Scope and Content
Language of Material:
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: Ricardo Favela Royal Chicano Air Force Poster Collection
Royal Chicano Air Force
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2005.11.01
Date (inclusive): 1971-2005
Abstract: The Royal Chicano Air Force Poster Collection consists of 192 posters for community-based programs and events held by the
city of Sacramento and students from California State University, Sacramento.
Language of Material: Posters are in English and Spanish.
The collection is open for research.
Ricardo Favela has assigned copyright to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives where he is
the copyright holder. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the
Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the
owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital
files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
Ricardo Favela Royal Chicano Air Force Poster Collection, MSS-2005-11-15, San José State University Library Special Collections
Collection processed and finding aid EAD encoded by Elizabeth Lopez in 2009. Reviewed by Danelle Moon.
This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant
project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008. The Project Director
is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.
The Royal Chicano Air Force is an artistic collective based in Sacramento. Initially named the Rebel Chicano Art Front, the
RCAF was founded in 1969 to express the goals of the Chicano civil rights and labor organizing movement of the United Farm
Workers. Its mission was to make available to the Chicano community a bilingual/bicultural arts center where artists could
come together, exchange ideas, provide mutual support, and make available to the public artistic, cultural, and educational
programs and events.
The founding members of the RCAF include José Montoya, Esteban Villa, Juanishi V. Orosco, Ricardo Favela, and Rudy Cuellar.
Montoya and Villa knew of each other through their involvement in the Mexican American Liberation Art Front and the California
College of Arts and Crafts. During the Chicano Movement students pressured colleges and universities to diversify their faculties.
As a result, Montoya and Villa were hired as professors of art at California State University, Sacramento. Their academic
positions gave them the creative freedom to initiate programmatic exchanges between the university and the barrio community.
Through this effort they initiated many programs including the Barrio Art Program, which required university students to go
out into the community including senior centers to teach art courses.
In 1972 the RCAF created the not-for-profit Centro De Artistas Chicanos, a community based organization, which became the
spring-board for all types of Sacramento community programs, such as La Nueva Raza Bookstore (with its Galería Posada), Aeronaves
de Aztlán (Automotive Repair Garage), RCAF Danzantes (Cultural Dance venue), Barrio Art Program, and the RCAF Graphics and
Design Center. By 1977, the Centro de Artistas Chicanos and Breakfast for Niños Program (a community non-profit program that
fed children before school) joined forces to create the Cultural Affairs Project, which further funded their many community
The RCAF is best known for its mural paintings, poster art production, and individual artistic contributions. The artists
of the Centro have produced murals and exhibitions from San Diego to Seattle. The success of the RCAF to engage communities
to express their Chicano culture, history and struggle for equal rights, is a testament to the spirit of the collective and
it's significance in the Chicano community and in American society.
While the "RCAF" originally stood for the Rebel Chicano Art Front, people confused the letters with the acronym for the Royal
Canadian Air Force. Montoya and his fellow officers capitalized on the misunderstanding, and in good humor adopted the name
Royal Chicano Air Force. This new identity found its way into their wardrobe, as well as their highly successful silk screen
poster program, which began to disseminate the World War I aviator and brainstorming bi-winged planes as icons. The RCAF gained
a well-deserved reputation for outrageous humor, fine art posters, murals, and community activism. Their pioneering spirit
throughout the 1970s and early 1980s was well-known in the California Chicano community, and continues to the present.
Bibliography: Royal Chicano Air Force. The RCAF Homepage. http://www.rcaf.info/ (accessed April 1, 2009).
Scope and Content
The Ricardo Favela Royal Chicano Air Force collection was donated by artist and activist, Ricardo Favela in 2005. The Royal
Chicano Air Force (RCAF) , a Sacramento-based Chicano artist collective, was established in 1969 by José Montoya, Esteban
Villa, Juanishi Orosco, Ricardo Favela, and Rudy Cuellar. The collection consist of 192 posters produced by the founding members,
as well as posters by Xico González and Manuel Rios dating 1971- 2005 (bulk 1974-1980). The collection represents the 40 years
of poster art production by the RCAF.
The RCAF Poster Collection primarily consists of announcement posters for community-based programs and events held by the
community of Sacramento and students at the California State University, Sacramento. These posters reflect the historical,
cultural, and political expressions of the Chicano community in Sacramento. Other posters in the collection include posters
from two calendar series,
Calendario de Comida [Calendar of Food] and
Calendario de Amor [Calendar of Love] , which promote Chicano culture and history and a series of posters sponsored by the California State
Department of Mental Health.
The collection is arranged into three series: Series I: Announcement Posters, 1974-2005; Series II: Calendars, 1976 and 1978;
Series III: California State Department of Mental Health Posters, 1981.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Mexican American artists -- California
Mexican American posters
Royal Chicano Air Force -- Posters
Mexican American art
Royal Chicano Air Force