Artist and father of Zack de la Rocha, frontman for popular rap/rock group Rage Against the Machine. Beto was part of Los Four, an artist collective that, in 1974, became the first Chicanos to exhibit in the L.A. County Museum of Art. Their art, full of Mexican folk icons and references to the Chicano political movement, was crucial to a thriving East Side cultural scene.
Beto and Zack's mom divorced when Zack was still very young. Around 1981, Beto suffered a nervous breakdown, which was complicated by his extreme religious fundamentalism. Beto would stay secluded in his apartment with the drapes shut, reading from the Bible for hours on end. He'd go on 40-day fasts, and when young Zack came to stay, Beto forced his son to take part in his delusions. Beto would deprive his son of food, and keep him under close guard while wandering the house interpreting the Bible. "I'd spend three weekends out of the month at my father's house, eat on Friday night and not eat again until Monday morning when I'd get back to my mother," Zach said in an interview.
Beto would eventually give up painting and destroyed most of his work, saying, "I took the Bible too literally." He refers to the commandment against making graven images. "It says, 'Make no image'..... I was an image maker, so I said, 'Okay, I quit.'" In recent years, Beto has begun to paint again in a small studio in Highland Park. On occasion he and Zack appear together at community arts events.
-interview quotes taken from Rolling Stone