John M. Valadez

born Los Angeles, CA 1951
Also known as
  • J. M. Valadez
Los Angeles, California, United States
  • American

Muralist and pastel artist, grew up in the neighborhood of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. While studying at East Los Angeles Junior College in the early 1970s, Valadez joined a theater group—performing in productions at the Mexican American Center for Creative Arts (MACCA)—and immersed himself in the study of art history and painting. He earned a B.F.A. from California State University at Long Beach in 1976. Following graduation, Valadez became involved in numerous mural projects in Los Angeles, where he continues to live and work today.

Latino Art and Culture Bilingual Study Guide (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1996)


Media - 2011.12 - SAAM-2011.12_1 - 77591
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art
October 24, 2013March 2, 2014
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art. It explores how Latino artists shaped the artistic movements of their day and recalibrated key themes in American art and culture.
Photograph of children playing in the water from a fire hydrant by Hiram Maristany
Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography
May 11, 2017August 5, 2017
America’s urban streets have long inspired documentary photographers. After World War II, populations shifted from the city to the suburbs and newly built highways cut through thriving neighborhoods, leaving isolated pockets within major urban centers. As neighborhoods started to decline in the 1950s, the photographers in this exhibition found ways to call attention to changing cities and their residents. Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography explores the work of ten photographers—Manuel Acevedo, Oscar Castillo, Frank Espada, Anthony Hernandez, Perla de Leon, Hiram Maristany, Ruben Ochoa, John Valadez, Winston Vargas, and Camilo José Vergara—who were driven to document and reflect on the state of American cities during these transformative years.