Laura Aguilar

Luis Alfaro

Don Bachardy

Ben Cuevas


Vaginal Davis

Tony De Carlo

Alison De La Cruz

Anthony Friedkin

Olga Garcia-Echeverria

Rudi Gerneich

Ken Gonzales-Day

Susan "Phranc" Gottlieb

Aurora Guerrero

Robert "Cyclona" Legorreta

Catherine Lord

Guglio "Gronk" Nicandro

Roy Rogers Oldenkamp

Monica Palacios

Antonio Rael

Julio Salgado

Terisa Siagatonu

Joey Terrill

Ryan Trecartin



Julio Salgado

  • Artist Julio Salgado
  • Julio's Artwork
  • Contributor Angelica Becerra


Julio Salgado is a queer undocumented artist from Long Beach, California. Julio's art serves several purposes. Besides being aesthetically appealing, it is used as a tool for the activist DREAMer and Undocuqueer community to spread awareness about the undocumented student movement and finally, to humanize these issues which affect the U.S. at large. Julio's primary mediums are marker, paper and most importantly a computer. He is self-taught and in 2010 obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from California State University, Long Beach. It is through social media that he is able to reach mass audiences with his art and build consciousness for these issues.

Julio's art straddles the world of aesthetics and activism by remaining politically conscious and retaining its form as images. Julio's art is a component of several projects such as the national media collective DREAMers Adrift. Furthermore, he has developed art projects such as the “I am Undocu-Queer!” series, "For My Dreamers", "I Exist" and the "Undocumented Apparel" series which garnered national attention for its criticism of the clothing company American Apparel and its use of farmworkers in an ad campaign.  

I chose Julio because I feel that he's an artist that needs to be documented and supported. I had the privilege to sit alongside him as we both completed an undergraduate degree at California State University, Long Beach. As a naturalized immigrant Julio's art touches me very deeply, and reminds me that there is a bridge between art and activism, that there is much to be done for our community. I look forward to seeing the amazing places where his art takes him and to support him for a very long time to come. 



Julio's Mock-Up campaign "Undocumented Apparel"

Image above: American Apparel Spring 2012 campaign. 

The second work of Julio Salgado's that I chose to profile is one of his most popular: the Undocumented Apparel mock-up campaign. Like the majority of Julio's work, this piece is one of several that were done in response to racism and Latina/o fetishism. American Apparel's "California" campaign featured a white college student modeling a new accessory: a Mexican farmworker. 
The use of the Mexican farmworker was deeply problematic for Julio. As an aside, campaigns such as these seek to capitalize on images to attract more revenue, often at the expense of marginalized identities. The use of "Raul" the farmworker was not just to create a false sense of community between him and a young hypersexualized woman, it was done to attract positive publicity or its "support" of farmworker labor. Julio's pieces which imitated the aesthetics of the original campaign gathered attention from several major news outlets, one among them the news websiteColorlines In the article discussing this piece Julio speaks on his thoughts about the American Apparel image: 
“My first thought was, this is so unrealistic,” says Salgado. “I did construction work for a couple of summers while I was in college, and I worked with guys who looked like that - you know, day laborers. And that image in the ad brought me back to one time when we were working on a hotel, putting in tile. Women who look like that model were walking by, and would pass by and totally not pay attention to us, would ignore us. The reality is, people like that usually are ignored." 

By creating his own mock-up campaign, Julio was able to provide what the original campaign did not; a platform for the voices of those who were misrepresented in American Apparel's original. Julio's artivism features real undocumented immigrants and their own statements and stories. Telling the real, purposefully uncomfortable truth that the original ad campaign chose to erase. 


One of the pieces of Julio Salgado that I chose to highlight is this piece from his "Chubby Girl" series. This one in particular is part of the latest batch which Julio just exhibited at SoleSpace's opening art show: METAMORFOSIS in downtown Oakland last night! 
I chose this piece for two reasons: (1) I wanted to bring attention to the fact that Julio's art also covers positive Latina body images. This is extremely important in our society today, where Latina bodies are comodified and exoticized by mainstream media every single day. Julio's positive images that promote real curvy bodiesare resisting the daily messages of thin and extreme dieting for young women. Julio's artivismlies in undermining mainstream media outlets and subverting their messages. (2) I really love that the subjects in each piece have their faces painted in the tradition of the Mexican cultural holiday "Dia de los Muertos" or Day of the Dead. Julio's homage to the ancestors (via the calacas in the background and the painted face) is beautifully displayed in his art and shows his Mexican heritage loudly and proudly. 

Julio Salgado Interview:

In the following video Julio talks about the motivation

behind his images and how he goes about creating them.



I am a first year Ph.D. student at UCLA in the Cesar E. Chavez department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. During my undergraduate career I had the privilege of being a McNair postbaccalaureate achievement scholar, where my article entitled “Now Playing: Redefining Representations of Masculinity and Mexican Identity in Sólo Con Tu Pareja (1991)” was published in the McNair Scholars Research Journal in Spring 2012.  I also participated in a number of academic conferences dealing with the themes of Mexican identity, gender relations within Chicana/o culture, and the connection between expressive arts and cultural iniquity. This past summer, through the Getty Foundation multicultural undergraduate internship, I worked at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, where I helped prepare several forthcoming titles in the A Ver: Revisioning Art History book series for publication.

In my graduate career I plan to continue researching the ways in which Mexican cinematic representations converge with the pursuit of sociopolitical liberation, particularly through the struggle for gender equality. My research interests include Film and Popular Culture, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies, Transnational Feminism, queer studies, and Cultural studies.

I decided to research and document Julio Salgado's work because of its hybrid purpose as art and activism. I deeply admire the DREAMer movement and have seen firsthand the power of Julio's images as a tool to communicate the struggle and humanize undocumented queer youth.