I work with WNYC radio on all day long. At least once a day or two, there is a news about Mexico. Usually it is about drug mafia, kidnapping, or about that notorious law in Arizona..., either case, it is never a good news. It is unfortunate that these are now embedded in the brains of many Americans.
I took a lot of photos I want to share with fellow Drawgers and readers. I love Mexico so much I feel it is my duty to show the positive side of this country to Americans. I think I am making this post into two sections.
To start, I am showing the process of the announcement poster. During last year's visit, I made a fake lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) poster. I wanted this to be something related.
I recently adopted a 5 year old Chihuahua. Well, Chihuahuas are from Mexico... So, this time, theme was to make him into a superhero.
And here it is...
usually my illustrations all starts this loose. one of the thumbnails.
this is the sketch. I didn't need to show the sketch to the client, so I kept this rather loose too.
then, placing the sketch into the dummy layout. The left was the poster for last year, and I used the same banner and flower pattern to keep them as a series.
ink drawing is finished. Late at night... and my model was completely bored...
This was printed as silkscreen poster, so I made the original drawing into three color separations. Needless to say... Mexican flag color scheme.
the silk screen poster is complete! placed onto Amarillo bulletin board.
Here is where the fun starts! Amarillo people went into the night in Xalapa and posted them in the city, a-la- real lucha libre poster style!
My lucha chihuahuas were then turned into a tote bag design (sold out) as well as banner at Amarillo to announce the show.
Well, this is it for now, and I will post some photos from the show and workshop soon.
Thank you for reading!
by the way, I have made the poster into computer wallpaper. It is on my site for free download during the period of the exhibit.
If you are interested, please visit here.
California College of the Arts (CCA) kindly invited me to speak at their campus this coming Thursday.I am taking ta cross-continental flight to one of my favorite cities in the US, San Francisco.
Lecture is open to public, so if any of you out in San Francisco area is interested, please come stop by. They have a faculty and alumni illustration show on the same evening, which looks like an interesting show to check out.
Venice was HOT. I mean, really...
While I was teaching a six day illustration workshop in the last week of July with a local illustration organization Teatrio, the city recorded “the hottest day of 2009”.In Italy, people don’t really believe in air conditioning. Summer is hot and you just sweat, like good old days. But with 13 students in a classroom? At first, I was not sure if I was able to survive.
It turned out to be one of the best teaching experiences I had ever had.
How much can I teach in just 6 days?
I was a bit nervous at first. My job as a teacher is to let them get their money's worth. But soon, I realized, sometimes short intensive time together can be a lot more effective than teaching once a week for one full school year.
How I try to teach is to work on each student’s strength and weakness. The crucial part is how much students and I can get to know each other in a short period. And this intensive time worked to our benefit.
We spend all 6 days together. Other than class time, we had morning café latte together, had lunch together, ate dinner together and sometimes had drinks late into the nights. Not that we had to, we just wanted to. And by the end of the course, we all felt as if we were the oldest friends! It was really sad to leave.
Thank you everyone. You were not the only ones who learned in those six days. You all taught me a lot to be always be passionate and love what I do, work hard, and also trained me to be a better teacher. Hope to see you again soon. And, I hope to go back to Venice again for another workshop.
The students were mostly Italian with one Canadian and one British, age and level all varied, from some in middle school all the way up to professional illustrator level. Everyone was just so nice, motivated,hard working and helpful to each other. A few of the students even decided to stay in the school whole night before the last session, so they can finish the assignment.(I did not make them stay, everyone!) The assignment I gave this year was “create a superhero who saves Venice from sinking underwater”.We didn’t have good internet connection, but with this project, they were able to find inspirations and references all over the city!
Ilaria Grimaldi saw an old woman on the street, imagined her llong life in Venice, then turned her into the superhero.
Ruggero Asnago got addicted to Venezian sandwitch Tramezzini, suffered from tight curfue of hostels, and turned a ghekko into superhero who has lots of 'useless' powers.
Beatrice Naomi Davies' heroes use bottles and cans to rebuild the city's old base. By the way Beatrice just finished high school and hoping to apply to art college in the US next year. What a talented young woman!
Peter Diamond used old plague doctor mask and San Marco. Peter is a Canadian now lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Flavia Soprani's idea was vain-like canals turning into a big tree with bridges. I love that everyone's work and styles are so different!
Kalo Chu made herself into Chinese acrobats, balancing and lifting the city as well as all things she experienced during her stay in Venice. Kalo is Chinese from Hong Kong now lives and works in London, UK.
Michele Boscagli turned signature Venice architecture into a monster of his own creation.
all the students (and me) with their certificates of finishing the course.
Swine Flu? Drug War? What’s That???? A Guide to a Sophisticated Travel to Mexico
21 years ago, I landed in Mexico for the first time, to a small town of Merida. I took long mini-bus rides, busses so old that you see the moving road beneath the holes on the floor, to various Mayan ruins around Yukatan Peninsula. It was a pure MAGIC. This is how I forever fell in love with Mexico. You cross the border to the north and not much changes (Canadians, no offence. I love you). You cross to the south, and it is a whole another world of its’ own like nowhere else. Busses in Mexico now are comfortable and super clean, but the magic I felt 21 years ago is still there, everywhere in Mexico.
this is just a random building on a random street. Everything is just so beautiful like this.
Sundays... people gather in a courtyard and have dance shows.
a toy store.
3000 year old pyramid. Conquistadors built a church on top of it to show their power. History and war.., always crazy like that.
you can take a tour 'inside' the Pyramid of Cholula. It is a crazy maze in there.
don't miss walking inside a market!!
never pass in front of a church and not go in. Santa Maria Tonanzintla is worth a cab ride. Mind-blowing.
drive-through Mariachi, literary. You can buy a song for about $10 US.
La Purificadora. The hippest, coolest hotel in town. I saw an article in GQ about 2 years ago, and had been obsessed about this place since. It was way more than what I expected. My travel-mate and comic artist June Kim with friends at Amarillo Centro de Diseno in Xalapa who came to see us.
the best Posole (soup) in town. Sit at a plastic table and chair, and have the best meal of your life.
ladies and gentlemen, this is THE real huevos rancheros.
That's right. You never pass in front of a church without entering...
Jesus in Mexico does not lie. Yes, it was painful..
Everywhere is this beautiful in Puebla! A perfect shabby-chic!
Just in case.. My friend Emilia from Xalapa (left) made me a hand-knit swine-flu mask!! Now I am not afraid of anything!
Best part of these judging trips (well, other than going on a trip, that is) is always about meeting cool new people. This time I became friends with some fantastic people including: illustrator and professor at SCAD Mohamed Danawi, Miriam Martinez of Fondo De Cultura Economica a publisher from Mexico, and a Venice-based illustrator Stefano Vitale who’s recent children’s book is a phenomenal Why War Is Never A Good Idea.
Miriam, Mohamed and me during judging
from Stefano's book: Why War Is Never A Good Idea.
It was pouring rain. Despite a free day in Venice after judging, everyone was in bad mood, REALLY bad mood. Venice is a town where cars are off limit and you have to walk everywhere. We were soaking wet from head to toe. Just when my mood was switching from bad to terrible, something magical happens: Aqua Alta! Venice’s famous high water. Stefano tells me I have to come see San Marco Square becoming a big lake.
Wellies, wellies, wellies! Stefano knows how to dress for Aqua Alta!
It was a surreal scene. I only knew San Marco as a big square filled with thousands of tourists with cameras and pigeons flying above. All that were gone. In the darkness of the night, the whole square was quietly sinking under water. A few cafes were open, with live violin playing and people were still enjoying drinks in terraces half under water.
Just to see that changed my mood and memory of this trip 180 degrees.
I got my mood back, then flew up north to Amsterdam and Utrecht, other two canal cities. I will write about my workshop at Utrecht School of the Arts next time.
Rain or shine, never forget to check out a local book store! Italians sure know how to design.
5 hour flight to Mexico City, 5 hour wait, 1 more hour of flight, then 2 more hours of drive on the highway. Xalapa was far. Really far. With flight delays and all that, it was just about 16 hours door to door.
On top of that, every time I land in Mexico City I get severe migraine and nausea. It is probably due to the high altitude and pollution. This time was no exception. During the transit, stupid Yuko decided to take a taxi to meet up with a friend, got stuck in traffic, became severely ill upon arrival, went straight to her bathroom, and stuck there for a while, then make a u-turn right back to the airport again.
So, when I arrived to the final airport, and was told there will be two more hours of drive, I seriously thought I was going to die.
Like Diego Rivera's paintings, these flowers are everywhre!
Despite all that, this was one of the best trips I had ever taken. Xalapa is the capital of Veracruz. It is a big city with small town feel. An town filled with beautiful architectures and good old Mexican tradition and culture. Also it is a college town filled with young energy. People are ridiculously nice, food is amazing (never going back to those American-Mexican again!), and vibe is just fantastic.
Xalapa is always covered in fog. Very moody at night...
Lecture was held at Agora, a new and large conference hall. Thank you for the full house audience!
I was invited by Amarillo Centro de Diseño, a rather small but respected design organization run by three cool designers (and some interns) to have a lecture and a show. The best way to describe their space is: it is like Giant Robot of Mexico. They have gallery space, as well as store that sells Hecho-en-Mexico designer books and toys.
I like traveling and I enjoy doing lectures, but this was so different. I had never been so welcomed. A lot of the audience came from all over Mexico, including a group of students and a professor who took 9 hour bus ride all the way from Oaxaca!
Thank you Amarillo, thank you Mexico, for a wonderful memories. I hope to come back again (despite of 16 hours, oh yeah!).
Owner of Amarillo, Aida and I cutting the ribbon for the opening of the show.
It doesn't happen in the US or Europe, but it seems like a norm in Mexico that you autograph for everyone.
being interviewed on camera....
Amarillo's store. they have some amazing hecho-en-Mexico toys and design products.
When do I get to be on the front page of a newspaper??? NEVER!
everybody at Amarillo. Thank you for a wonderful time!!!