Peter Tovar is the cover artist fror Peace in the Streets: Breaking the Cycle of Gang Violence. He is a seminal artist in the Chicano Art movement of Los Angeles. He is a founder of Bodega Colores at Self Help Graphics in East Los Angeles.
Peter Tovar was born at Children's Hospital close to the Mission district in San Francisco. Second oldest son of six children, Peter grew up in Campbell, a small area outside San Jose. His summers would be spent with his grandmother in the orchards. When they would break for lunch, his grandmother spun stories about the rich history of Mexico and her eventual journey to California.. " We are the people of the earth, " she would tell him. For Peter the colors of the watermelon symbolize his childhood memories of those cherished summers.
Peter began painting after being drafted to become an airplane mechanic in Vietnam. He continued to paint after the war, and in February 1994, had his first solo exhibit at Self Help Graphics' Galeria Otra Vez. The exhibit consisted of a series of acrylic paintings. His next exhibit at Arroyo Bookstore in Highland Park, featured his first use of pastels.
For Peace in the Streets: Breaking the Cycle of Gang Violence, Peter read the manuscript and then took several months to think and work on the book cover. As he read through each chapter, a part of Los Angeles or its history would come to mind, and he began to add these images to the pastel.
The cover features elements such as the crucified immigrant, taken from a mural near Olvera Street that was covered over during the McCarthy years for the controversy it generated. The hollywood sign, gang images, a pinata, a small east l.a. bungalow, the united farm workers symbol, factories and other Los Angeles images fill out this powerful work.