By Sara Inéz Calderón
Más Wired interviewed Lalo Alcaraz, cartoonist and satirist extraordinary, about how his work has been amplified by technology. Since his days as a Berkeley graduate student, Alcaraz would promote his work via photocopied flyers.
Later, during the 1990s, he would fax copies of his fake anti-immigrant Hispanic organization to news outlets. When social media came onto the scene, he was ready to pounce on that technology as well. He told us that, through the technology, he’s been able to spread his work far beyond the Los Angeles area.
Más Wired: How do you keep up with technology?
Lalo Alcaraz: Even since dinosaur days, I’ve tried to keep up with tech, and for me tech has been Macs for workstations. I don’t always have the latest hardware, but I think I’ve caught up with most social media just by watching what everybody else is doing and trying to keep a tiny step ahead.
MW: How do you see the work you do as being connected to technology?
LA: My work is connected to tech just like most other fields, but pencils are still indispensable. In other words, I can draw all day long, but to send the finished product to my editor without the Internet — forget it!
MW: Do you like technology? Is it easy to use? Or hard? How do you experience tech?
LA: I like it kept simple and elegant, not flashy and intricate.
MW: You’ve spread your work using every available technology over the years: from flyers to faxes to Twitter to YouTube and even radio. Was this out of necessity or convenience?
LA: I’m basically a communicator, and distributor of my opinions, so I need whatever means are available. I love the scene in “Almost Famous” when they do the gag about the “telefax” machine. That was me 15 years later, still all excited about fax machines.
I used to fax cartoons to various organizations back then just to get my cartoons out. You didn’t know Fred Flintstone was Chicano, did you!?
MW: How do you think tech has helped your work?
LA: It (first the Internet, then social media) has really helped me get out beyond local regions, and it has also helped popularize my work in heavily-connected areas like LA.
MW: How do you think tech and help Latinos, or what advice would you give to folks who want to use tech to promote their work/art?
LA: It’s the best thing to distribute your work — but also stay on top of where it goes, because less talented people will [re]use it for their own purposes. That’s not all bad, but you should always know where it is!