Apr 30, 2021

Inspiring Artist - Mira Nair


Yo, if you're new: This is where I share artists that have been inspiring to me in my work sometimes directly and other times. Case in point. Mira Nair, an amazing filmmaker from India who spends her time back and forth between India, Uganda, and the US. I'm not sure which film I saw first but I have loved so many of her films. Her style, her eye, but also her activism, and her convictions. 

She once said 

"If we don't tell our stories, no one will" -Mira Nair

In reference to the talk of diversity which is really a talk of a century of exclusion from funding, resources, and access to filmmaking (but applies to other forms of storytelling) and she backs it up. Don't believe me? Go check out The Namesake, Salaam Bombay, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Queen of Katwe, and so many others. If I were a big studio executive, I'd give her the maximum budget and all the resources she needs to run with it.

She's worked with so many great actors such as Tabu, Denzel Washington, Kal Penn, Irrfan Khan, Tanya Maniktala, Lupita Nyongo, Liev Schrieber, Kiefer Sutherland, Riz Ahmed, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Sarita Choudhury, Richard Gere, soo many.

If you haven't seen any of her films, check them out! I should add that one of the amazing things about her is her independent hustle to get projects made! Also, check out her company Maisha Film Labs in Kampala Uganda. Did you catch the last artist I mentioned?

The last inspiring artist was James Van Der Zee

Apr 23, 2021

Shock G (RIP)


RIP to Shock G (aka Humpty Hump) the co-founder of "Digital Underground" one of the illest groups from Oakland and the Bay. The first time I bought one of their albums I was still just a kid in elementary school. "Freaks of the Industry" and "Humpty Dance" are absolute party rockers that you can still throw on today and get people moving. But some of my other favorites by DU and Shock are Man's world, April showers, We got more, Oregano flow, and of course Kiss you back, and Dowhatyalike. In his career w/ the crew he worked with so many artists and really and truly kept the funk of acts like Parliament and Larry Graham alive for the next generation. Most recently I was happy to see him in the souls of mischief doc giving praise to them but talking about the diversity of Oakland hip hop. My condolences to Money B, DJ Fuze, the DU crew, and all the fans. 

Heres a portrait of Prodigy (Mobb Deep) I did when he passed as well. So many legends gone too soon.

Apr 21, 2021

Video: Together In the Struggle w/ "Alejandria Fights Back"


Earlier this month I got a chance to talk with Dr Carla España and Dr Luz Yadira along with my co-conspirators in making Alejandria Fights Back" a new picture book I completed with writer Leticia Hernandez-Linares, the Rise Home Stories Project, and Feminist Press. The book will officially be out in August but we're already starting to talk about it. In fact, listen to this talk with the Doctora's and "The Ed Collab Gathering" where me, Mike Leyba (Rise Home Stories Project) , and Leticia chop it up.

For more info about the book go to https://www.alejandriafightsback.com/ or follow Rise Home Stories Project on Instagram.

Podcast: Etsy Conversations Interview!


Hey fam, I'm juiced to share that I'm a featured guest on Ijeoma Eleazu's wonderful podcast "Etsy Conversations"!! Yawl, she has over 300 episodes of game and I have definitely learned from the many sellers on her show about what has worked for them. Case in point the episode about digital goods from Paper Sphinx and the episode about what content marketing is from Chi Odogwu.

Tune in on youtube, whichever podcast app you use, or check out her site and see all her links.

Did you catch the interview I did with YBCA?

Apr 19, 2021

Video - Richie Reseda


I first heard Richie on the "Feminist in Cell Block Y" short and was astounded that he would break down what he did, the way he did, and it caught me off guard. It made me think and I hope it made other humans do the same. Check out this series and check out the way he talks about his life. Vulnerable and powerful! Follow him on IG.

Apr 18, 2021

Inspiring Artist - James Van Der Zee


One of the coolest things about the library, the bookstore, record store, or just stepping out into life is the happy mistakes. It's when you find someone or something that you didn't intend to find. Case in point, I was searching for one book the day I found another; the Book of the Dead by James Van Der Zee (1886-1983). I'm not going to go into the full history of the incredible photographer but you can look up videos or books about him. He took some amazing and haunting photos of soldiers, weddings, musicians, dancers, his city of Harlem, and the dead. Check out some of the photos I can find on a search. I still have 1 or 2 of his images in a sketchbook of mine from 15 or 20 years ago. 

Inspiring Artist: This is a way for me to share some of the artists who inspire me both dead and alive. Check out their work.

The last artist I mentioned was Alberto Mielgo (Nsfw).

If you like photographers check out Jamel Shabazz or some photos of my daughter by Kristen Murakoshi

Apr 15, 2021

Dia De Niño


What up fam, I will be reading and speaking / reading at the "Dia del Niño" bilingual book festival. Please go to their website here: https://www.ninosbookfest.com/ and follow them so you can catch 1 of the 3 days with many creators such as Pat Mora, Nury Castillo Crawford, Juana Martinez -Neal, Patty Rodriguez, and more.

There will be readings, demo's, give aways, and more.

tbt- New Frontiers Comics Anthology


Yo, several years ago I got to work on my first comics anthology for Jeff Yang and Keith Chow who were putting together "NEW FRONTIERS" -The Many Worlds of George Takei! I was recently reminded of it somehow and I forgot to post it. Jeff and Keith did the Secret Identities anthology which is a ground breaking book of Asian American comics artists. Check out some process art.

Looking at my piece now although I feel like I can do so much better, I'm glad for the opportunity to contribute to the book and to talk about being taken and forcefully separated from ones family as George Takei experienced during world war 2. This book came at a time when the forced separations of families was being expanded by both the Obama and the Trump administration. And I hope it serves as a way for young readers to understand the horrors and triumphs of it. Props to all the Japanese Americans who stood with Muslim and Latinx immigrants. Here's my piece.

There are so many great artists in the book such as Ming Dolye, David Walker, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Cory Thomas, Ron Chan, Chris Visions, and so many more. Real talk, when this first dropped there were some accusations of sexual assault against George, so I paused as a lot of folks did. But I believe those charges have been proven to be false. I'm not a trekkie, but I've always appreciated George's stance on family separations, using his platform to speak out against injustice, and for being a proud gay Asian man. And shout out to Keith and Jeff for giving me chance.

You can get a copy here: Japanese American National Museum

And you can read more about the book via Nerds of Color

Digs this? Check out my mini comics Time and Ride Again

Apr 13, 2021

Love and Protect: Mural Series in Oakland Chinatown


This past weekend I had the distinct pleasure of painting alongside some OGs and young artists of both African American and Asian descent. We were organized by Cece Carpio (TYS Collective) , Tommy Wong (Civic Design Studios), and w/ the help of hella folks like Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ). We got down to show solidarity and to demonstrate to our local community that we cannot be divided by white supremacy. We have long had each others backs, and we will continue to. Both Black folks, Asian Americans, and the organizing or artists community all need a reminder sometimes and this was therapeutic to make some dope art around the idea of solidarity.

Here's the official statement from the flyer. 

Love and Protect: Mural Series in Oakland Chinatown

Bay Area visual artists of Asian and Black descent are producing a series of mobile public art murals in Oakland Chinatown for those impacted by Asian hate crimes. On Saturday, April 10th local artists will gather at Madison Park starting at 10 am to paint large canvas works that can travel for community events and public display. This project is in collaboration with Chinatown Coalition and we are outreaching to seniors and community members in the neighborhood. We acknowledge that the global health and economic pandemic are amplified by systemic injustices that disproportionately hurt immigrants and communities of color.  Love and Protect is a condemnation of violence and a commitment to uplift, nourish, fortify and pay homage to our communities so that when we rise, we rise up together. 

Artists Cece Carpio of Trust Your Struggle Collective and Tommy Wong of Civic Design Studio and Good Good Eatz have brought together local artists who are deeply rooted in the fight for racial and environmental justice. Emory Douglas and Joan Tarika Lewis, who are revolutionary artists and historical members of the Black Panther Party, bring visibility to the long history of Black and Asian unity.  Robert Liu-Trujillo, Elaine Chu, Miguel “Bounce” Perez, Eric Norberg, and Karen Seneferu & Malik Seneferu are contributing their art and deep ties to social justice work. Ming Mur-Ray and Elokin Orton Cheung who are art teachers in Oakland’s Chinatown are bringing their students to help paint. Youth artists Deanna Brownfield and Lauryn Marshall from from the Black Cultural Zone are also bringing their vision and perspective. 

Check out these photos from Barni Qaasim of Curyj

Emory Douglas & Cece Carpio

Karen Seneferu

Elaine (Twin Walls Mural Company)

Lauryn Marshall

Pieces by Cece Carpio & Elaine Chu

Harrison Street Senior Art Workshop

We couldn't make it happen w/o the help of homies volunteering time & support. Here are folks from Curyj, Oakland Chinatown Coalition

Follow Civic Design Studio , Cece Carpio, or myself for more fotos!

Here are a few more from Joe Keefe
Night time packing up the canvases

Close up of the two women (Asian & Black standing together)

Madison park was poppin w/ a bunch of artists

Here's the crew of artists and homies helping to document and take down the art. Shout out to Han and his crew, Kerri, etc.

Dig this? Check out Asians for Black Lives

Apr 12, 2021

Podcast w/ Afriware owner Nzingha Nommo

PLM presents an Interludes interview with the owner of AfriWare Books, Nzingha Nommo, Black bookstores like AfriWare Books, especially need our support to survive in a post Covid-19 world. Download the current podcast now!

Afriware is one of the first stores to carry my picture book Furqan's First. So lovely to hear this interview with the owner out there in Chicago!

Reading! - NHCC


Fam, I will be presenting at the 2021 @NHCCNM bilingual book festival this week on Thursday on April 15th, 2021. I'll be reading in Spanish and English so tune in w/ your bilingual learners. Check out the schedule and more here nhccbookfest.com

Apr 4, 2021

Children's Portrait 64 - Belen's Fam


Here's a recent painting I finished for Belen, daughter and sister to this family. This was a fun challenge, taking several poses and making them into one painting. 

If you would like to commission a painting of a child or a family go HERE. If you missed the previous portrait of Jahbreel, Kubwa, and Jahlyl, check it out.

Check out some of the process below: