Muphoric Sounds Throwback

For those of you unaware, I love music. A lot. I started buying my own tapes at 9 or 10, then at age 14 I moved on to vinyl. These days I don't buy that music but I still listen to new cats. For more than 8 years I wrote short pieces for a music blog started by Vanessa Warren called Muphoric Sounds. I started two columns; "In the trunk" about old records of every genre and "Press Rewind" about instrumental beats. If you started checking out my work recently and dig music, go check out some of the pieces I wrote.

Here are four:

Los Orientales De Paramonga- Botecito Cumbia
Funkdoobiest/ Buckwild- Rock On remix Hip hop
Marcos Valle-Nao tem nada nao Funk
Curtis Mayfield-Kung Fu Funk

Occasionally I wrote about stuff I liked that was new at the time too, like this.

Keepers of The Game Documentary

Great film, just watched this. A great story about sports, women's empowerment, self confidence, colonization, and Native American traditions. I definitely recommend watching it!

Graphic Novels ARE Books Print

Yo! Just finished this piece. You can cop a print HERE.

I have heard many times adults and others put down Graphic novels as if they are not a valid form of literature and I refute that claim. I believe graphic novels to be not just a gateway into reading for some people but I huge force to be reckoned with. This print came about because I wanted to remind adults, teachers, librarians, parents, and kids themselves to read more Graphic Novels! I want to advocate for these stories as books. I want them used in elementary, jr and high schools, college, and more to read for fun and to learn. Don't let anyone tell you that graphic novels are not real books. They are and they are a powerful way to tell a story.


Sam! first review

Hey, just saw our first review for the book me and author Dani Gabriel created for Penny Candy Books. Check it out, as it talks about two other children's books that feature stories with LGBTQ stories. Shout out to the homie Bao Phi!!


ACLU Annual Report 2018

Check it out, some more artwork for the Northern California chapter of the ACLU. A few take aways to notice are that in an annual report you have vital information about how an organization did its job. In this report you'll find data on that and short pieces on education equity, voting rights, civil rights, lgbtq rights, immigration, and more. 

Here are some more process art.

If you're pissed about a particular thing a city, state, school, president is doing I implore you to seek out an organization who is supporting what you believe in and contribute your time, money, and/or support to them. Get angry and get active, the institutions who fight for our rights need as much help as they can get. Doesn't have to be the ACLU, could be your local organization, gallery, you get the point.


Sam! Book Release in El Cerrito

Hey! The first book release party for Sam! is coming. On Tuesday September 17th in El Cerrito California (North of Berkeley/Oakland) me and author Dani Gabriel will be sharing this incredible story with you. Please bring your children, family, and book lover friends to hang. I look forward to seeing you.

For more info about the book please visit Penny Candy Books

Here is the link for the Bk Release Location

Story time Print pack

Hey, I've been working ion this series of "Story time" posters for over a year with the intent to illustrate children and families of color reading to a child or children. I hope that this artwork is useful to your classroom, home, office, or library. Keep reading to the babies!

Story time poster pack LINK


Bookmark pack

Hey, if you'd like a pqck of all the bookmarks i've made so far please cop. You can get a set of 15, 25, 75, or 100. 


Panilla's Journey- Middle grade book cover

Hey I came up with the cover artwork for this project about 2-3 years ago. This collaborative middle grade story was a joy to illustrate. Naru is one of the Bay Area's hip hop pioneers who I saw perform as a kid. He and his daughter wrote this story together and he is making it into a physical book. You want one? Want to hear about the story? Click this LINK.

Check out some of the artwork process below as I take it from doodle to finished painting and design.


Flashback: Boombox

This is a really old piece I made of a boombox using watercolor when I was just learning it over 20 years ago. As I have been working on some recent music inspired pieces I wanted to share something I made in that same vein many years ago.

Here are some recent/old music inspired art you might of missed:
Roy Ayers Portrait
Andrew Ashong portrait
Drum print


#SafetyIs Ella Baker Center

Yo, I was invited to contribute poster artwork to Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), a national event held on the first week in August where people across the country come together to redefine what #SafetyIs: dignity, opportunity, and power in our communities.

NOSL is an annual event created by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and their goal is to change the conversation about public safety to be less focused on fear, punishment, and criminalization.

You can see the posters from past years’ events here.

Here's some process artwork!


1200 - Music Inspired

The first time I bought a Technics 1200 turntable it was with money I'd earned working and from birthdays, etc. I had saved up enough and got help from my parents to get a used one from my local pawn shop and I was so excited I just started at it. It would take me a good while to save up for the second one and a mixer but eventually I got them. And I gave up drawing and painting for awhile in lieu of teaching myself mixing, scratching, beat juggling, and how to find records and sounds. I had to sell my turntables as a young dad in my late 20s but I've never forgotten the feel of these. They were sturdy, heavy, and solid machines that could take hours and hours of practice and keep on going. Did you ever own a Technics 1200 table? Still have some? This is another music inspired joint!

Want a print of this? Go HERE

Here is some more music inspired art you might have missed:
Trumpet Illustration
Sha Rock Portrait
Play That Beat Typography


Shekere - Music Inspired

This is a Shekere which is a West African musical instrument used in both African and Latin American music. It is traditionally a gourd that is dried out then scooped of its insides until it is hollow. Then cowry shells or beads are woven around the gourd and when it is shaken the beads or cowries hitting against the gourd make a percussive noise. Here's an demo where you hear the shekere.

You can get a print of this here: LINK

If you're just tuning in, i'm doing a series of music inspired artwork. Here are some recent and old ones you might have missed:
Drum Illustration
Patrice Rushen Portrait
Memphis Minnie Character


Purple Trumpet: Music Inspired

Music is the weapon I kept thinking of as I finished this. I almost wrote a word across the trumpet but I'm glad I didn't. Anyways, the trumpet is a dope instrument in so many different genres; afro beat, salsa, jazz, ska, etc. What is a song you like that has trumpets in it? 

If you'd like a print of this, it's HERE.

Here's some other music inspired art:
Guru Portrait
Dad's who dig Character Design

Stuff I've been listening to - 13

Feeling this vibe from IAMDDB. Loved this rap from KOTA, so much more interesting that what most of these rappers are saying over and over aqain. Watch out for this dude.

Oldie, I borrowed this one from an old friend and loved this particular song so much.

Muhsinah is an incredible producer/vocalist who had major popularity around the late 2000's. She now tours with Common I believe. Check out her old stuff-still hits.Like this one. I wrote about this song a long time ago for Muphorcic Sounds. And I still love it. It just defies genre so well, so many styles mixed in. Soul, hip hop, Salsa, Cuban, etc. Wild International! This is old too but i'm still playing it, remixed by Oddisee. Shout out to the people of Sudan fighting for their freedom from an oppressive regime!

So, every few months, sometimes once a year I post some music or podcasts I listen to because I love it so why not share? I hope you dig some of what you hear. Pass it on. It leans toward hip hop mostly, but there's some house, soul, jazz, funk, cumbia, afrobeat, and more in there....Here is:
Stuff I've been listening to 12
Stuff I've been listening to 11

Purple Headphones: Music Inspired

Hey, continuing with this series of music. When I think of the inspiration for this I think of those that remember riding or walking around with some headphones and a walkman, CD, or MP3 player just playing some dope music. The feeling of curating your ride to school or work, or just really getting all your songs ready for a road trip. It's that feeling of being still and playing music that makes you come alive. That kind of love.

You want a print of this? Cop it HERE.

Here are some others you missed:
Drum Print
Pharoah Sanders Portrait
Zach De La Rocha Quote


Video: Conversation w/ Aaliyah Bilal

A Conversation: Aaliyah Bilal and Robert Liu-Trujillo from Aaliyah Bilal on Vimeo.

So if you didn't the previous post I made about Cloud Country please go back and check that out. I have been working on a graphic novel with writer Aaliyah Bilal for over two years. This is a brief conversation we had in LA filmed by Halline Overby. Stay tuned for more information about this project and please go to the website for the book HERE.


Drum: Music Inspired

Check it out, here's a new joint inspired by music, the drum specifically. The world of music comes from this right here. This is part of a new series for fun. If you didn't catch the last one check out the Orange keys.

You want a print? LINK

And if you'd like to see some more music inspired art check out:
Dorothy Ashby portrait
Melody Type
Jneiro Jarel portrait

Orange Keys - Music Inspired

This is not the first time I've made some artwork inspired by music. But I thought I'd do some new music inspired artwork. This one is inspired by the piano, keys, etc. I painted it with gouache. You want a print? Here it is:


Here are some old music inspired artwork:
Boombox character Design
Esperanza Spalding Type
Donald Byrd Portrait


Klassy - Power Trip

Check out this dope video by Klassy that touches on immigration, police, and the prison industrial complex (money making).

Life is Living 2019 coming up

Possibility is a theme i can get with. Mark your calendars for Life is Living 2019 on October 12th! Stay tuned to Youth Speaks site for details LINK.


Story time print - 4

It's been a minute since I made some new merchandise so here's something new. This is the fourth in a series of "Story time" posters. This one features my wife and daughter as models sitting in a chair reading.

You can cop this new one HERE

Check out: 
Story time print ONE
Story time print TWO
Story time print THREE


Vweto 2 - Georgia Anne Muldrow

Georgia has done it again. This LP of instrumentals and beats is funky, cosmic, sticky, and vibrating. Definitely support this sister as she sings, raps, and makes beats. Listening to it feels like an entire film score.


Photo: Vallejo Juneteenth!

Here's a recent photo of me by Vallejo Community Access TV. I was vending at the Vallejo California Juneteenth festival. Met some great folks. Its always nice to bring the books to people and see what people are feeling. If you want any of the stuff you see here you can cop it from my Etsy page.


Hana on Stage: Writing

This is a project I finished almost a year ago as a freelance writer. This is my first time working as a freelance writer for children's literature outside of writing my own picture books. I was invited by Sandhya Nankani of Literary Safari who worked with Benchmark Education to create an opportunity for more writers and illustrators of color. The result is a series of stories. This one is a story for kids around 3rd grade.  It's about a mixed kid (of course) who is Latinx/Asian and her name is Hana Dominguez. This was a fun experience and I really enjoyed working with editor Alicia Zadrozny and Eileen Robinson. Here is the synopsis:

Hana Dominguez has a knack for building things. While planning to build a stage for her cat, Purple, she stumbles upon the idea of performing herself. Will Hana be able to take center stage in her local theater's musical revue?

Shout out to Mirelle Ortega beautifully illustrated the book with a great sense of color and composition.

Get a copy HERE


Transfinite: Neelu Bhuman

Hey folks, I made some illustrations for this film "Transfinite" by Neelu Bhuman. This is by far one of the hardest illustration projects I've ever worked or collaborated on. This is the fourth independent film I've worked on after Holding on to Jah, A Journey to Understanding, and America's Shadows. Film requires vision, patience, communication, and a huge amount of team work.

Transfinite is a sci-fi omnibus feature film composed of seven standalone short stories where supernatural trans and queer people from various cultures use their powers to protect, love, teach, fight, and thrive.

I did many many illustrations , characters, and scenes for Transfinite and the individual/collective pieces were animated by artist Pamela Chavez! If you're in the Bay and want to see this film go here and cop tickets.

If you're in other parts of the world, please visit this LINK and get ready for the premiere near you. Support Trans filmmakers of color!!!


Vallejo Juneteenth Festival -Saturday 15th

Hey, if you're in the North Bay Area come through to the 31st annual Vallejo Juneteenth Fest!
 I'll be there selling books, art prints, and more. Here is the website
for more information.


Flip the Record-Trailer

FLIP THE RECORD Teaser Trailer from Marie Jamora on Vimeo.
This is a dope short film. If you love hip hop, DJ culture, and/or female empowerment check this out.

Sausal Creek 9- Reading at Mills K-5

Here's a shot of me and author Melissa Reyes reading at Mills Elementary school. We were invited by a fellow teacher and had a blast talking to the kids about the book, Oakland history, and nature. The kids actually were taken on a field trip to Sausal Creek in Dimond Park so they had lots of questions and comments. Follow Mills on Instagram for more photos.

Melissa Reyes also has a website for her healing, doula, and kids books work called Remedios!


Cloud Country w/ Aaliyah Bilal

So, I've been working on this project for over two years now. Aaliyah Bilal is a writer from Washington DC who has lived and worked in China for over 15 years. She is a creative writer working in fiction and non fiction. The story we've been working on is loosely based on her experiences there. Y'all, graphic novels are hard af. I started this project making so many rookie mistakes even though I've read and studied many graphic novels for years. And I've been drawing forever. Still, the language of comics and graphic novels is much more challenging than I could ever imagine and I have so much more respect for folks who make them.

That said, this project is a labor of love. Me and Aaliyah have been corresponding, meeting, and sharing artwork and writing back and forth for awhile. If you'd like to read an excerpt from the book please go to the website LINK and check it out. Browse the work and check out Aaliyah and my websites. Stay tuned for more.

Check out Aaliyah:

Aaliyah Bilal in China from Aaliyah Bilal on Vimeo.


Inspiration board 32

Here's my latest inspiration board. I keep various places of inspiration so that when I'm stuck or unsure I can find something that makes me want to keep going. I invite you to investigate any of these that look interesting to you and "remain creative" as painter Malik Seneferu always says.

From top to bottom, left to right they are: 1. R+R=Now (Robert Glasper's new group), 2. BOSS-Firelight media film about the history of Black owned business 3. The Might Grand Piton by the Line Animation 4. Nipsey Hussle- This was a great interview he did before he was killed on Hot 97 5. Alberto Mielgo- Painter 6. Black Girls Do Bike-A cyclist group 7. Trail of Lightning-Book by Rebecca Roanhorse 8. Gleo- Muralist 9. Jake Morrison - Illustrator 10. Anderson .Paak- Ventura 11. Coach Nym - Healthy Gangsta LP 12. Mo Amer - Netflix comedy special 13. Cleo Sol - British Singer 14. I Was There When House Took Over the World - Music Documentary 15. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland 16. DJ Chairman Mao with his son

Wanna see more inspiration? Here is the previous board 31