May 28, 2013

Characters 46 y 47- Huila and Teresita

"The hummingbird's Daughter" written by Luis Alberto Urrea is one my favorite books of all time, and that's saying a lot since I'm not a fast or super well-read reader. I read slowly generally, but when I first read this book and even now as I'm re-reading it I fly through it. It has romance, adventure, comedy, magic, and a lot of historically interesting points. It is based on a real live woman who supposedly came back from the dead and began healing people. But before Teresita (La Santa de Cabora) could do that, she was a little apprentice with a medicine woman named "Huila".

Huila is a hilarious magic woman, grumpy lady, realest, and feminist! There are so many scenes from the book that cry for an illustration, but I just wanted to show a posed shot of the two of them together when Teresa was still Teresita. In this shot, Huila would probably be cursing the camera man with his strange contraption since the story is set from the late 1890s til the early 1900's.

So, you haven't read the book? Pick up a copy from your local book store or book seller like Imix in LA or La Casa Azul in NYC, or Luna Press in San Francisco. If you know of other independent stores that sell books by Latino authors, leave it in the comments por favor!

Listen to Luis

May 27, 2013

Mitali Perkins, LaShanda Henry, Dr. Adelaide L. Sanford, and Yuyi Morales

Mitali is an advocate who I always see talking about multicultural books! Interesting video blog on books, film, etc The school she's talking about was literally across the st from my apt in Bklyn! In talking about reading it made me grateful for my dad, who MADE me read... Yuyi is dope at what she does!

May 16, 2013

Childrens Portraits 10 and 11- Stella and Solomon

Process shots by the lovely Joy Liu. I really had fun painting these (hence the experimentation in color) and they are special because these two beautiful babies have some pretty amazing parents, one of which was the doula for me and my sons mom when my little lion was born. Its hard to believe its been almost 9 years! Stella (7 yrs old?) is the older sibling , while Solomon (5 yrs) is the younger one. They come from "Island people" as their momma told me, Jamaican, Sicilian, and Irish i believe.

May 13, 2013


Tearsheets are meant to be samples (like teaser's) for art directors. This is a new one I'm sending out. Should you come across an art director for a publisher or publication please pass this on to them. A good 50% of my gigs come from referral...Its a nice collage, no?

Single switchplate for May


I probably would not have found this gem if not for Boima's recommendation. Afro-Columbia.

May 8, 2013

Short story 17- Queen of the Secret Garden

 January 17th, 1981

Dear momma,

We found it! We finally found it! The maps only helped for some of it. The rest me and Daddy just figured out along the way down the coast. I wish you were here to see it. My feet are tired and we been walking with these backpacks for like a zillion years. But its kinda nice here. The rocks got a smell to em' and everything is so quiet. Not like Fort Valley Road.Even the trees here whisper. You should see Daddy. He's smiling like a little kid and looking back, around, up, and at every little thing. We spent a whole day just walking around, going through the passageways and up a bunch of staircases. There were caves and sculptures like the one of this woman's face. It's real big, and some how she just kind of floated there. Nothing to hold on to. Her face wasn't mad or sad. I wonder who she was, the legend say that the "Queen of the secret garden" ruled over these lands almost a thousand years ago. Well , we're on our way back. I can't wait to tell you more when we see you. Bye!


May 7, 2013

Childrens portrait #9-Cuautemoc

This one was pretty easy seeing as his mama is such a great photographer. Hey and if you need family photos of your teens, your newborn, or your entire clan holler at Ashley Flores Machado because she got them joints on lock, seriously.

This is such a cute little boy, his eyes are captivating and i love the curly hair.  Temo! This one doesn't show the hair off as much, but i liked the pose the most. He is two years old I think and is of Mexican decent I believe. Can't wait to meet him.

For those of you still getting hip to the hop, I'm doing a series of portraits of children from all ages and backgrounds. And yes you can have one with more than one child. Holler.

Daddy Thoughts 4- Bicycle

I learned to ride a bike when I was very young. I don’t remember my dad or my mom showing me, although I’m sure they did. I remember teaching myself and my uncle Raymond helping me. I remember him pushing me to go and him telling me or encouraging me to fall. And while this idea scared my son, it worked for me. I fell hella times and I learned. I fell off the bike, I got back up. My son is now 8; got his first bike at the age of 3 or 4 and was never really interested in riding it that much. He really liked a scooter when he got to kinder-garden but was unimpressed by the bicycle at 5. And when I tried to take the training wheels off, forget it! He was adamant about leaving them to say the least. I also kind of told him to just fall first and get it over with. I said “you’re going to do a whole lot of falling so just do it now and get over any fear of it”. That didn’t work.

Fast forward three years later. I think I might have scared him just a little. Although I was a Bmx fanatic at the age of 7 or 8, I did not pressure him anymore about riding. I just thought “you’ll pick it up with some kids you want to ride with” someday. Low and behold, his Mami takes him to hang with his friends (Sister 6yrs /brother 5 yrs) and he learns in a day. No more awkward balancing. No more excuses or strange stares at the mention of riding bikes. Before I saw the video of the first ride he proudly shared the news with me when we got home to grandma’s house. I took out his old bike (which is very small for him now), took off the training wheels, and he took off.

There I was, in the midst of the day to day grind, thinking I knew what it meant to be a parent and to “see” my son; and I was blown away with amazement and pride again. It was like seeing that first step, feeling the first tooth, or watching him pull himself up. We must of rode for 20 or 30 minutes. It was great. I realized once again how strong his character is because I just gave him space when he asked for it. He came to the bike (which is really a metaphor for anything) when he was “ready”.

A week or so later we’re riding again. Racing up and down the hill on grandmas block. He’s triumphantly beat me down the hill several times already. But on a race with me, him, and Grandpa Gary he looses his handle. And bam, his first crash! Scraped up pretty good, but not life threatening he roars screaming in pure terror. This scrape, that burn, the feeling is brand new and it hurts. I quickly put on my Doctor voice picking him up and taking him to clean the wounds as he screams more. Amidst creams and pleading with me not to clean it with any disinfectants. After throwing his hands up, he tells me several times that he doesn’t want to die and I finally clean the wounds. Lord, I tried not to laugh. He’s a cancer, very very dramatic child. He then limps into the living room.

Two hours later he tells me he’s ready to get back on the bike. My smile inside, a sense of fatherly pride was so big I wanted to cry. At bedtime I told him as I put the covers on him how proud of him I was that he fell. And that he got back up.

May 6, 2013

Hands off Assata Shakur

Just recently the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) doubled the bounty on Assata Shakur. This post is a short glimpse into who this woman is if you have never read her autobiography or listened to someone talk about her. How she was treated, tried, and rail roaded in the United States of America's criminal justice system (which is an oxy moron) is a prime example of what happened to so many African American activists who dared to step out of line and challenge the system of government here in the US, which is now a system of corporations. But, don't take my word for it, listen to her as she spoke on Democracy now more than ten years ago.And look up COINtelpro. Watch this short documentary where she talks about her case and what Cuba is like, what leaving her family has been like. Check out what her lawyer and activist Angela Davis had to say about her.

And support Dignidad Rebelde for making art which pays beautiful homage to her. The point is though, why is the FBI now putting her on the most wanted list? What has their involvement historically in cases involving political activists of color here in the US? Why are there more people imprisoned in this country than in any other country in the world? And why are people imprisoned because of their beliefs? To the FBI and any other US government agency that threatens her life, "Hands Off Assata!" I read her autobiography as a teen and was literally baffled by all this woman had been through. It saddens me to know how many other like her are still in prison now from the Black Panthers, Black Liberation Army, Puerto Rican activists, anti war activists. But there is something we can do, we can learn about these people who risked their lives (many paid with their lives), and we can tell their stories through art. Artists have power!

Inspiration board 15

From left to right, top to bottom. 1. Budgeting-Its an inspiration and a goal. 2. The photography of David Pattinson 3. Maylee Todd's new LP 4. Jose James +Band=Incredible live performance 5. Inami-Cartoon 6. The Unique Ladies-Women in lowriding doc 7. Not 1 More-Another good example of action+art 8. Pascal Blanche-amazing illustrator 9.Old shadow type 10. African American Animators pst/present group 11. Mira Nair-Wonderful Director 12. Fantastic Mr. Fox/Stop Motion animation 13. Sean "Cheeks" Galloway -great character designer 14.King music-In the meantime 15. Sergi Brosa-Illustrator 16. Scurlock Studio photography 17. Cardboard-Graphic novel 18. Akonadi Foundation-Racial Justice 19. Diary of a Decade-Funk Jazz Cafe Doc 20. Fox+Sui-music

May 2, 2013

Mamas Day Launch

Hey folks, please share and spread the word widely about these Mothers Day Cards. You can send one to your mom, to a parent you know, or to any young people/artists/ activists looking for seriously cool alternative to the normal mothers day cards. Check out this video to explain more. These mothers day cards were created by a huge variety of artists all across the US including my crew mate Cece Carpio, my homies Crystal Clarity, Melanie Cervantes, and my boo Joy Liu. Please use these images to attach to your social media and let folks know there is a growing voice to show the diversity of families, whether they be incarcerated, queer, undocumented, or just showing people of color! I had the chance to contribute as well by making a positive image for fathers day. You can see it now on the MamasDay site, but it will have a launch around fathers day too. Media attention