Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Carlos Villa: Identity Zine

Objective: Create a zine to reflect and critically consider identities and the relationship between identity and context.

After Carlos Villa moved back to the Bay Area from New York, he continued to explore his identity as a Filipino American.  In college, he studied Pacific tribal art traditions and incorporated their materials and formats to his art. From his research, he began to understand the complexities of Filipino traditions, as much of Filipino culture is layered with Western, Asian, African, Indian, and Oceanic cultures due to colonialism, war, and imperialism. As a result, he expanded his work to explore what cultural diversity and multiculturalism mean. 

In this activity, you will begin to express your identity/identities in a visual format through a zine–a homemade booklet of various images, texts, and messages.

Content Standards (California)


Visual Arts:

1.2.1: Use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art.


1.2.2: Make art or design with various art materials and tools to explore personal interests, questions, and curiosity.


1.2.3: Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.


1.2.6: Formulate an artistic investigation of personally relevant content for creating art.


2.3.5: Identify, describe, and visually document places and/or objects of personal significance.


2.3.8: Select, organize, and design images and words to make visually clear and compelling presentations.


Historical and Social Sciences (Grade 9-12)


Chronological and Spatial Thinking 

HSS.9-12.1: Students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that were learned.

Historical Interpretation


HSS.9-12.2: Students recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect.


Video, “Carlos Villa and How I became an Artist August 2011” 

Video, “How to Make a Zine” 

Blank piece of 8.5″ x 11″ paper


Writing instruments

Glue or tape

Images to use for a collage


Intersectionality: the ways that race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, identity, and other factors work together to create someone’s situation in a way that is multiplicative and not additive in its effects of access to power or oppression. A framework to understand how inequality and oppression occur on a multidimensional basis.

Zine: a homemade booklet of various images, texts, and messages that can be circulated among a small audience.



  1. Read introduction and brief biography on Carlos Villa.
  2. Watch “Carlos Villa and How I became an Artist August 2011.”
  3. Discuss what identity means, the different identity groups, and intersectionality.
    • What may be some reasons why Villa wanted to focus on his identity as a Filipino American in his art?
    • How can artists investigate and express ideas about identity in their work?
    • How can art connect people from different identity groups and backgrounds?
  4. Explain what a zine is.

Prepare Your Zine Content

  1. Brainstorm: Consider how you identify yourself.
    • Write down words that describe your identity/identities. These will be your keywords.
    • Find or draw images that complement your keywords.
  2. Research: Based on what you brainstorm, search on the internet your keywords.
    • Can you find any history that can help contextualize your identity? How do they contribute to your identity?
    • Are there new words you never considered before that describe you?

Make a Zine

  1. Watch “How to Make a Zine” by Art Speak.
  2. Follow the steps in the video to create your zine template.

Design Your Zine

  1. Using a mixture of words and images, answer the following questions based on the page number of your zine:
    • Page 1: What part of your identity do you think people first notice about you?
    • Page 2: What part of your identity are you most comfortable sharing with other people
    • Page 3: What part of your identity are you least comfortable sharing with other people?
    • Page 4: What part of your identity is the most important to you?
    • Page 5: What part of your identity do you feel you receive privilege for most often?
    • Page 6: What do you want to learn more about your identities?
  2. Decorate the cover and back of your zine.
  3. Share your zine!

For more lessons based on Carlos Villa, visit the artist’s teacher packet.