Magu had so many great and endearing qualities: his compassion; his honesty; the breadth of his knowledge; his intelligence; his wit; his artistic talent; etc. Perhaps though the most remarkable of his qualities was the strength of his convictions, which would never falter even when they adversely affected his own financial interests. And what beautiful children! Otono, Naiche and Risa, treasure always the wonderful gifts he gave you just by being himself. Magu, my love and admiration for you will stay in my heart forever. Muchos besos, Robertito

  43. I have a lovely poster circa 1989 that Magu gave me many years ago; I met him right after the LACMA exhibit. He explained latino art to local kids like I’ve never hear anyone express! And I love his Dog series; I will always remember el gran Magu and hope to participate in preserving his legacy.

  44. I had the pleasure meeting Magu and acquiring two of his whimsical cars. They hang in places of honor in my home, much as my memories of him will always remain part of my consciousness. Thanks for the memories and the art, Magu!

  45. Just finished seeing one of the videos where Magu refers to lowriders as “cultural chariots”. In a way, that’s who he was and what he embodied. Thanks for the cultural ride; it’s now a part of who I am thanks to you.
    Amor pa’ todos.

  46. QEPD el gran maestro. I learned about Magú in Dr. Ramón Favela’s UT Austin class in the early 80s and connected it with my love for irreverent comics. I was absorbed and fascinated by what I saw in relation more didactic and political Chicano art. I felt like he was the bridge between earlier Chicano art and ASCO, a collective I related to much more easily. Later I saw Magú’s Self Help prints in the annual show at Galeria Sin Fronteras, the gallery my brother opened in Austin with Prof. Gilbert Cardenas, Magú’s tocayo. It was a privilege to see the actual work in a frame and not in a slide or on a page. About the same time I was happy to meet a young aficionado del acordeon named Otoño, who trekked each year to the West Side of San Anto to hear Flaco Jimenez and the Tex-Mex accordion kings. Otoño never once traded on his father’s famous name during his visits to San Antonio, so I never knew. It wasn’t until several years after the move to Los in 2000 that I figured it out. It was just another example of the humble, giving way the Luján family walked in the world, all the while contributing so much beauty and imaginative creativity. I am so entirely grateful and will include a tribute to Magú in the upcoming August issue of Brooklyn & Boyle as a small gesture in honor of your father and all of you… it’s the least I can do since I never had the opportunity to follow up with your pops after the conversation we started at the Brooklyn & Boyle one-woman show for Ofelia Esparza.

  47. Thank you so much for opening the doors…
    Much love and respect, we will see you on the other side of the veil. <3

  48. Major influence in my life his work was paramount in my development as an artist and professional today. He will be missed by many but I feel especially empty that he’s not in the world.

  49. you could always be sure that at least one of his pieces planned for exhibition would still be wet upon arrival. will miss you, dude, but i’ll see you on the other side.

  50. My deepest condolences I knew Magu from the Pomona artts colony .His art will live on m

  51. My deep and sincere condolences to the all the Lujans–especially Otono, Naiche and Risa. I am heartbroken by the loss of your father. He was a great artist, educator, and friend who will be greatly missed. There are so many great stories and memories over the thirty years that I have known him. I will always remember his twinkling mischievous eyes and warm smile, and his ART! A singular, colorful, and cultural vision that opened the doors for many young Chicano artists to follow. I am going to miss him terribly and never forget him. Peace!

  52. Thank you Mr. Lujan for sharing with us your amazing gift of art and inspiration. You will be missed but not forgotten. En paz descanse.

  53. Last time I saw MAGU he loaned me many of his videos. He insisted that I view the box set of “I Claudius”, the PBS series. I didn’t really want to watch it but it was very interesting. Low and behold, I found a $110.00 dollars hidden in the container. Next day I called him and returned his money, in which he turned around and treated me to dinner! That’s the way he was!!

  54. Truly, truly one of a kind. He leaves so many artistic creations, but the artistic creator will be sadly missed. May his profoundly inspirational effect on others continue always. Sincere condolences to his family and close friends, who took such good care of him.

  55. First and foremost, Magu…your “Art work” will be in our hearts forever. In 1998, we met and with your blessings you allowed me to produced a video on you and the METRO Red Line station. Chicano Art will live forever! May you rest in peace my friend. “God be with you” ….Vincent Ybarra

  56. I first met Magu at Cal State LA when I was a student there, I was so impressed by his kindness, wisdom, and willingness to teach. I was somewhat familiar with his art at the time but meeting and talking with him fueled my passion for Chicano Art. I remember long conversations with Magu, not only about art but about life, love, and everything pretty much under the sun. He was such a giving and selfless person, always willing to teach you something without ever expecting anything in return. I remember going to the studio in Pomona and spending an afternoon with him learning techniques, looking at prints, and exploring art walk. He said to me, you look so nice and me mira como ando…..todo rasquache. He made me laugh, cry, and always take a hard look at myself. I will miss him dearly. RIP Magu…..thoughts and prayers to your family.

  57. I am very sadden to hear that Magu passed away. To his family, my deepest sympathy. He was a friend for many years. After hearing of losing Magu, I felt a missing link to Magulandia. I have his signature art work in my home beginning with the early days after he completed his formal art education . As one of the pioneers of Chicano Art Magu was a humble person, articulate and educated who used his knowledge to help other artist to succeed. He kept me in touch with Chicano Art and will be dearly missed.

  58. Querido Magú, you were and you are one of our most iconic Chicano artists, mentor, and friend who inspired so many of us, whether old or young. As founder of Los Four, you helped to bring the Chicano Art Movement to the mainstream art world and established Chicano Art as a valid and respected form of artistic expression. Magú you were passionate and vehement about your beliefs. You are so well respected because you never betrayed your principles. I am proud to have been included as one of your friends and to have listened to the “real story” as you would say to me. Magú, your artwork, teaching and influence have always, and will always, continue as our legacy. I am honored to have known you querido Magú!

  59. I am sorry to see Magú go because who will replace him at the pláticas and pachangas? Yet, we all must travel that road. ¡Pa’ ‘lla va la sombra! as the father of a mutual friend (qepd) used to say.

    Rest in peace, Magú, and may your family soon find the strength to go on. But you will be immortal because you have left a deep imprint in the community and beyond.

  60. This is one of the saddest news that I have recived while being in Mexico completing my Fulbright grant. Magu was an inspiration and a very supportive colega de las Artes. I am honeored to have had the chance to discuss and share our thoughts about art and life…. Te extrañamos Magu!!! que tu espiritú creativo se propague por el Universo…

  61. This is one of the saddest news that I have recived while being in Mexico completing my Fulbright grant. Magu was an inspairation and a very supportive colega de las Artes. I am honeoread to have had the chance to discuss and share our thoughts about art and life…. Te extrañamops Magu!!! que tu espiritú creativo se propague por el Universo…

    Jose Antonio

  62. We lost one of the original forces of Chicano Art!
    Magu, you will always be a huge driving force with my work.
    Thank you for sharing your friendship, experience, knowledge,
    And most importantly your inspiration with me!
    I am honored to have known you and show with you!
    Love you Magu<3 God bless you! Until we meet again my friend!
    Paz y amorcito!

  63. very sorry about the news although I recently heard from Ray Patlan that he was ill. I haven’t seen him for many years but knew him in the seventies and early eighties in Los and Fresno. I might see him and his friends, Carlos and Roberto during my visits to Mechicano Art Center and Self Help Graphics back then. Very nice man, much humor in his work, generous in sharing his knowledge and moving Chicano art forward. Viva Los Four. Mexicatiauhui Fco de San Francisco CA.

  64. magu, you are held snug in my heart and the hearts of all who knew you.all of us who have shown your work, shown with you, and seen what you have made celebrate the love it expressed. all who have met you and felt your presence celebrate it. love from doug and i, from san pedro, from angels gate.

  65. I only met Magu once but I have been an admirer of his art for many years. He captured so much of Los Angeles life in a way that was funny and true. I am so sorry to hear about his passing but he will be remembered.

  66. God bless all of you and your family. You all are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

  67. All day I have been thinking about Magu, probably because we are all getting close to that age when we will be joining him. I met Magu and Mardi in Sacramento at the RCAF studios in 1975. Mardi was pregnant with her second child and they were going to sleep on Rudy’s floor. I invited them to stay at my house and gave them my bed. Recently, Magu and my son, Zac and I went to LA together. We talked about meeting and how Otono had peeped in my new bed. He was to come visit me for a get-away, but as he said, needed to fix his trokita (?). We laughed so much that day. My best to Mardi and your children. Peace be with you.

  68. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Lujan last year at Detras de las Cortinas exhibit last year and I had him sign my showcard. When asking him to sign he jokingly replied ” I don’t owe you any money do I ?” You are one of the greats MAGU!
    My deepest condolences to the Lujan family.

  69. Magu was my mother’s first mentor in the 70s and His art was all over our house. A visual soundtrack of my childhood.

    Magu is one of the most important Chicano artists and mentors. His work defined a generation of low riders & freedom riders. His generosity, determination and joy will not be firgotten by me. He was one of my favorite family friends and his art was so accessible to my young mind and taste that his prints, sculptures and drawings were my favorites. I am honored to have known him.

  70. I’am saddened by this news. My heartfelt
    sympathy to the Family.

    Gilbert Lujan…
    Your presence will be missed
    Your influence and work
    Lives on through the ones
    You have touched
    R I P Magu

  71. Magu, Gilbert, was a good friend for close to two decades.
    I met him one afternoon in the early ’90’s at his studio in Long Beach. Another mutual friend said,”Hey you need to meet this guy, you’d really hit it off.” So I called him and he said “Come on over!”
    So I cruised on over in my ’40 GMC troika to his place behind the classic auto repair shop and taco stand and he proceeded to spend the next two or three hours showing me all the toys and sculptures and dreams coming together in clay and plywood and acrylic paint that will be the legacy of the man I knew. By the time I left, I thught we had been grade school friends who just reunited.
    Our last excursion together was to the L A Roadster’s 2010 Roadster Show at the Pomona Fair grounds. We walked each other’s old legs off that day looking at all the great custom cars and debating what we would have done different on each one, and later he told me he turned around and did it all over again the next day with his children! Then there was the ride we took from EL Sereno to the canyon before Pt. Magu state park spraying mud all over my fenderless truck on dirt roads, visiting all the street art and murals all the way through LA and Santa Monica…
    Gilbert, my friend, I’ll see you again on the other side some day.

  72. MAGU,thank you for your wisdom,advise,inspiration and words of encouragement and especially for treating me like a peer and not the mocoso fanboy that I am, I’ll never forget what you have taught me.Many of us artists have flourished because of the road you paved for us and the many sign posts of inspiration you left for us on that road. Thank you for being a mentor and spiritual father for us artists. MAGU will live forever. AmoS El”GATO”

  73. I just heard the sad news on KPCC. I lost touch with Gilbert in the past couple of years , so I didn’t know he was ill. The Lujan’s lived down the street from us in Santa Monica in the Mid-80’s when he was creating the work for the show at LACMA. We met when my son Alvarito, age 3 became enchanted with Risa Lujan,age 4. Of course Gilbert encouraged the relationship. It was always open house where Mardi (his Wife) made sure there was always some delicious gourmet Mexican food ready to offer to the guests who might drop in. Gilbert worked in the studio next door and would always have a smile on his face and time to chat and cheer me up. I had never seen the kind of creativity firsthand that Gilbert achieved through the various medias he worked in. The last time we spoke he was living in Claremont and unfortunately I never took the time to go out and see him and now sadly he is gone. Remembrances to Otonio, Risa, Niche,
    Mardi and all the extended family. I have a lot of photos from the old days if you want them I can email them if you telll me an address. Frances

  74. I just found out about our loss & am totally ….shocked. It just seemed he’d live on forever….but I know his energy will live forever. I’ll miss his friendship and his constant prodding to move & motivate me.

  75. I first met Magu at Side Street Projects in Pasadena, where he was on a curator’s panel I met with to review my portfolio. He was the only one who did not try to dissuade me from showing my craft with my art. Everyone else closed my book after a few pages and said, “I know this great clay gallery you should contact…” Not Magu. Thanks for that.

  76. i had the privilege of working on a print for Gilbert at Wasserman SilkScreen Company in Santa Monica in the 80’s. He was the coolest and the image was a hotrod 😉

  77. I met Magu in 1995. I was introduced to him through Artcore gallery. It was my first real introduction to Chicano art and Magu as teacher/leader. I had no idea what I was in for with the Mental Menudos and Magu’s dynamic and warm personality. It was a wonderful journey! He is truly the “Chicano inside” us all…this is what he touched me with the most. He believed in us all as a culture and a force to contend with and never stopped believing in our importance in this world.

    I will miss his presence but he truly lives in me.

  78. I knew of Magu for years, but only met him about 2 years ago at a Conjunto Los Pochos gig, where we instantly hit it off and talked about tales of Chihuahua & New Mexico, before any of my filming experiences or extensive travels othere. I felt like we were distant primos that spoke the same language. On all of my travels I would send him pictures & videos and he would always respond, including returning all my calls and always inviting my Wifey and me to visit his studio. I called him last week but never heard back for the 1st time*RIP*Amigo,,,,,,

  79. Magu, mi hermano, it was an honor and a pleasure knowing you. You were one of the first artists that I met when I moved out to LA more than 30 years ago.
    I will miss showing you around Tucson and introducing you to the barrios that I grew up in.
    Rest, my old friend.
    Nos vemos, José

  80. I was attending SMDAA 96 and picked up art donation
    from Magu when he had long hair and spoke of the Chiapas and was working out of a small garage here in El Sereno -He always had that smile and a gift for leading people like the Pied Piper but in a good way

  81. Conpadre Magu, Its an Honor & privledge to have had all these years together, from the comando 70’s of Mural Arte, to educating our young about social injustice. Remembering the times we had with our comrades: RCAF of Sacra. to CACA of San Diego we forged a foundation where the public was introduced to Arte Chicano and legitimized it in the mainstream art world. You are truly a pioneer and founding father of Chicano Art that opened the door to so many artistas to flourish in the art world today and for future generations to come! A humble man, wonderful father, Hermano to so many of us, your wisdom and kind Heart will continue to inspire us! A great visionary that will not be forgotten! you taught us so much, I only hope we can continue your life work in our own small way! Have a wonderful ride cruising in your Chili ranfla back to Magulandia! Abrasos y Amor Siempre carnal! Tu Compa Pablo

  82. It was a privilege to meet you, and i thank you for taking your time to teach, inspire and myself and my son. What i learned from you is more valuable than anything i own. I used to take my son to your studio, and from the first visit he told you: There are 3 of my favorite places in this world: Disneyland, my dads house and your studio! My friend Magu we will miss you RIP

  83. with fond memories and sadness, i am writing to commemorate my good friend Magu and i know he is right now just getting going with another mental menudo in the great beyond… con safos

  84. Magu fue un honor conocerte…I shared many good memories with Magu in Fresno with my Sister Veronica and Brother in Law Ysidro Macias they introduced me to Magu’s Vision of the World, his Politics, his Art, his Message. He was Unique, a Master Artist y un buen amigo. I will miss his laughter and his ‘vasilando’. Que descanses en Paz, You will always be remembered. besos…

  85. Remembering Gilbert “Magu” Lujan…artist, visionary, Great Soul.

    But, above all, a consumate educator. Whether the venue was the Pitzer College classroom, the Chicano Studies class I taught at LA Wilson High, or in the numerous Mental Menudos which he created, convened, and guided in so many homes and studios over the years, Gilbert taught all who would listen of the greatness of Chicano art.

    All who knew him remember his generosity and playfulness. We are privileged to have known him and will never forget the Great Soul that he was.

  86. A favorite anecdote of my life involves Magu, when I introduced him to my new wife, photographer E.K. Waller, about twenty three years ago. I’ll never forget the incredulous look on his face when I said, “Magu, this is my wife, E.K.,” but he heard: “Magu, this is my wife, y que!” And then his face broke into that beautiful smile of his when I explained that she went by her initials and I was not trying to disrespect her!

    Magu, the world is no question a better place for you having been here. To the Lujan family, as you can see, we who knew Magu all feel honored to have played our parts, large or small, in his remarkable life, to have known him, and shared time with him.

  87. Mi mas sentido pesame para su familia y la comunidad artistica Chicana. Junto a “Magulandia” su concepto artistico me comento que tambien desarrollo “Menudo Mental” con la idea de promover el dialogo entre los activistas, Con respeto y admiracion. Ruben Tapia – Enfoque Latino – KPFK Los Angeles & Corresponsal de Radio Bilingue en LA.

  88. Thank you for impacting my life. I will always remember that laugh and open warmness. You made a positive influence on all who knew you. You will not be forgotten…..I was honored to help you keep the Mental Menudos alive and running. Know you can run your Mental Menudos with Siqueros, Orozco, Frida, Picasso, Davinci, Dali, and all the greats , discussing what is Art. We will meet another day my friend. Peter Carrillo…

  89. I will treasure the memories of the mental coscorrones you always served at your Mental Menudos… Que bien la pasamos, verdad? Pero todavia no terminamos la platica…


  90. …I didn’t know what to expect when I met Magu’ the 1st time?

    …I was working as a studio assistant for Richard Duardo off of Main Street and the studio was dealing with a project that would become the Chicano collection.
    This group of artists ranged in temperaments […like any other group] but opposed to some of the absurdity experienced …Magu’ stood out.

    He was always down to earth…grounded in a kind spirit, benevolent, a joker…and a total giver.

    Whether or not he knew it…he was an inspiration for me and will always be remembered

    May his essence and legacy continue through his children. May his physical body rest in peace. May his spirit find a studio space in the house composed of many mansions… and the camaraderie he nurtured with other artists of the past.

    As for the ‘infromundo’…I suppose it’s our time now…to keep the candle of vigilance, unknown utterances, and visual dialogues…with each of them.

  91. R.I.P Gilbert “Magú” Luján. Peace and love to his family. Another great one lost but his soul, energy, and inspiration will live on. Adiós maestro, until we meet again, journey well.
    The universe is now your canvass.

  92. To my long lost cousin who I found living next door to me in Santa Monica many years ago with Marty and the kids I wish you peace. To your family, you are in my prayers and I there is a candle burning in the house right now in memory of your dad.

  93. It saddens me to think of a world without Magu. He has added so much to our education, our sense of rightousness and justice, and our aesthetic. His kindness and friendship are difficult to match and his dedication to artmaking is an inspiration. I will miss his humor but will always be grateful that we met and called each other brothers. The RCAF salutes him.

  94. My dear friend Magu, he never tired of teaching me “how” to learn, and how to continue to grow. He opened up a wonderful world where people expose their very souls, and incouraged me to do the same. He re-introduced me to my inner child and showed me how to play at creating. He became familia and in doing so he shared his lovely family and friends with us. My love to them, I join them in their loss and celebration of his moment here. “Que viva la vida”

  95. Dearest Risa, may your fathers love and warmth surround and comfort you the rest of your days, such wonderful children, he was blessed. All of his friends are sending you all love and light. Anything you need do not hesitate to ask, if it’s at all possible we will be there.
    You have a friend, angel guerrero

  96. I met Gilbert at a party in Pasadena in 1970. I was introduced to him by a professor from Pasadena City College. I had painted a mural at a local park and the professor thought Gilbert and I should meet since we had mural painting in common. The professor said Gilbert was one of Los Four – I had never heard of Los Four. Gilbert asked me to call him Magu. We talked for a few minutes and found out we were both from East Los and had mutual friends. I didn’t see him again until 1975 were we met again in Fresno. I helped him on a couple of murals and some community projects. All the artists in Fresno kept in close connection with each other in those days. I lost touch with Gilbert for several years and reconnected with him in 2004 and since then kept in touch with him. Distance and business kept us from meeting in person, but we always talked on the phone. He has been my spiritual mentor and has helped me get through some very difficult times. When I have been down and depressed, he lifted my spirits. He would not only give me good reasons to press on, but also a step by step plan. I am missing him very much. I recognized him as one of the leaders of the Chicano Art Movement and began calling him Don Magu in recent years. I am missing him very much. Good Bye Carnal. C/S

  97. The journey continues carnal……….it was a viaje knowing you. We had some good times, carnal.

    Al Rato,
    Mario and Angel G.

  98. The journey continues carnal……….it was a viaje knowing you. We had some good times, carnal.

    Al Rato,
    Mario G.

  99. My dear friend Magu never tired of trying to teach me to “how” to learn, how to continue to grow. He opened up a wonderful world where people exposed their very souls, and encouraged me to do the same. He
    reintroduced me to my inner child and showed me how to play at creating.
    He became familia and in doing so he shared his lovely family and friends with us. My love to them and I join them in their loss and celebration of his moment here.
    “Que viva la vida”

  100. Brother we will miss you, you were a bright star in dark places, you were strength in weak moments, you were the guide in times of confusion, you were the inspiration in moments of dispair, you were the beauty in the cold streets of our barrios, you are and will always be my brother. Thank you for those medicine sessions and profound consejos. Tu Hermano en Lucha, Jaime aka El Super Xicano

  101. My deepest condolence to the Lujan family. I had the pleasure of meeting and becoming a friend with Gilbert about 10 years ago. Gave me some insight to some of the history of the 60’s and 70’s. He actually saw a print of his that was on loan to our office and game me the story behind “Returning to Aztlan”. I shared with him lyrics to a song written by Ricardo Arjona, “Si el Norte Fuera el Sur”. I was making the connection and he just smiled.

    He was a great story teller. The stories he told could have easily been pulled from a book. From a book that has yet to be written. I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet Gilbert and hear his stories. God bless his soul and his family!



  102. alli paso un hombre, descanso en paz. Turtle Island will miss you brother…

  103. Self Help Graphics & Art would like to send our love and support to the family of Gilbert “Magu” Lujan. He remains one of the indelible creative forces of the Chicano Art Movement and an inspiration for so many emerging artists everywhere. Descanse en paz Magu…

  104. I had the honor of growing up with the Luján children and spending a lot of time in the Luján home as a kid. My favorite memories of Gilbert are of us kids just hanging out as he worked in the back of the house, mesmerized by the prolific amount of sculptures he’d made of cardboard & ceramic and of playing in his now world famous lowrider just after he had completed it. I feel blessed to have known him. RIP Magu and thank you

  105. A message to the Luján Familia: The Nuevo Mexicano familia sends our love and condolences to the Luján familia de California. We are primos and primas from Las Cruces, Mesilla and Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are proud to be related to Magú and send him and all of you our prayers, light and energy. Magú was a shining spirit and touched many lives, world wide, nationally, regionally and locally. He will always be lifted up and praised by those of us who knew and loved him.


    Denise Chávez
    Faride Chávez Conway
    Margo Chávez-Charles

  106. I was honored to know Magu. After I retired from my job with Fresno County I served (on a volunteer basis) as Executive Director of Arte Americas in Fresno. I renewed my friendship with Magu during this time and communicated frequently with him. He mailed me an original drawing on an envelope; it is something I will always treasure. My donation is small, but comes from the heart. God Bless the family of Magu, as they go through this very difficult time. I also lost my father to cancer, hopefully one day a cure will be found for that terrible disease.

  107. Our Brother Gilbert ‘Magú’ Luján, will always be recognized as one of those who invented the vocabulary and aesthetics of what is today called Chicano Art. He was a man with deep love for his family and community and one of the kindest, most loving and generous human beings I have ever met. He had infinite patience for the youth and for seekers of knowledge and culture…and no tolerance for injustice, snobbery or gatekeepers and abusers of power. He will be remembered for his laughter, for his gentle ways, for his beautiful children and grandchildren, for his friendships and for his inability to live any other life than that of an artist.

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