27.3.12

Typography 20- I for Invisible Skratch Piklz (turntables)

I know, I know! Some of y'all are going to disagree with me on this one again. But I've seen these cats individually at different times and if what they do scratch wise on turntables don't have syncopation, rhythm, notes, and improvisation in it; I don't know what does. Just try looking up a Charlie Parker solo and compare it with D-Styles, Shortkut, Mix Master Mike, or Qbert's.

Some of my favorite examples of them involve just scratching (manipulating a record on a turntable to make music). Like this practice session between Qbert and DStyles, Mike cutting it up, or Shortkut doing his legendary strobe beat juggling technique.

Still not convinced? You never saw "Scratch" did you?

Anyway, in this "I" for "Invisible Skratch Piklz" i decided to put in some Filipino tattoo designs from old archival photos and my imagination. Top that off with a roman numeral-esk letter I and 3D like a graff piece and there you have it. A word on scratching, when i first saw "Juice" in 1992 my mind was blown and for the next ten years I dedicated countless hours searching for records, scratching, buying equipment and vinyl, one piece at a time. ISP=Jazz (to me).

I've had the chance to scratch with Q and I can tell you that these dudes along with countless others from the Bay Area spawned generations of turntablists because they shared what they knew. Q is still teaching last I checked. Much respect.

Reading Short Stories at 826 Valencia

Last week I had the chance to go speak to some beautiful little ones over at 826 Valencia st and 18th in The Mission District of San Francisco. I had never heard of the organization until the homie Raul J. Alcantar asked me to come through and speak to the kids. I arrived to a beautifully written "welcome" sign and got the sign from the ancestors that this is definitely part of what I need to be doing.
The day was part workshop and part reading as i showed them photos of my art, my sketchbooks, and some original paintings of some of the short stories. I love talking with this age group (mostly 3rd-5th grade) because they still laugh at my bad jokes, smile, and are not yet so serious. I did call and response with them, drew our names in graffiti styles, and answered a bunch of questions. The funnest part was reading the stories. I have written words for all of them, but I don't know them by heart so I usually just improvise with the basic storyline. And it came out great, they flipped through my books, and pointed to drawings with giggles. And one little boy stopped me mid sentence raising his hand to say "you're art is COOL!". Ha! me? Really? Child approval is the best!

 826 is an national organization that promotes literacy by teaching writing, story making, and book publishing workshops for ages 7-18. They had an amazing array of stories, zines, and books published by the babies! They're words, so simple, yet so right on. As I finished Raul handed me a gift bag with some of their short stories (english/and spanish). Pure awesomeness as I read their stories about the first time they ate tres leches cake.

The walls of the writing workshop were also adorned with awards and photos of the children who put in the most effort with their writing, giving other children the extra push to improve theirs so that they too could get on the wall. I got to meet the Executive director, the staff, and I found out they have branches in Los Angeles , Brooklyn, Seattle, Boston, DC, and Chicago. Hopefully i'll be able to take my son's school there, if you have some youth who are interested in telling their story, i highly recommend it.

And did i mention that each location has a different themed store in the front? The SF (founding branch) is a freaking Pirate Store! How cool is that? A little girl named Camila gave me a tour of the ship, stopping to tell me "I'm in this book". I said "So then you're published then, huh?" To which she replied, "Yeah, I guess so". Rob smiling....
If you know of an author or illustrator who knows how to handle his or herself around little ones please hit up the man Raul and let him know.
I'm proud to say that my visit is the second of its kind after the great writer Luis J. Rodriguez!!! Wow, can there be more adventures like this on the horizon? -Rob

24.3.12

Jeff Andrade Duncan drops science.....Again!

I got to hear Jeff Andrade speak in person once while teaching at a high school in East Oakland two years ago. There have been times when I forgot his exact name but I never forgot how "challenging" and "intelligent" his ideas were in terms of teaching children of color. After a rough day of failing, making some small strides, and failing again in teaching "something"I think every single teacher has had the feeling that they are "getting no where" or "this isn't working". And on the flip side , they must also feel "I got their attention", or even better "they got my attention". Some kind of dialogue/exchange over forcing them to "hear" you. Deep.

18.3.12

Mike Dream (RIP) Exhibit

This Saturday I got a chance to speak with my sister Cece Carpio about the legacy of resistance art, what we do with Trust Your Struggle and what effect Dream's art had on us as young artists and as adults today. Folks from The Filipino Community Center, East Side Arts Alliance, The Estria Foundation, and many more were also there speaking about this brother's legacy. Photos are from the exhibit in San Francisco, CA at the Manila Town Heritage center . It is an amazing exhibit detailing one of the Bay Area's pioneers in Graffiti art. if you have young people who are interested in Graffiti, and you want to contrast that with a message I highly suggest the show. Here is an article about it

Character 28

14.3.12

Some art up in Brooklyn

Hey all my nyc folks, come through if you can check it out. A few of my short stories from this blog will be up there. Brooklyn!!

6.3.12

Sa Pilipinas Fundraiser+Video (TYS+Water Writes)


So this Friday The Water Writes project, The Trust Your Struggle Collective, and many other orgs will be presenting a small art fundraiser for Typhoon victims in The Philippines. There weill be art for sale, music, performances, and I'm thinking about doing henna or doing custom nail painting. What say you ladies, or fellas too if you're into painting your nails.  Seriously, check out all the folks donating their time. And read what Bambu had to say about the Typhoon under "data dump".

Annd Check out this "Beautipul" (Filipino accent) video from the Palawan mural my crew painted out in the Philippines this past summer. Incredible wall, crew, family, support, faces, etc.

#WaterWrites Philippines Mural with Trust Your Struggle from Estria Foundation on Vimeo.

4.3.12

Typography 19-Poncho Sanchez (Congas)

I have the DJ Jesse Chuy Varela out here at KCSM The Bay Area's Jazz station to thank for putting me on to "Poncho". Every time he ends his Sunday Latin jazz show he plays a cut featuring Poncho with Clare Fischer called "Morning". Love that song! But, Poncho has so many records and I have a lot to learn about his catalog. Here's a few I like "Besame Mama" , Night Walk, and his version of "Night in Tunisia"

Jazz Portraits 20- Nujabes (Beats)


I think the first time I recall hearing brother Nujabes name was from a track he did with Queens MC Apani B Fly Emcee. I am still largely new to his work and his legacy as a pivotal person in Japanese Hip Hop. But I want to say that songs like OmnipresenceBattle Cry, and Another Reflection?! Wow, rest in peace brother, your music lives on.

2.3.12

Collage of Switch Plates (Love+Light)

Here are a few Switch Plates I've made over the past year and a half since I decided to get back into painting these. The process of painting these is always fun to do in pairs, which is why there are usually two per color combination. There were many more i did, which I usually gave away as gifts to close friends.; the rest were sold.

The idea of getting back into painting these was an artistic release. So much of my work is focused on figures, scenery, and typography. Painting these allows me to do none of that and all of it. Over the years there have been many close friends of mine kept the switch plates i painted for them years ago. I'm honored. Here's to a little love and light at the flip of a switch. Peace.
-Rob