Southern Arizona Folk Arts
Home / Low Riders -- A Contemporary Folk Art Form / Low Riders Video Clips

El Arte Folklórico del Sur de Arizona en espagñol

Low Riders Video Clips

The following clips were edited from video taken at a low rider display on the University of Arizona campus in November 1996. The display was part of a larger exhibition "La Cadena Que No Se Corta/The Unbroken Chain," an exhibit focusing on the traditional arts of Tucson's Mexican American community. More information on this exhibition can be found on the La Cadena Que No Se Corta/The Unbroken Chain Web site.

Dr. James S. Griffith, a Research Associate and folklore professor with the University of Arizona, hosted the discussion on low riding with a local car club.

Video on this webpage was provided by Dr. David Betts, who shot the original footage. The raw footage was edited and digitized by Jeff Imig, University of Arizona Learning Technologies Center (LTC), during summer 2000. Creation of metadata and selection of clips for the Web was done by LTC's Jan Knight. Access to the video clips on low riders became available on the Southern Arizona Folk Arts website in February 2001. Get the free RealPlayer to view these video selections.

The hydraulics are one of the more dramatic aspects of low riders. View the low rider hydraulics in action. [00:20 RealPlayer]

The elaborate interiors of low riders [00:13 RealPlayer] are an integral part of the tradition. Interiors are characterized by colorful and deep pile upholstery.

Exterior paintwork and murals [00:10 RealPlayer] are all important common features of low riders and they help to identify different vehicles and their individual ownership. Another example of the exterior paintwork. [00:13 RealPlayer]

Bronze paintwork and elaborate wheels [00:15 RealPlayer] highlight this car.

Decals and artwork identifying ownership are common in the decoration of these cars. The Dukes [00:17 RealPlayer] artwork and animal character artwork [00:15 RealPlayer] are shown here.

Dr. Jim Griffith meets with families involved in the low rider community and hears an explaination of the phrase "low and slow, mean and clean." [00:50 RealPlayer] A transcript is available on this page.

A local mother talks [02:20 RealPlayer] about the importance of the low rider tradition in the family community and their group's involvement in school drug and gang programs.

Typescript of discussion: "We have no hydraulics...that attracts a lot of attention and it takes a lot of time and a lot of months, especially a vintage car. To make it low rider is one thing but to put hydraulics in it takes a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of patience with the car in trying to drop it. Low riders also have beautiful paint jobs, murals, plates. You can get radical with the car or you can go original. There are a lot of different types of low riders. We also have the newer low riders, they're Daytons (?) Again, they're lifted also and that's a lot of the creativity that makes a low rider: paint, plates, murals, hydraulics."

Low rider bikes [00:16 RealPlayer] are a way for children and young people to become involved in the low rider community.

A low rider bicycle
A low rider bicycle
[image courtesy of James S. Griffith]

Quilts | Easter Eggs, Paper Cuttings, and Woodworking from Europe | An Occupation and a Region: Cowboy and Western Folk Art | Chicano Murals in Tucson| Low Riders -- A Contemporary Folk Art Form | Mexican American Paperwork | Mexican Food in Tucson | Rights & Permissions | Home