ASU school welcomes political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz as artist-in-residence

For more than 25 years, award-winning political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz has advocated for Latino and immigrant rights through his work. Now, he is bringing his passion for these issues to Arizona State University’s School of Transborder Studies to serve as the school’s first-ever virtual artist in residence.

“We are very excited to welcome Lalo to ASU, The College and our school,” said Irasema Coronado, director and professor of the School of Transborder Studies. “His background and years of advocacy for the Latino and immigrant communities are an indication of his transboundary connections. We welcome his contributions to our interdisciplinary work and are eager to promote the arts in the process.”

In this role, Alcaraz will take on a variety of projects in collaboration with school faculty and give lectures on his work and other topics of relevance. One of the first projects he’ll tackle is a strategic campaign to dispel misinformation around COVID-19 and the vaccine in Latino communities in partnership with Gilberto Lopez, assistant professor in the School of Transborder Studies. 

Alcaraz will develop a series of illustrations to bring culturally relevant information on the COVID-19 vaccine to California’s agricultural Central Valley and beyond. These efforts will contribute to an ongoing project that Lopez has been working on since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 20, Lalo will give a lecture titled “Cartoons That Cross The Line,” where he’ll share some of the editorial cartoons he’s done over the course of his career on immigration and the Mexican-American border.

Alcaraz said he was drawn to the School of Transborder Studies because the topics taught within the school align with his work and background. Growing up in San Diego, California, to Mexican immigrant parents, he was close in proximity to the Mexican-American border. 

“I always write and create about the border,” Alcaraz said. “I'm from the border and it's just always with me. So naturally I was fascinated by the School of Transborder Studies. The work they do is right up my alley ... so collaborating with them really seemed like a perfect match.”

Alcaraz received a bachelor’s degree in art from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduating, Alcaraz created "La Cucaracha,” the first nationally syndicated political Latino daily comic strip for the Los Angeles Times.

Throughout his career his work has extended beyond comic strips to television and film writing, consulting and producing. He has contributed as a writer and cultural consultant on several well-known movies and TV shows including the animated TV show “Bordertown” and Disney’s Oscar-winning Pixar movie “Coco.” 

He is currently the cultural consultant, consulting producer and writer on the Nickelodeon animated series “The Loud House” and “The Casagrandes.” Alcaraz is also the co-host of the satirical radio talk show, the Pocho Hour of Power on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles.

His work as a freelance editorial cartoonist earned him a spot as a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in the editorial cartooning category

Today, Alcaraz resides in Los Angeles with his family — where he will work remotely during his virtual artist residency through fall 2021.

Emily Balli
eballi@asu.edu