Joey Terrill is a formative figure in the Los Angeles based Chicano art movement and AIDS cultural activism and is a former board member of VIVA!, the first gay and lesbian Latino art organization in Los Angeles. Painting and making art since the 1970s, Terrill has always explored the intersection of Chicano and gay male identity (where they overlap and where they clash) as a strategy for art production.
A second generation native Angeleno, he attended Immaculate Heart College and lists influences as diverse as pop art, Corita Kent, David Hockney Mexican retablos, and 20th-century painters ranging from Romaine Brooks to Frida Kahlo. His work conveys the energy, politics and creative synergy of Chicano and queer art circles in Los Angeles.
A seminal work from that time, “Homeboy Beautiful Magazine” (1978) was re-issued in 2015 in collaboration with the Maricon Collective (queer Chicano arts group) and featured at the MOCA LA Art Book Fair.
His Chicano student activism in high school and concurrently the gay liberation movement of the early 70s engendered his passion for social justice and helped develop skills that enhanced his AIDS advocacy a decade later. When AIDS hit the Latino/Artistic community in the 1980s he embraced political advocacy with a passion that included making art work that reflected its impact on his community.
His early work from the 1970s and 80s is considered pioneering examples of a queer sensibility and Latinx identity. Over the last decade he has come to embrace a new generation of academic investigation of his work as a touchstone for Latino Queer artists today. He has contributed to exhibits ranging from Art, AIDS, America that opened in Tacoma, WA ending in Chicago, Ill. to Queerly Tehuantin at the now closed Galleria de La Raza in San Francisco with works from the pre-AIDS 1970’s (like Homeboy Beautiful) as well as recent self-portrait paintings and Still-Lifes with HIV medications. He seeks to engage with and add to the fermenting investigation of Queer identity found in current artistic practice.