Xavier Viramontes Biography

Xavier Viramontes




Painter and printmaker Xavier Viramontes was born in Richmond, California on September 16, 1943, to Mexican parents who had immigrated to the U.S. in the 1930s. Viramontes first pursued art in high school with the intent of attending college, but was drafted upon graduation into the Vietnam War. Viramontes was eventually stationed in Germany, where he was able to travel throughout Europe when on leave and study major works found at the museums. This further inspired the young artist and, upon release from the Army in 1969, he utilized the G.I. Bill to enroll in classes at the San Francisco Art Institute.

In the 1970s Viramontes became involved with the Galeria de la Raza arts organization, whose community-based projects focused to bringing awareness to Chicano and Latino cultures. Working as a muralist and poster artist he became particularly known for his "Boycott Grapes" poster, which is now included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute.

Graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute with a BFA in painting, Viramontes then switched his focus to printmaking, enrolling in the Masters program at San Francisco State University. He specialized in zinc 4-plate color etchings, a technique he still uses to this day. He graduated with his MA in 1977.

Viramontes is currently an instructor in the City College of San Francisco's fine art printmaking department. He continues to exhibit his work in the U.S. and abroad, and his works are included in several permanent collections, including the Norwalk Community Technical College (CT), the David and Lucille Parkard Foundation, Oakland (CA), and the city of Seattle Public Works Program (WA).

You can find more information on the artist on his website.