Vasquez spent his final days in an assisted living home in Newport Beach when he passed away on Aug. 9 from pneumonia.
Vasquez was born in Jerome, Arizona in 1939 where his father worked in a copper mine. His father moved the family to Orange County in the early 1940’s.
He was interested in art from an early age, and created comic books about the Mexican revolution based on information from his father.
Vasquez received both his bachelors and masters degrees in art from Cal State Fullerton.
For his thesis project, which was necessary to complete his master’s degree, Vasquez created a mural in tribute to the Chicano working class.
Vasquez modeled one of the miners in the mural after his father.
His most famous work is said to be “Legacy of Cesar Chavez.”
The painting shows Chavez surrounded by working people at an event for farm workers, and it hangs in the lobby of the Cesar Chavez Business and Computer Center at Santa Ana College, which Vasquez attended prior to his time at CSUF.
While “Legacy of Cesar Chavez” may be Vasquez’s most prominent work, much of his work did not include celebrities.
In most of his work the subjects were ordinary, working class people.
This may be due to the styles of his main influences: Dutch painter Rembrandt, and famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera.
Vasquez created over 400 paintings in his lifetime, more than 20 of which can be found in Orange County.
He is survived by six children, as well as four brothers and a sister.