29.5.21

Kindred Journey 44 - Jeanyee Wong

 

This was really fun for me to research because Jeanyee Wong was a type based artist and I love typography. Jeanyee was born in San Francisco in 1920 to Cantonese parents who then moved to the Bronx in NY when she was a child. She is said to have started drawing on any and everything when she was just 3. She studied Chinese calligraphy at a young age. Then she studied painting and sculpture at The cooper Union  from 1938-1941. There she studied woodcut with Fritz Kredel and calligraphy with George Salter.  

Jeanyee started as an apprentice of Kredel's and began working on her own in 1941. The bulk of her work work has been in book publishing as she worked for Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Random House, Little Brown, Crown, Viking, Atheneum, Knopf, so many. She created type treatment, calligraphy, design, and illustration for many there. She also worked in advertising, created certificates, business cards, invitations, letter heads, etc. For many years she worked as a teacher at The New School, Pratt, and others I'm sure. 

She is known for her design of the "Seventeen magazine, NY Public library, and Mad Magazine logos and her awards from AIGA and UNICEF. But she was also highly regarded among the Society of Scribes as a generous teacher of students. She worked from her early 20s up until her 80s I believe and her calligraphy and artwork is incredible. Excellent! 

"You're never perfect. You can always do something more and improve" - Jeanyee Wong (1920-2017)

Sources: JeanyeeWong.blogspot.com ( Alex Jay), Society of Scribes, Librarything.com

Did you catch the last one this month? Its Spie of the TDK, FC, and TMC crew!!

















28.5.21

Press for Alejandria Fights Back!

 

Fam, as some of you saw my new picture book Alejandria Fights Back is coming out this summer, and I wrote a little bit about it here. But check this out, Leticia (the author along w/ Rise Home Stories Project) got a write up in Mission Local newspaper! 

Read the article HERE.

And if you're interested you can preorder your copy here.

Also, if you're in SF this Sunday, bring your babies to come hear the book read by Leticia and Me!






25.5.21

REST Sticker

 


Fam, here is the latest sticker in a new series meant to remind, encourage, and affirm. This one is a gold vinyl sticker reminding you to rest. I know we all got shit to do, but in between wins and losses, don't forget to rest.

Cop one for you or a friend HERE.

Did you catch the last one? It says "Focus"

24.5.21

Art & Activism Con

Peace, my dude Dave Heredia from NYC (based in LA now) is throwing this event at the end of the month encouraging us to share with open minds. Do you know someone who's an artist or beginning to get involved in activism? Invite them to this virtual event where they can hear and see folks making art and more. 

For more information please go HERE

I'll be one of the vendors selling my wares at the event. Interested in participating? Holler at Dave.


The last virtual event I participated in was this years Toronto Comics & Arts Festival! 

Here's some info from Dave:

If you’re an artist, poet, author, or know a creative person who is, DM me! We are honored and excited to have some great exhibitors so far. We are seeking creatives that promote positive representation, preserve culture or tackle social issues, and have an online shop page.
.
Graphic novels, poetry books, cultural art prints, and even multicultural dolls accepted. I know some clothing designers who fit these criteria too!! DM me for details, we three very affordable vendor table options available. To reserve a booth: https://www.heroesofcolor.com/aac-exhibitor.html


 

22.5.21

Kindred Journey 43 - Spie

 


Spie is a OG of the Bay Area Graf scene. A king in my opinion. Born and raised in San Francisco during the early 70s, he is from the second generation of writers is Frisco. He began writing on his own first, then he began joining crews. He's one of the illest local style technicians of letters and has always tried new things whether painting wild style pieces, throw ups, or even just his handstyles. He is a representative of several well known Bay crews; TMC, TDK, and Irie Posse. He's also reps FC, a NYC crew. Something that connects him to a long legacy of artists both in and beyond Graf is his use of art to speak truth to power.  Being the child of an organizer/activists instilled him with a DIY spirit and awareness that he always shared with the Graff community. In fact, in his career he is known as much for his unique letter styles as he is for speaking out against police terrorism, racism, imperialism, colonialism, and the system that uses these tools to get more money and power. Something I learned is that he was a mediator between writers who had beef. A peacekeeper. He is a citizen of the world traveling to Jamaica, Cuba, Costa Rica, NYC, even Palestine. He's a father, husband, activist, credentialed teacher, and a hilarious guy if you get to hang with him. If you have been impacted or inspired by Spie or his work please comment w/ a big up, fire emoji, or a memory so he knows how much we all love him. Thank you big brother.

Sources: One Track Mind magazine, My Life In Letters podcast,  Life, My Mom

More: The first time I met Spie he was already a legend to me. As a kid obsessed with Graffiti I loved taking flics of his pieces both solo and with Mike Dream. His style leaps off the wall, often using two outlines to accentuate movement. My family has a connection to his, as my grandmother knew his parents and worked with them on some labor activism. My mom who knew him since he was a kid proudly introduced me to him at a huge show he did in Oakland around the anniversary of the Hiroshima Nagasaki bombing. I could not believe she knew him and was floored by his humbleness and skill. Since the mid 90s I've been fortunate enough to get to watch him work, to hang, to speak to his students, to ask questions, and to be inspired by him. To watch him show solidarity with Palestine, Puerto Ricans, Filipinxs, and Black struggles such as Black August and Black Liberation figures such as Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, and more. I think his choice to put more up on the wall than just his name spoke to me as a kid. I was and am inspired so much by him and consider him a big brother and a mentor. Its great to hear him talk about his experiences coming up in the Graff world. I highly encourage you to listen to his episodes on the My Life in Letters podcast. Much Love dude!

Did you see the last piece of Pardon My Hindi?

Also, here's a piece I did of Mike Dream.








21.5.21

Kindred Journey 42- Pardon My Hindi

 

I've been seeing this dude's work here and there and its dope! If you're not already familiar with "Pardon My Hindi" aka Chiraag Bhakta. This cat is from Jersey, and his story of growing up in a hotel very much reminded my ok Kelly Yang's MG book "Front Desk". He is known for collaborating with hip hop duo Das Racist, animator Sanjay Patel, Basement Bhangra pioneer DJ Rekha, and jazz musician Vijay Iyer. He he's a graphic designer, street artist (you've seen his stickers), and I'm trying to think of whats a cool way to describe what he does and I cant do it justice. But he has made exhbitis like #whitepeopledoingyoga which seriously and hilariously critiques the columbusing of an OG South Asian culture being appropriated by white folks and capitalism. He did this photo project about Indian families who own and run motels called "Arch Motel", and he currently has a show up in NYC called "This Only" which I highly encourage you to check out. I can't believe I missed his Bay shit , but I will be there at the next one. This dude is hella smart, witty, and on point when it comes to critiquing colonialism and assimilation. And I love how he's a collector who shares some beautiful mixes of Asian and American culture. What it's like to survive the madness that is the US. Nuff respect fellow artist and hip hop head!

Sources: Saada, Verve Mag, Mother Jones (what an article dude!)

Ok this year I'm doing artists. Did you catch the last one of Doug Chiang

Last year I did two pieces feat South Asians- My brother SETI-X and Raveena



Inspiring talk w/ Asian American in animation

This is a really fucking great conversation! Listen to these AAPI storytellers talk about their careers and the dearth of stories in animation and the film world with a variety of AAPI characters free of stereotypes. I wish for folks to fund them in making the most wildest, creative, weird shit they want to. 

If you dug this check out my inspiration board where I share my folks like these (to me).

 

Old backyard photo

 

Here's a photo from 2001ish in my brother Plinio's backyard, pre fatherhood. This is me. 

Here's another photo from 2016 or 17.

18.5.21

"TIME" Mini comic

 

Fam, here's a new published piece! "Time". It's 8 pages long and I completed it in a few days. It's a mini comic and a zine of sorts. I started working on my first zine in 2007 and did quite a few until the early 2010's which is when I started getting work as a kids book illustrator and self publishing my own kids books. I 'm trying to strengthen my comics muscle so I decided to make this mini as I work on other comic shorts. Its much looser than I would even draw, but the goal was to finish it. Which I failed at before. And I got to debut it at TCAF (Toronto Comics and Arts Fest). 

Its about a theoretical crush and is very nostalgic as I was thinking of the days of jr high and high school when I would get dressed hoping to sit next to my crush in class. Its a PG comic so most kids can read it. 


Here's a post I wrote last yr about past zines.


17.5.21

Kindred Journey 41 - Doug Chiang

 

Doug Chiang is the vice president and creative director of Star Wars. He's been working in the film industry for over 30 years and is one hell of an illustrator. You've seen his work. And I was super inspired to see him in the extras or behind the scenes of Star Wars films. Originally from Taiwan (Born in 1962) he grew up in Michigan and made his way to California. He started on "Pee Wee's Playhouse" a show I watched as a kid. His first film as a concept artist was "Back to the Future 2" and he has worked on Ghost, Terminator 2, Forrest Gump, Jumanji, and so many other films. In 1995 when I was just beginning high school he went to work for George Lucas who was developing the prequel Star Wars films. He designed ships, spacecraft, sets, costumes, and characters for the first three films along with Star Wars 7,8,9, Rogue One, Solo, and most recently The Mandalorian. In between SW projects Doug founded his own studio called Ice Blink" which would become Image Movers Digital. He became a published author and has won Aacademy, Bafta, Clio, and now Oscar award. As I mentioned he's now the creative head of all new Star Wars projects from films, amusement park rides, games, etc. And the thing I love most about him besides his ridiculous skill as a painter and illustrator is his ability to keep pushing for the best idea. You can tell he iterates and tries as many directions as possible to get the most out of an idea. It's incredible to watch. And the dude is humble. Hats off to Doug. Follow him here.

Sources: Lucasfilm, Imdb, Wikipedia, Robota

Dig this? Check out the last post about Bay Area Graf writer ASIA

Did you see this one about Special FX artist and model maker Fon Davis?








14.5.21

My book was banned!

 


You know, I've seen other books get banned and I'm always surprised because these are books about people of color, Black folks, or queer folks. It feels like you life is being banned. I'm not queer, but I have queer family and friends and it feels like they're being banned. It also feels like they don't want their kids to "know" something. If the books were causing actual harm to people, or preaching hate I'd feel different. But often, the books are simply illustrating stories that haven't been told before and that is scary. To them.


Well I've been sitting with the news that my book "One of a kind, like me/ Unîco Como Yo" -a bilingual picture book about a boy who wants to be a princess" was banned in a North Carolina school district. And it feels different when it's your book. But, we're not backing down. In fact we're trying to get it to more kids and families. PLEASE support your local LGBTQ organizations rather than lashing out towards parents who are scared of difference or having real open minded conversations with their kids.

Want to read the piece the author Laurin Mayeno wrote? ARTICLE LINK

Orgs in North Carolina you can support:

And some good news!!!! 


Yeah we like that y'all. This San Diego organization lead by two moms who have queer kids is making sure more schools have access to kids books that reflect them in the stories. Can I get a hell yeah?! Watch the Video  HERE!

Shout out to Gender Nation!!!


13.5.21

Inspiration board 38

 



Peace fam, 

hope you're all hanging in there ok. If you're in a rut, or can't find creative inspiration, I hope this will help. What's this? This inspiration board is one of the ways I stay inspired and sane through all of life's trials, and tribulations, work, etc. I've been making inspiration boards full of films, books, music, events, people, artists, movements, and more for over a decade. 

All people, items in the board top to bottom, left to right:

1. Action film: Old Guard w/ Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne 2. Music: The Workout 2 by Stic Man (Dead Prez) 3. Art: Illustration by Olivia Fields (Tncts) 4. Music: Soul artist Sebastian Mikael 5. Music: MC Gavlyn 6. Books: Umber magazine POC focused 7. Art: Marcel Moshki character designs 8. Music: Untitled (Rise) album by Sault 9. Music: MC Nayana IZ 10. Art: Plein Air ptg by Angela Sung 11. Books: The Will to Change by Bell Hooks 12. Film: Inner Workings by Leo Matsuda 13. Books: Waxpoetics Magazine Music focused 14. Activism: APTP-Anti Police Terror Project (support for people in crisis vs police) 15. Radio: Right Nowish podcast by Pendarvis Harshaw 16. Art: Illustration by Radhia Rahman


Please check out and support the folks mentioned in them. Hopefully some of them will inspire you too. Scroll down below to see the previous board. Feel free to share.

Inspiration board 37 (Jan 2021)

Inspiration board 36 (Aug 2020)

12.5.21

Little Simz feat Cleo Sol - Woman

 

First Heard Little Simz (UK) and could tell she could spit fire by the first few bars. Listen to this jam.


11.5.21

Kindred Journey 40 - Asia

 


As a teen obsessed with graffiti I dragged my parents to go snap pics of pieces and throw ups. Asia is one of the artists I'd see. She inspired me not only to be proud but to be stylish. 20 years later I spoke with her thx to DJ Willie Maze.

Born in Japan in the early 70s, she grew up in San Francisco and started writing in 1991. One of her early influences was a young woman who wrote like NME who gave her the name "Asia". Later it was King 157, Spie, Giant, and a guy named "Orfn" who was up everywhere in the 90s who inspired her. Crew wise, she was down with VC which included Muet and Duer. She's still down with TDK (Teach Dem Knowledge) and had a crew of sisters called HMP- "Her Mighty Presence". 

Asia was most active in the Bay between 91-95 before moving to NYC in the late 90s. Although she bombed out there she told me New York was on a whole other level. When I asked her about some of her proudest moments she quickly mentioned the "Tax Dollars Kill" production TDK did with every damn body in the crew. It was in magazines and it got a lot of attention! She also mentioned a mission her and Muet went on to bomb a tank!! A Tank! 

When asked about advice for young women getting into Graff/art she said "It's hard to do, but be free of judgement by others. Don't be concerned about how they see your work. As long as you enjoy it, that's what matters. Do it for yourself, your soul".

Although she doesn't write anymore, she still makes art for herself.  She said she was motivated to piece  by TDK, but she really loved was to hop buses and go bomb! She didn't document most of her stuff and wasn't thinking of legacy, but she really loved it and had so much fun doing it. If you're reading this and remember "Asia" PLEASE share a word or photo for her to see! Respect to OG Asia!

Sources: Interview w/ Asia

The last asrtist I painted is Hung Liu! And check out this drawing of Lady Pink




10.5.21

NEW Book! - Alejandria Fights Back!

Peace fam, so for the past 2 years almost I've been working on a new bilingual picture book for older elementary school kids and their families and I want to begin sharing some more about it with you so you're familiar with it. And I'm excited because I just got the actual book in my hand and it looks amazing! I really hope you all dig it.

Here's the synopsis of the story: For nine-year-old Alejandria, home isn't just the apartment she shares with Mami and her abuela, Tita, but rather the whole neighborhood. Home is the bakery where Ms. Beatrice makes yummy picos; the sidewalk where Ms. Alicia sells flowers with her little dog, Duende; and the corner store with friendly Mr. Amir.

But lately the city has been changing, and rent prices are going up. Many people in el barrio are leaving because they can no longer afford their homes, and "For Sale" signs are popping up everywhere. Then the worst thing happens: Mami receives a letter saying they'll have to move out too.

Alejandria knows it isn’t fair, but she's not about to give up and leave. Join Alejandria as she brings her community together to fight and save their neighborhood!


The book is bilingual in English and Spanish, its about an Afro Latina and her family, and true to the title its about standing up for your rights!! It is published by Feminist Press in NYC and will be officially out early August, but you can preorder the book now here via Marcus Books' Bookshop LINK

The book was written by author and poet Leticia Hernández-Linares and a team of creatives and organizers called The Rise Home Stories Project. It was translated by Dr Carla España. In the coming months you'll hear more about the book and the suite of projects coming from RHSP. In the mean time follow us on social media and go to the books website for more info coming up....


alejandriafightsback.com


Yo, if you're a blogger, book reviewer, journalist, etc and you want to review it-get at me. If you missed the interview the creators of the book did with the Ed Collaborative, check that out here.

8.5.21

Kindred Journey 39 - Hung Liu

 

Can't remember where i first heard her name but her work has stuck with me for awhile. I shared this with my wife who was a Mills student and was actually a student of hers. she remembers hung saying to use more paint:)

Hung was born in China in 1948 and has been painting since the 60s. As she was becoming an adult the cultural revolution happened in China. A revolution in my household growing up, but not necessarily seen with happiness for all. Hung described being forced to work in the fields 1965-72. In between she'd sneak in a drawing, photo, or painting here and there. In the late 70s after Mao's death she got to study in Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts. She was first trained as a muralist and I think thats one of the things that made me gravitate to her work. She tries to bounce to the US, gets into a a San Diego school, waits 4 years for a visa to clear, then in 84 starts her study in the US. She lives and teaches in Texas before coming to the Bay where she gets into the Capp Street Project. 1990 she gets offered a teaching position at Mills College and is still in the town. 

In her career she has exhibited in solo and group shows since 1978. She has done large public artworks and murals like the one in the Oakland airport. She paints big with juicy drips and her style is a mix of realistic portraiture, and some abstraction. And I dig it. Her use of old photos, calligraphy, found objects, etc. I see workers, everyday life, pain, resistance, freedom to travel, freedom to express, immigrants, preserving history and memory, etc. And it feels like she's just getting started. Check out her work, once you do you get my choice of imagery here.

Sources: Summoning Ghosts, Kqed, SF Moma, Hungliu.com

Did you catch the last piece I did of muralist Priya Handa? Stay tuned for the next piece featuring Aapi artists for 2021.

Update: She just passed away in August of 2021, rest in Peace!


Here's a drawing I did of Hung many years ago



6.5.21

Chris Sickels -Red Nose Studios

 


Chris is a dope artist who I admire. He straddles the world between animation, sculpture, and illustration. This a short interview with him and a magazine called Alta.


Check out the video and his website here.

Support AAPI owned Bookstores

 

Fam, will all this talk of stoping Asian Hate, what I'd like to do is implore you to support these Aapi owned bookstores in the US and beyond. Most of them are in actual brick and mortar locations but some are online. See the Libro.fm list for those.

These lists were compiled by We Need Diverse Books, KiBooka, the Asian Author Alliance, and Libro.fm. Big shout out to them for taking the time to make these because I bet there are more out there. If you haven't supported a n organization that supports Aapi through advocacy and organizing then hit up these bookstores. They will have an amazing selection of Aapi stories to share as gifts, to learn from, etc. And they can order other books.

People are still out here attacking AAPI women and elders and I need you as a reader to get involved in some way either by supporting aapi businesses or backing organizations. Peace!



5.5.21

Kindred Journey 38 - Priya Handa

Bay Area born and bred I can tell Priya Handa is one of those life long artists, a scorpio, lover of good music, ice cream, and justice. As a muralist she has worked with Precita Eyes in SF, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP), Twin Walls Crew, the Zapatistas, Trust Your Struggle Collective, and the Bay Area Mural Festival. She has painted nationally and internationally traveling as far as Mexico and Palestine. She is a tattoo artist and an illustrator who works both big and small, aerosol, ink, acrylic, watercolor, and needle. She is an activist making work supporting Black Lives, Sex workers, Farmers in India, the Navajo nation, the military complex, and police brutality. And she is a child of South Asian immigrants (Punjab in India).

The first time I met Priya she had paint/gear in her hands and she came through as we (TYS) were working on a wall for Reem's California in Oakland in 2017 just to help. The last time I saw her she brought a painting she knocked out for elder Emory Douglas of his art for the "Love and Protect: Chinatown Black & Asian solidarity mural project". Both times her skill, humbleness, and generosity spoke for itself. Although I'm still getting to know her I implore you to follow and support her work now. She's a hard working rising star and deserves all the shine.  Follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/eightbirdz/

Sources: https://crpbayarea.org/meet-the-muralist-priya-handa/, http://www.puttpunjabi.com, Asian American Women Artists Association

Did you catch the piece of Maya Lin?



Last year I focused on Aapi musicians and this year I'm focusing on artists. If you're new to this, "Kindred Journey" is a serious of paintings I've done of prominent and lesser known Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since 2016. You can find a gallery of all past paintings here.

Fellow artists! May is #asianamericanheritagemonth and I invite you to paint, collage, or draw amazing folks for the month of May. Well known folks of course, but def the lesser known people, places, movements, organizations, etc. I limit my color palette to 💜💚, I use watercolor, do 12-24 posts, and I try to share a short bio of ea subject. I Use the hashtag #apahm #asianamericanheritagemonth and I call my series #kindredjourney but get down for yours, name it whatever u like, and share so errybody can learn more abt our folks-especially NOW!
💚To my everyday folks -feel free to join by sharing photos or art abt folks too, just make sure to credit the creators of the images and ask permission wherever possible before posting.
💜Last yr my focus was on musicians. This yr it will be on artists. What specific area of #aapi history do u love? Djs, South Asians, activists, special fx artists, blasians, entrepreneurs, actors, wrestlers? Get busy!









4.5.21

Art for OPL Summer reading

 

Hey, the Oakland Public Library just unveiled some of whats in store for this summer's reading program and I got to do some illustrations for it. Check out the website here to see it and some of the opportunities to win prizes for not only reading but watching films, and doing other cool stuff.


Shout out to Matt Berson and Thomas Downs for the great designs.

Did you catch the portraits I've done for Chapter 510 in conjunction w/ the library? See that here.

Here are some of the paintings again.