Emigdio earned an Associate of Arts degree from Santa Ana College before transferring to California State Fullerton University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. In 1979, for his Master’s Degree thesis project, Emigdio painted an 85-foot by 64-foot mural as a tribute to the Chicano working class, complete with figures modeled after his father as a miner and other relatives and friends as field workers and laborers.
Vasquez is the father of six children. His son, Emigdio Jr Carlos "Higgy" Vasquez is also an artist, and has assisted him on several mural projects. His ex-wife, Rosie Lopez Schelerth, has written much about Vasquez's early life and their marriage in her autobiography Hi! My Name is Chicken.