The Mexican lotería card game is a cultural staple for Latinos — which now has a queer, identity-based twist thanks to Chicano artist Félix Frédéric d'Eon.
The 36-year-old Latino calls it "Gay Lotería."
Despite being Mexican-French, Frédéric d'Eon told Vivala via email how proud he is of his Mexican heritage. He was born in Guadalajara, but currently based out of Mexico City.
"Our heritage in food, music, art, and literature are truly extraordinary, and I am very happy to be heir to my Mexican tradition," he said.
He wanted to make his own version of the Mexican game he played growing up, for a gay, Latinx audience.
"I am queer. I am a cis-gender gay man. I most certainly do think identity plays a role in my work, both as a gay man and as a minority (Latino — at least, when I used to live in the US!) I think that my outsider status as queer and Latino gave me another way to view the world which is much more difficult for a straight, white person to access — it is an understanding of marginalization which opens up other vistas. My entire artistic trajectory has been molded by my sexual and ethnic identity."
He started the "Gay Lotería" series in 2016 and not only are they beautiful and fun, but they're powerful, too.
The subject of queer love and expression is highlighted from a Latinx lens.
'La Tijera' is one of the pieces he finds to be really funny.
While he finds 'La Luna' to be very romantic.
"I think that they ["Gay Lotería" cards] work best as a conglomeration of images, working in unity to create an image of queer Mexican-ness."
He wants people to take away "a feeling of inclusivity, love, sexual openness, and belonging," when it comes to his work.
"I don't often paint rainbow flags," he said. "But I like the historical revisionism of this piece, which sort of pushes gay pride and identity into a mythical Mexican past, seeing as I have replaced the original image's Mexican flag from the 1930's with the new image of queer pride and identity."
Frédéric d'Eon told Vivala that 'people are so lovely' when it comes to what he chooses to create and puts out into the world. He's never received rude, mean, or hateful commentary surrounding his body of work.
As a queer artist he feels that he has a large audience with whom he can connect to and make work that is political in nature.
"I feel like being a gay artist working for a queer audience has provided me with an endless list of subjects and themes to address which have heretofore gone unpainted," he said.
Frédéric d'Eon has been working as a professional, full-time artist for 10 years but has been creating art his whole life.
All of his work is hand-drawn and he only uses digital for post-production, when the original piece is scanned in.
Some of his favorite artists include, "Rembrandt, Watteau, and Titian, among the old masters, Kara Walker, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, among the living, and others such as Hokusai in Japan or George Barbier, the great Art Deco fashion illustrator."
Even though he has a strong group of people that support what he does, Frédéric d'Eon does feel that queer art is an untapped creative medium within the Latinx community.
"I know that there are some queer artists doing really great work, but at large, art made with a specifically queer intent has been made by white artists for a gay, white audience," he explains.
He pointed out that there are a ton of gay Latinx artists — like himself — that have made some incredible work.
"I very much enjoy making work that addresses the desire and self-identity of my own community, which has been underrepresented," he added.
Although the Chicano creator is comfortable and proud of his sexuality — fully living his truth — it wasn't easy growing up as a Catholic Mexican.
"It was hard as a boy," Frédéric d'Eon said. "My family is very small town Mexican Catholic, and it was hard for me to accept it in myself, and later for them to accept it in me. But otherwise, as James Baldwin said about being Black and gay, 'I feel like I hit the jackpot!'"
His family is fully aware of the work he does and while some may not be total fans of it, most of them are supportive.