Dec. 4 2013 02:24 PM

The closet comedian' with cultural inspiration

Ricardo Islas
Photo by Eric Serra make up by Sonia Lopez-Chavez

Ricardo Islas is an institution. The longtime San Diego artist is well-known for his paintings, which often feature icons and imagery from Mexican culture and his gritty sense of humor.

"I'm a closet comedian," Islas says. "I like to find the funny parts of life."

The untitled painting on this week's cover was part of a greeting-card series Islas did a few years ago. The piece pictures a kid using the colorful syrups that flavor raspados, popular Mexican shaved-ice drinks, to color his snowman, which has the recognizable Day of the Dead sugar skull for a head. The snowflakes are in the shape of Aztec symbols.

Islas recently took a break from art-making to spend time with his baby girl. He's slowly easing himself back into the local art scene and preparing for a surf-and-turf-themed show with Franky Agostino at Voz Alta Project, an opening date for which hasn't been set. He also has a painting on view at the new TPG2 gallery (1475 University Ave. in Hillcrest) through Dec. 14.

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