Tortilla Paintings: Admire Them, but Don't Eat Them

by Brian Vaszily, founder of

Most see a tortilla and think about a taco or burrito. One man looks at a tortilla and thinks of a canvas just waiting to be painted.

According to Los Angeles tortilla artist Joe Bravo, “Mexicans -- we Latinos -- we have a history of painting on tin, on walls, on cars, on anything.”

Joe chooses tortillas as his canvas because of the how inexpensive and easily accessible they are. Originally he used regular sized tortillas but came to find that the oversized 32-inch tortillas catch more attention.

Since 1972, Mr. Bravo has produced hundreds of tortilla paintings that include Marilyn Monroe, jaguars, dragons, the Virgin Mary, and Ronald McDonald.

Mr. Bravo claims that the contours of the tortilla actually help dictate the subject matter of the painting. “You see patterns, like when you look up at the clouds. You’re working with the environment of the tortilla. It’s almost like a collaborator.”

Joe Bravo now has quite a following of his artwork. In fact, some of his tortilla artwork earns him more than $3000.00. A commercial graphic designer by training, he has had some exhibits at local art institutes and very soon will have a tortilla exhibit in Hong Kong.

The originality and beauty of his tortilla canvas paintings has earned him recognition in the Los Angeles Times, on a Spanish-language TV, and an upcoming entry in "Ripley's Believe It or Not!"

In addition to the tortilla paintings below, you can see more of Joe Bravo's works -- and discover where exhibitions of his works will be taking place -- at the tortilla painting headquarters,