I've been doing some research into the name sake of our upcoming Spring show. The origins of 'Smile now, Cry later' trace back to an 'old-school' classic by Texan, Sunny Ozuna, 1963. It appears the song has since been taken up as an essential cruisin' track for the lowrider culture. West coast Gangs were merely absorbed as followers of the urban lowrider culture as it grew in the 80s. Gangs fed/feed the prison system spanning the entire country, passing along the motto to, 'Smile Now, Cry Later' through tattoos and graffiti that we associate with it today.
'Smile now, Cry later' not only serves as a poetic expression of having to mask one's pain and perfect cruisin' music but, also serves as a testament to the far reaches of a sentiment to permeate and mutate socially through an underground culture. I'm tempted to write to him and ask how he feels about this. I just may..
Loosely quoting Marina Abramovic in an interview she 'places music at the top of the hierarchy of art', I have to agree that it supersedes other art forms in expression and engagement. For now I'll leave you with the underground classic that the show is named after: "Smile Now, Cry Later" by Sunny Ozuna and the Sunliners on Youtube
*Disclaimer:This exhibit/Cobalt in no way condones or seeks to glamorize gang culture or violence.
Interest in this cultural phenomenon is solely based in artistic interpretation and exploration. I'm just fascinated how something so innocent can be transformed in meaning to a subculture then redistributed to popular culture with little traces back to its origins.
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