Maker of Selena Quintanilla Tortillas Reveals How They Did It

Selena Quintanilla-Perez is an icon and we love her in pretty much any form. Valentine’s Day cards? Check. Selena Quintanilla t-shirts? Yes, please. And did we mention that there’s even a Selena Quintanilla children’s book so that you can teach the next generation of Latinas why she will always be the queen? All of this is great. But now things are made even greater with Selena Quintanilla tortillas.

That’s right, Selena Quintanilla tortillas exist in the world and our lives will clearly never be the same. A few weeks ago, The Convergent Media Collective absolutely changed everything by using a laser cutter to print Selena’s iconic image on their San Antonio-based tortillas. Apparently, the idea originally came from “abuelitas and tias seeing images on their tortillas.” HipLatina spoke with a founding member of the collective, Joey Lopez, PhD, about how these magical things came to be.

HipLatina: What inspired you to create these Selena Quintanilla-tortillas?

Joey Lopez, PhD: “She is a big influence in my life, whether it was having my first middle school slow dance to “Dreaming of You” or her passing having an effect on all of us in Texas. If you look through my Instagram, I have posted her records that I’ve collected over the years. In general, Selena Quintanilla is my generations’ Tejana star. Being a native Texan and having grown up with Tejano music all around me, it’s just been amazing [to see] significant music careers that carry our heritage and culture to other geographical spaces.”

HL: Can you go through the process of creating these tortillas?

JL: “The whole premise behind the laser cutting of tortillas like the Selena one is that, in our Latinx culture, we have always had our abuelitas or tias say they see an image in their tortillas. So one day at our Convergent Media Collective meet-up, a member mentioned how it would be cool if we could burn images into a tortilla. Next thing I knew, we were [together] with various kinds of tortillas to try and refine the process. We then saw the open call for Luminaria, a local arts festival and decided to pitch a mobile laser cutting tortilla station. We fundraised the $6,000 needed to buy the portable laser cutter and presented the installation at Luminaria 2015. It was super well received.”

HL: Are you planning more tortillas in the future? 

JL: “We have had commercial inquiries about doing promotional laser cut tortillas and we did do some for Tacos of Texas, a book all about Tacos in Texas by Mando Rayo & Jarod Neece.  We still have the portable laser cutter and are still working with other groups to do some demos in the future.”

HL: Tell us more about the collective and your upcoming projects. 

JL: “The main people who worked on this project were: Andrew Valdez, John Frazee, Jeremy Zunker, Luis Valdez, and me. Our collective is made up of around 30 professionals, artists, teachers/professors, and “Stuff Makers”. We are not an organization, we are not a non-profit or for profit, we are literally just a group of people who “Make Stuff, Take Risks and Be Awesome” together. You can find all our work on our website.”

Here’s hoping there’s more Selena Quintanilla-inspired art (or food) in our futures, too.

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