13.8.18

Short story 23 - Record store


On Sunday Papa and I walked to the record store. I never seen him so happy to go to a store before. He kept whistling and smiling. Then he turned to me and said 
 "When I was a kid, your Grandpa would bring me here. It's like a library of sounds from all over the world!". 

This illustration of a father and son walking is special because Amoeba Records in Berkeley was and still is a haven for weird sound lovers like me. I walked there from Berkeley High at lunch weekly looking for new and old hip hop records, samples, drum breaks, and jazz albums. It is a cultural landmark. And although I've been to the SF and LA locations, Berkeley is home. Go if you haven't been recently and see what you can find to pull you away from your screen. Have you been to Amoeba in Berkeley? What's the last thing you bought there?

It has been almost 4 years since I completed a "short story". And i've worked on so many children's books and art projects since then which is part of why I paused them. I started working on these to practice my writing and illustration. 

Character 145 - Dad's who dig

This one is for my Dads or fathers who dig, especially my vinyl junkies. I took my son to the record store a few times and although he wasn't as excited as I was, I'm happy I got to do that. I will leave my records for him one day. Is there a record that comes to mind when you first started digging? Did your parents take you to look for music at record store, swap meet, convention, or thrift store? Who is a dad you know of that still digs?

The LP the dad is holding is a remix of the record "TAXI" by Sly & Robbie; a record I grew up hearing in the house.

Type Musical 11 - Percussion

Another exercise with type and music. Percussion! The drum! It is a guide, a map, a language, and a heartbeat. The drum or percussion is so integral to the roots of all music. The first memory I have of a drum was at the Berkeley flea market. Every weekend a drum circle would form right alongside the vendors and community. Have you ever played a drum before? A timbal, conga, turntable, or snare? Do you know a drummer? Someone who programs beats?

11.8.18

Character 144 - Stereo

How many of you had a stacked stereo system like this in your home growing up? Mine was similar to this, with a turntable for playing records, a cassette deck, and an amplifier. Parents had an eclectic record collection underneath too. What was your favorite to listen to from your parents collection of music (cd, tape, or vinyl)? 

2.8.18

Inspiration board 30

Some inspirations on my mind for the past 6 months, from top to bottom, left to right.
1. Arlan Hamilton-First Black woman to start and run a successful venture capitalist firm 2. Art of Alex Ross 3. Journalist extraordinaire Nikole Hannah Jones 4. Ghost-written by Jason Reynolds 5. From Far Away - Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar 6. Legendary house music producer Larry Heard 7. Art of Little Red House/ Aggie Cheung 8. By Chance or Providence - Becky Cloonan 9. Etsy Conversations Podcast for business 10. Genevieve Santos- Incredible artist/ entrepreneur (Thx Nidhi!) 11. Black Thought vs 9th Wonder - Streams of Thought 12. Jessica Jones - Netflix/Marvel show 13. Benny Doesn't Like to be Hugged - Zetta Elliott picture book about an autistic boy 14. Dani Diez- Illustrator 15. The Feminist on Cellblock Y- CNN Documentary 16. Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap LP

31.7.18

Type Musical 10 - Lyrics

Lyrics are important. Sometimes its all about the vibe for sure, but it is a hell of a thing when you can nod to it and feel it in your heart. Is there a recent song lyric that you can't get out of your head? What do you sing, chant, or rap when you're riding? Was feeling this opening line: 

"Fuck a story arc if it don't involve no matriarch" - Ruby Ibarra

Character 143 - Boombox

Never had a huge boom box, but I used to sort my cassettes for the bus ride, and later the car ride. Did you have a boom box like this? Remember when you would tune to the radio to hear that certain show? Its a trip that you can walk around with something just as loud now that is the size of your shoe. What song would you play on a box right now? I'd play the instrumental to "money shot" by Curren$y.

Type Musical 9 - Harmony

Chords, soothing beats, and sounds that fit together is what this word means to me when it comes to music. Almost all genres use it, but my favorite is soul. 

27.7.18

Character 142 - Digging for 45's

Everyone digs and digging just means falling down the rabbit hole or looking for more of an item , topic, or feeling. This is of a very young lady digging for records, specifically 45's. You know, those small 7" records that usually have one song on each side. Singles! I used to dig for records. In fact, I started leaving my high school at lunchtime to go dig at Amoeba and Rasputin's in Berkeley around the age of 15. I'd usually dig because I didn't have much to spend and the deals or bargains were sometimes hard to find. When is the last time you went digging? For records, shoes, toys, heels, an insurance agent?

25.7.18

Type Musical 8 - Vinyl

I grew up with records, and I hope that my son will remember me playing them. Some of the first records I remember were in my parents house. Sade, MDK, Public Enemy, The Clash, Fela Kuti, Steel Pulse, an odd mix. The first record I ever purchased with my own money was "Bus Stops" by the Nonce (I'd purchased tapes up until that point). What was your first vinyl record? 

Character 141 - Pulling Speakers

I was a bedroom DJ who still loves music. I bought my first 1200 at 15 or so. I remember lugging equipment around to teach young people the little I knew about mixing, scratching, and hip hop history. To my DJs out there, do you remember the first time you bought a turntable, carried a speaker, or a crate to your first gig?

23.7.18

Type Musical 7 - Play that beat

"Play that beat, why don't you play it for me? Play it! Kick it!" This is an old song from GLOBE and Whiz Kid. I was thinking about some of the first beats that mesmerized me, who made them, and if they still rock today. One of the first beats that made me take notice was "If it ain't ruff, it ain't me" by Dr Dre on the legendary Straight Outta Compton. The guitar sample and bass was so simple yet hypnotic. Another one was "I want to be free" by the legendary Ant Banks because of the samples and the live instruments on it. First time I heard it (on tape) was in a box chevy w/ my cousin Mook and the homie Jerome. In this day in age, who is making beats that really makes you ask "who made that?" Who makes you rewind it back?

Character 140 - Youth Sound

Here's a thought. The sound of the youth is different. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I don't like it at all. But the only constant is change. What they do has to be different in some way. What I pay attention to is the way they dance to it, the happiness or confidence that comes through. No matter what they (the youth) do they have echoes of the previous generations. What song are you or were you excited to play for your child? For me, most recently it was Paris-the devil made me do it. In the past it was Jimi Hendrix.

21.7.18

Type Musical 6 - Turn it up!

I want you to tell the sound man, sound woman, or sound person to turn it up! What was the first concert you attended when you felt the music you loved? For me, I think one of the first times I really felt the bass, treble, and force in my ears and body was at a 1989 Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation Tour show in Oakland California. The next time would be a show put on by the Live Lyricists Society at Berkeley High School. Whenever I hear "turn it up" I hear the Fantastic Five MC's from the 1982 film Wild Style.

Character 139 - Listening

Did you ever fall asleep to a favorite record or album? Or was it a mix? I can remember spending hours listening to music; pouring over the liner notes.

19.7.18

Character 138 - Walkman

Walkman flavor for you. I remember getting my tapes ready for the bus ride. I had them all rewound to the beginning so I could hear the whole album. Did you have a walkman?

18.7.18

Character 137 - Purple headphones

That feeling when the music puts you at peace. Do you remember listening to music for hours without even glancing at a computer or phone? I do!! What is your favorite record that you own, or record your parents owned?

17.7.18

Furqan UPDATE 24 - More New stores 2018

Estellita's Library - Seattle, WA

Boogie Down Books - Bronx, NYC

Burning Books - Buffalo, NY

Kweli's Book Club (Formerly Nkiru Books) - Online/ Brooklyn, NYC

Libro Mobile - Santa Ana, CA
specializing in bilingual/ spanish books

Quimby's Books - Chicago, IL

Vroman's - Pasadena (LA) California

So, thank goodness for independent bookstores. If you are in Chicago, NYC, Seattle, or Los Angeles here are some spots you can get Furqan's First Flat Top from. If you must get books for someone or a specific book, order it from your local bookstore. Yes it costs more than Amazon, but the money you spend helps fund your local economy and give your city access to knowledge, community events, and more. Please visit or buy from these stores. #SupportIndependentBookstores

Shout out to Nia King of the Queer & Trans artists of color series for recommending stores!

14.7.18

Photo: Bay Area Book Festival

This is me talking on a panel with Maya Gonzalez , Aida Salazar, Jennifer Torres, Hearher Robertson-Devine, and moderated by Maceo Cabrera-Estevez ( Booklandia),
Photo by Xilo Photography

10.7.18

Video - People's Kitchen Collective


Me and my wife volunteered to help with PKC’s mission. Her, much more than me, taking the lead on cooking for hundreds of people. Super proud to work with these homies and all the good people who came to help and eat! Follow the Peoples Kitchen Collective here. Also, my crew Trust Your Struggle volunteered some artwork to be printed along with several other artists which you can see in the video.

9.7.18

Video: Larry Herd (house music)


Growing up, I did not know Black folks invented house music. I only know a few songs here and there but "Can you feel it" is one of the best songs i've heard! Props to Larry Heard.

5.7.18

When She Rises - LA Sparc

If you're in the LA area please come through to this amazing show of ladies rocking all types of styles from Graffiti, photography, design, illustration, fine art, to activism. Its in Venice California on the west side of LA. See you there. More info here. Check out the line up curated by Erin Yoshi of TYS and When She Rises.


2.7.18

LA Book Reading @ Mi Vida Shop


Hey, if you're in or around the Los Angeles area I'm doing a book reading at Mi Vida in Highland Park this coming Sunday. All ages are welcome! Come thru w/your babies for storytime and feel free to bring young budding illustrators/writers to ask questions about book making! And the homie DJ Spinorita will be playing music, so come support small local biz.The homie Oree brought me to this store back in 2010 and I loved their selection of kids books (curated by Sol, formerly of Imix Books) featuring latinx and bilingual stories. The store also has some great clothes, locally made art, and mo.

Facebook event link

Store Link: www.shopmivida.com

27.6.18

Keep Families Together

  • So, they're separating brown families again. As someone who works actively with and for children I'm furious! Enraged actually. But, here are some ways you can do to fight back if u disagree with separating children from their families and traumatizing them for life. 1. Don't turn away. Look, see it, research it, get informed. Make art about it!! Art cuts through the BS. 2. Go to a protest, there have been many recently. There u can connect w/others who also disagree and are organizing against the US Govt racist policies. Don't believe the hype, protest is a powerful tactic 3. Support organizations who support migrants and refugees 4. Call, email, write your congress member in your state. If you're in Cali that's Barbara Lee 5. Donate funds to organizations doing the work such as @conmijente @grassroots_leadership (feel free to tag some here and I'll add to the post) 6. Peep the context. The US has been separating children of color (Black, lndigenous, Latino, Asian) from their families for centuries. It is not about law and legality it is about racism, white supremacy, theft, money, and power 

13.6.18

Photos from Akonadi

Davey D, Joshua Mays, Janine Macbeth, and myself
Davey D, Joshua Mays, Janine Macbeth, and myself

Me, Janine, and Josh

Me and Janine Macbeth

My son and my wife



Josh, Vanessa Camarena, Ashara Ekundayo, Renee Geesler (Akonadi/ Mamacitas), Davey, George Galvis (Curyj), Janine Macbeth, Gina Acebo, Renee's daughter and a few other folks I don't know.

Here are some photos from a panel discussion with artists Joshua Mays, Janine Macbeth, and myself with journalist Davey D from Hard Knock Radio. Josh, Janine, and myself all contributed artwork to the Akonadi's racial justice poster project

You can watch the talk here from their facebook 

Big shout out to Renee, Gina, Vanessa, and Lateefah from Akonadi and all the staff for putting on this event. Photos by Jean Melesaine

Children's Portrait 50-51 - Camilo & Dezi

Here is one of brothers Dezi and Camilo. Don't remember getting too much information about these two, but they're super cute kids.

If you're interested in getting a portrait painted of your child please check out my store.

12.6.18

Children's portrait 49 - Eva


This is a painting of a dear friend's daughter. She has a tradition in her family of getting portraits painted of daughters and/or children in her family. I'm honored to be the artist for this young one Eva who is Asian, European American, and Brazilian. For this painting I got to go a bit larger. The painting is 18" x 24" and I got it framed!

Would you like a custom portrait painted? Please check out this link for my store.





Children's portrait 48- Alejandra

Can't remember this young lady's background other than that she's a mixed latina. But she really likes Wonder Woman and wanted herself painted in her halloween costume, plus some of the newer WW symbols from the film. Super cute kid with curly hair!

Would you like a custom portrait painted? Please check out this link for my store.

10.6.18

Daddy Thoughts 16 - 8th grade grad feelings

It's June 7th and I'm pulling my car out of our garage to drive my son to school. I almost hit a car passing by. The dude driving mugs both me and my son. I cautiously throw up my hand, as if to say "my bad" and it was my bad. My mind was going. I was super nervous and I just wanted to do my best to make the day go over as smoothly as possible. I don't think that was quite what happened, but he graduated. We were there to witness it, to hug him, take photos, cry a little bit (I did) and to just marvel at the fact that he completed an experimental spanish immersion program starting in kindergarten nine years ago. Out of 40 families that started the journey (Black, White, Latino, Asian) only 12 stayed and finished. Now bilingual education is making an impact on parents of all types and there is a huge waiting list to get into my son's Oakland Public School. We dressed up a bit and we all prepared mentally to celebrate him. There were lots of feelings. I had a lot of emotional moments throughout the week.

A couple of things. Every time my child has crossed a milestone I feel a sense of pride, joy, nervousness, and a wave of emotions that are hard to describe. Add to that, the fact that I am co-parenting him with his mother and my wife is very much involved. I get a lot of help from my mother and step father too. There are times when I marvel at this beautiful child who I watched go from a crib to an air plane. Each time he changes I am reminded of how beautiful and tough life is for all of us and the unfathomable forces we all have been supported by or have faced in order to still breathe at this moment. It is a universe, country, state, city, home, school, extra-curricular activities, parents, friends, teachers, strangers, and a village that raise us.

For the past two years me and his mother have worked out a co-parenting deal because we no longer live in the same state and city. He has been with me and my wife for two years straight, only visiting his mother on holiday breaks and summer. Now, the tables are about to turn. He's going to live with his mom for two years and then he will visit us during breaks. This has been tough on him, but I'll come back to that.

His mom was coming in for the graduation and while I think there are some very top notch communicating co-parents who are buddies, we are not. In fact, I think we have both tried to keep it strictly business. Grades, logistics, checking in about the kids growth, and definitely discussing and sometimes arguing about what is best for him and our feelings about this or that. We have an agreement on paper, but we make each other uncomfortable at times. So that was on my mind. Also, the relationship between my son's mother and my wife is also not one of friends. Although, I have met co-parents who are, we are not there. We may never be. Because I talk to dads, moms, and ask questions I know it is possible to be very good friends with each other, and each other's partners or significant others. We do our best.

I also had some dad duties to do as always. His school was having a dinner the night before graduation which entailed not only bringing food, but helping to create an art piece that would celebrate the 8th grade class. I don't think I properly understood just how much hard work my parents endured for me or how much they sacrificed, juggled, and managed to make sure I was taken care of until I became a dad. And this week has been a lot of that, making sure I think and plan ahead to help celebrate him and his class mates. I love him and would do all of the planning, painting, ordering food, transporting of items, etc again. But, I'm glad that is done. Before this week, he also recently went on a camping trip. 4 days without me, his mom, my wife, grandparents,etc. Just teachers. At first he asked me to go with him on the trip. Then, as he started to feel more confident, he told me to stay behind. It made me kind of proud. Happy even, that he felt safe with his teachers and that he wanted to travel on his own.

I'm going to miss him when he's gone. I have had him so I don't yet know what its like to not have him. To not be able to cook him breakfast, walk to school, take him to this or that practice, to go to the library, make sure he knows his family, my friends, and is exposed to cool shit. Sure, he spends time with his grandmother and my step father regularly but I feel a deep sense of sadness when he's gone for awhile. And, I have to remind myself of how he feels. How he is trying to connect with his mom over a smart phone. Its tough and at the end of two years I know he misses her a lot. I know I'm going to cry when I take him to the airport. So, that thought was there this week and will be with me until he goes.

Another nervous point was trying to organize a dinner with my wife, son, mom, step dad, and my son's mother. It was tough, awkward, frustrating, and I don't think I'll be doing it again. I don't want to put him through it, and neither me or my wife want to go through it. Co-parenting is hard. You have to be an adult. You have to communicate clearly. You have to put your child first and think what is going to be the best I can do for him, her, or them. Thinking of him, I just try my best to assure him that he is loved. That its ok to be nervous, (I think I'm more nervous than he was), and that I (we) are all extremely proud of him. He graduated with a 3.8 GPA (Amazing!) and had near straight A's the whole year. He tested into a new high school (top 90%). And he is an awesome kid.

This week's nervousness, butterflies, and frustration is fading away as he spends time with my mother and step father. Before he goes I get a chance to celebrate his birthday with my wife and our community and I'm grateful for that. High school is up next.


4.6.18

Nipsey Hussle - Double Up (inspiration)


Been listening to this on repeat and really feeling the sentiment behind it, the beat, and both Nipsey and Dom's verses.

Stuff I've been listening to - 11

Gavlyn -Needs (LA) Black Milk - Laugh now, cry later (Detroit) Ruby Ibarra - Us (San Lorenzo,CA) Jean Grae & Quelle Chris- Gold, purple, orange (NYC) Iman Omari- Move too fast (LA) Allmos (Stuyvesants) - Aromas Naturalle DJ Harrison- Piano Jazz (Virginia)

1.6.18

Story time print - 1

Hey good peoples, I just finished working on this new one. Hope to make more than one with this style and/or color combination. Thought of making a poster for folks who regularly read to children. I was listening to an interview with writer/actor Lena Waithe so thats how the reader got a few pieces of her. Hope you like it. If you want one for your spot check out the store link.


Bookmarks 1-4

Peace, just wanted to share these in case you have missed them. Bookmarks featuring children of color!!! Please share. I started working on these awhile back. At first I recycled an older image, then it was so well received I painted some more specifically for these book marks. This is for kids who love reading, or hate it. It’s for teachers, librarians, and book store owners. It is for english speaking and spanish speakers. If you would like one, or a pack of 10 or 30 for a group check out my store. More coming soon. Peace! 
-Rob

24.5.18

Libro Mobile - Santa Ana

Check out this campaign to assist in the creation and sustainability of a Latinx owned Bookstore in Santa Ana California that specializes in bilingual books, books in spanish, and books about Latinxs, Raza, etc. Please share and support.
 LINK

23.5.18

Bookmark 4 - LEER


Check it out, this is my 4th bookmark featuring a Latinx boy. He could be from Central America, the caribbean, Mexico, or the US. This is another bookmark for all my bilingual educators and students out there. 


Selfie - Kalakari

Hey, check me out with this new hat by the homie Nisha K Sembi. You can cope one at Kalakari.

Reading- Multicultural Children's Bookstore Richmond

Hey yall, this Saturday I'll be reading with author Angela Dalton (If you look up to the sky) at the new West County Reads "Multicultural Children's Bookstore" at Hilltop Mall in Richmond California. If you're around,bring your children to the reading and check out the store, it has one of the most diverse collections of children's books in the Bay Area.

Yoga prints!

Here are some illustrations of children of color doing yoga that I painted this year. It seems simple but a yoga teacher asked me to illustrate one image and it inspired me to do more of kids doing some poses. If you are a yoga teacher and can make use of these, here are some prints of these images. I will be illustrating more as the year progresses. Click the link to see what other prints I have.