With a number of books in his Chicano Codex Coloring Book series (chicanocoloringbooks.com) under his belt—and more on the way—Israel Francisco Haros Lopez has been quietly yet effectively reconnecting Chicano people with their ancestry and heritage since the early 2000s. A recent winner of the Kindle Project's Makers Muse Award, Lopez works also as a teen liaison for the Santa Fe Public Schools' Adelante program, which helps the homeless successfully achieve an education. Yup. He's cool as hell. (Alex De Vore)
Why do you think adult coloring books have become so popular?
Well, actually, these aren't coloring books, I just labeled the first two that way to help with marketing. They're actually part of an ancestral codex that will hopefully help people re-engage with their heritage. When I started doing these years ago and giving them to parents for their kids, they never made it to the kids, which was weird at first but it helped me realize their therapeutic and healing value. I was doing this way before this newer movement was happening, but I realize how beautiful it is for people to think, 'Hey, I can do this however I want, I can be that kid again.'
How many books are there total?
There are nine so far, each one dedicated to one of my nieces or nephews. Each one is like having this deeper conversation about our spirituality and our language and our ancestry. There will be 20 eventually, each running 52 to 100 pages.
Would you call yourself an artist or an activist or both?
I think it just kind of depends on what role I'm playing for what day. It's ultimately about servicing people, all people, and it's about waking up the consciousness. In some way, shape or form, this is what these books are trying to do.