The Taco Truck Gourmet's Art Gallery

Photos by Robb Walsh
That's all, folks!

Taco trucks are decorated with paintings of characters, landscapes and food still-lifes. This emerging genre of pan-American folk art depicts the people, places and things of Latin America in a jumble of the real and the imagined.

The anthropomorphized spokespig, who we will call Paco, holds a taco aloft on the side of the Paco's Tacos #3 truck currently parked at 7100 Hillcroft. Although he lacks a red bowtie, his blue jacket is an obvious allusion to the most famous of porcine cartoon characters, Porky Pig. Paco resembles some of Porky's earlier incarnations.

Just what kind of taco is he's holding? Does Paco have a cannibalistic streak?

Breast meat?

This is a painting of a woman who we have given the affectionate nickname "Mona Lisa de Pollo." Note the enigmatic half smile, the small head and the enormous ta-tas. (Reflecting the painter's own hungers?) She enticingly balances a whole roasted chicken in the air on the side of the El Mapache III truck at the corner of Gulfton and Renwick.

And what places are the painters of the following two landscapes longing for?

Home, sweet home.

We can feel the homesick longing of the artist in this affectionate rendering of La Silla (the saddle), a rock formation on top of a mountain in Monterrey, Mexico. La Silla is an icon of this Northern Mexican city. The artist has painted cute little white homes along the mountain's slope to welcome the viewer with their symbolically open doors.

Note that the yellow reflector on the side of the bus has been incorporated into the image -- is it a cosmic "you are here" indicator?

Beep beep.

Meanwhile, this fantasy of the American-Mexican border from El Mapache III features a saguaro cactus straight out of a Peanuts cartoon and a comic reminder of death in the form of the bleached white skull. We expect the Coyote to chase the Road Runner through this scene at any second. In fact, when we stare into the painting for any length of time, we find ourselves mouthing the words, "beep beep." -- Robb Walsh

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