Painter and post war artist Carlos Villa was born in San Francisco. He studied under Diebenkorn, Lobdell and Bischoff at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned his BFA in 1961. He then went on to receive his MFA from Mills College two years later, studying under Ralph Du Casse While in school, and into the early 1960s, Villa painted in an Abstract Expressionist style. He moved to New York in 1963, and then returned to San Francisco 5 years later.

The following year he began teaching at the San Francisco Art Association. “He began in the late 1960s to paint swirling arcs and coils of color in acrylic on un-stretched canvases, adding to them such materials as feathers and broken glass. Following the feathered, cape-like works for which he became known in the early 1970s, he turned to imprinting canvases directly with images of his face, hands, and other parts of his body, during quasi-primitive dances and other ritualistic actions that he performed.”