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Richard Duardo dies at 62; printmaker was key in Chicano art community

A gregarious figure in the L.A. arts scene, Duardo worked as a printer with numerous famous artists

Master art printer Richard Duardo, who was a pivotal figure in the Chicano art community in Los Angeles, died Tuesday at home in Los Angeles. He was 62.

The cause of death has not been determined, said his sister, Lisa Duardo, but he had struggled for several years with diabetes.

A gregarious, prominent figure in the downtown arts scene, he worked as a printer with numerous world-famous artists, including David Hockney, Keith Haring and Banksy. And his own creations — silk-screen portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Che Guevara, Lauren Bacall and many others — were highly praised.

But it was his support for young artists, especially in the Chicano community, that brought forth dozens of online tributes after his death and a growing memorial of candles, photos and other objects outside his downtown print studio, Modern Multiples.

"An artist could have no better friend than Richard," comedian and actor Cheech Marin, who has an extensive Chicano art collection, told The Times. Marin worked on several projects with Duardo, including a nationwide tour of prints based on paintings that Marin owns.

"Richard had a fantastic eye," Marin said last week. "He would find artists in his travels, and he knew how to promote them. For me, he was a guide and mentor."

Duardo was born May 15, 1952, in Boyle Heights. He graduated from Franklin High School in Highland Park and studied art at Pasadena Community College and UCLA, where he got a master's degree in fine art.

But after college he felt that he was in danger of straying from his roots. "I was determined to find myself again, and who I really was as a Chicano," he said in a videotaped interview for KCET. "I went straight back to the neighborhood I was born in."

After working with the famed Self-Help Graphics arts center that specializes in printmaking, Duardo was a co-founder in the late 1970s of the Centro de Arte Público, a highly political arts collective in Highland Park.

In addition to his sister Lisa, he is survived by sisters Sandra and Josefina, both of Covina, and Cleo Diane of Sedona, Ariz.; brothers Oscar and Eric of Los Angeles, and Bruno of Covina; mother Josefina; and stepfather Arthur of Los Angeles.

david.colker@latimes.com

Twitter @davidcolker

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