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This San Antonio Artist Made COVID-19 Loteria Cards

If you're having a hard time seeing anything remotely funny about the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve found something that might at least give you an unexpected smile or two. It comes from Rafael Gonzales, Jr., whose career work isn't terribly humorous.

"I'm a lab manager at a local university," he said.

But it's what he’s done with his art that is pretty humorous. His recent focus: Loteria cards.

La Cabrona
Credit Rafael Gonzales, Jr.
La Cabrona

" Mexican Loteria is popular in Mexico and and, of course, in the Mexican American communities in the United States, we grow up playing it with families at different events," he said.

Think Bingo, but with cards, each with a number, a picture and a label as to what the card represents. What Gonzales has done that’s slightly twisted is to create a COVID-19 based Loteria.

"I just like to bring a new take on the old images during this pandemic," he said.

And so he's taken Coronavirus themes and re-imagined them in Loteria cards.

"The first one was an actual image of the Coronavirus," he said.

It's that distinctive circular look with red spikes. And the wordplay within is where the humor lies. You might need Google translate. And there's more.

"People were hoarding toilet paper. People are still having trouble finding it,” Gonzales explained. “So, I just put a stack of rolls together and call it El Hoarder."

El Hoarder
Credit Rafael Gonzales, Jr.
El Hoarder

From El Hoarder we go to La Coping Mechanism: A frozen margarita.

"I'm a lover of margaritas and tequila and, not being able to go out and enjoy one with chips and salsa restaurant, I've turned into a sort of my own mixologist here at home," he said.

El Trabajo — the job — shows a laptop dialed up to Zoom. In other words, working from home. El Staple shows a pinto bean, and La Starbucks shows a coffee pot. 

He doesn't have 54 of them yet, which is a standard Loteria deck, but prints and t-shirts are available.

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.

Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

El Fauci
Rafael Gonzales, Jr. /
El Fauci

La Coping Mechanism
Rafael Gonzales, Jr. /
La Coping Mechanism

La Starbucks
Rafael Gonzales, Jr. /
La Starbucks

El Trabajo
Rafael Gonzales, Jr. /
El Trabajo