Archive for October, 2009

KID SALVAJE, Where the Wild Things Are meets el Santo

October 19, 2009
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These are images from a children’s book I put together a few months ago called Kid Salvaje. It is a re-interpretation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Perhaps the best picture book of all time.

There are many great re-interpretations of classics. Romeo and Juliet has West Side Story, the Odyssey has Joyce’s Ulysses. My favorite is Black Orpheus based on the Orpheus myth; incredible movie and music for anyone that has not seen it.

I find Sendak’s story to be very archetypal. That is probably why it is loved by so many. In a nutshell Max, a kid who is wearing a wolf suit, gets in trouble for misbehaving. He is sent to his room which turns into a forest from which he journeys off to the land where the wild thing live. After an intense adventure he returns to his room with a new appreciation of his home.

In Kid Salvaje -salvaje is spanish for wild- Junior, the main character, loves Mexican wrestling. He gets in trouble too. But his room turns into an arena with a wrestling ring where he encounters los Rudos.

For my research I watched some Mexican wrestling live for the first time. Fun, fun, fun. Those dudes can really fly.

And I watched some of el Santo’s movies. I recommend el Santo vs the Crime King. It gives an explanation for el Santo’s origin. I’ve heard el Santo vs the Vampire women is pretty good but have I not watched it yet.

el Santo

el Santo

What I admire the most of Sendak’s book  is the way  the words and images compliment each other and create a greater seamless whole. And I admire too the way the book is designed and structured. It is conceived in its totality.

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a sketch by Miguel Tanco of WWTA storyboard

Miguel Tanco a wonderful illustrator, has a great entry on his blog about it ( his blog is in Spanish and Italian). The sketch of the storyboard above is a sketch he made.

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and grew, and grew

The book begins with a small image of Max causing mischief. Gradually the images in the book grow, until they cover the entire page. It parallels the way that Max becomes immersed in the world of the Wild Things. As Max leaves that world the images grow small again.

I’m planning on self-publishing Kid Salvaje on Lulu or Blurb for anyone that is interested in getting a copy. Or for any publisher out there interested in seeing more, feel free to contact me.

I recently found out about a great website called Terrible Yellow Eyes with tons of artwork by many different artists inspired by Sendak’s book. I’m sure most Where The Wild Things lovers are aware of it. But for anyone that doesn’t, I highly recommend it.

…Oh yeah, and the Spike Jonze movie based on the book just made 32.5 million dollars on its opening weekend.

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The flying men of Papantla, intangible heritage of humanity

October 12, 2009
The Papantla flyers

The flying men of Papantla

On September 30th, 2009 the ritual performed by the flying men of Papantla was recognized by the UNESCO as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The ritual is a fertility dance that has its origin in the Mexican state of Veracruz.  It consists of five men who climb up a pole eighteen to forty meters high,  four of them tie their feet to a rope and glide down while the fifth man plays a flute and a small drum. The entire ritual, including the number of times the men spin while gliding down has symbolic meanings that dates back to Pre-Columbian times.

I’ve seen the flying men of Papantla perform on many occasions. When I read the news I wanted to create image about it, but didn’t get around to it. However, I recently found about Illustration Friday. A blog in which a topic is posted every Friday. Anyone can submit their interpretation of the topic. I’ve never participated, but last Fridays topic was “flying”. It seemed like a great opportunity to participate and to jump start the illustration about the flying men of Papantla I’ve been meaning to do. You can here an interview with Penny Dullaghan, the creator of IIllustration Friday here.

I’m very happy with the way the image turned out. The image does not adhere to the Western idea of perspective -there is no such thing as a vanishing point in the image. Therefore I tried playing around and have characters that are seen from above, while simultaneously others are seen in profile.

This is a video of the ritual:

Silver or Lead, the drug war in Mexico

October 10, 2009
Silver or Lead cover

Silver or Lead cover

A few months ago I did a series of illustrations for a short book called “Silver or Lead, the drug dilemma.” It was written and designed by my talented friend Marissa Haro. To see more of her work check out her website: www.marissaharo.com

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In the book Marissa tackles several issues pertaining to the drug war that is taking place in Mexico and the US. Mexican president Felipe Calderon openly declared war on the Mexican drug cartels in December of 2006, and heavily militarized the country. Since then, more than twelve thousand people have been killed.

so far from God, so close to...

so far from God, so close to...

In Mexico there is a saying “so far from God and so close to the US,” and in the case of the drug war, the saying is more than accurate. The US is the largest exporter of weapons and the largest consumer of drugs. Ninety percent of the weapons that are seized from Mexican drug traffickers can be traced back to the US. Most of these weapons are actually bought legally and then sold in the black market.

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90% of the weapons

90% of the weapons

That is not say that the Mexican government is exempt of responsibility for the current situation. Widespread corruption among Mexican officials has allowed the cartels to flourish and to have their present strength. Corrupt officials continue to protect them.

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without govermental coruption...

without govermental coruption...

However, any realistic end to the drug war must involve a shift in policy from the US towards both the use of drugs –treating addicts clinically as oppose to criminally—and towards gun control.

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To me it’s simple economics. Consumption, not production is what needs to be deterred. If there is demand there will be supply. If a day ever came when the Mexican cartels no longer existed, new cartels would spring up in the Caribbean, in Asia, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

In Drugs We Trust

In Drugs We Trust

I have an earlier post on the subject. This is a link to it: https://duncantonatiuh.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/narcocorridos/ The illustrations in that post have backgrounds, etc. Marissa decided to use only the characters in the images I made for design purposes.