Archive for June, 2011


June 13, 2011


The image above is of ZapaShiva, a Zapatista woman in the Shiva pose. I made the image for the 5year Plan which was started by my friend Aaron Sinift, an artist, activist and entrepreneur in Brooklyn NY.

The first project that Aaron curated and brought to life was an artist book featuring the work of 26 artists. I made an image for the book. You can check it out in this earlier post. The images were printed on cotton khadi. The cotton was spun by artisans in India. The idea behind the book is to make a sustainable art piece and to celebrate the Gandhian ideals of self sufficeincy and non violence.

This video explains the project really well. 

In both images I’ve made for the 5year plan I tried to make a link between social movements in India and in Mexico. I am not an expert on the Zapatistas, but their struggle for self-governing and their resistance to transnational corporations resonated for this project.

The woman is holding a shovel and an ear of corn to symbolize the struggle for autonomy . She has a cell phone and a laptop, because the internet was a fundamental tool for the Zaptistas and it has proven to be a fundamental too for any social movements to come.

She is emptying a Coca-Cola bottle to simbolize the resistance against transnational corporations and she is holding a chilli because when I think of Mexico and India I think of food, spicy food. The cotton bolls and the wheels that frame the image are there to represent the fact the image will be printed on hand spun cotton khadi.

ZapaJhola mock-up

Now Aaron is working on jhola bags. His approach with them is twofold. He plans on printing some limited edition jhola bags with original artwork featured on them.

But he is also looking to work with large retailers to offer jhola bags at their store for shopping. The jhola bag is the anti plastic bag. There are no carbon emissions involved in its production because it is made by hand and it helps some of the poorest people in India and the world to support themselves.


June 13, 2011

ZapaShiva tee

I have been making some t-shirt mock ups lately. The one above is of ZapaShiva, a Zapatista woman in the pose of the Hindu godess Shiva. I’ll write about the image on my next post.

This is another mock up I made.

Original Baller

I am thinking of submitting my designs to Threadless. An online store and community where you submit your design and people vote for it. If people vote for your design Threadless considers printing the tee and selling it. The designer/artist gets a cash prize.

M train, West 4 to Marcy Ave

This one has one of my subway sketches on it. I made it on the M train from the West 4th Street stop to the Marcy Avenue stop. To see more of my subway sketches click here. Any thoughts or suggestions on these tees? If I print them, would you buy one?

Diego Rivera is out and about

June 10, 2011

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours

I have not posted a new entry to my blog in several months. I apologize for that. I have been quite busy and productive though. My second picture book Diego Rivera: His World and Ours was published by Abrams this last May.  You can buy it online from Abrams or from Amazon among other retailers.

The book has received some great reviews so far.

It received a Parent’s Choice Recommended Seal by the spring 2011 Parents’ Choice Book Awards.

The Latin Baby Book Club chose Diego Rivera:His World and Ours as their June book of the month. They did a Q & A with me too.

The Happy Nappy Bookseller gave the book a very generous review. “There are a few children’s biographies about Diego Rivera. Tonatiuh’s sophomore release is a great addition, with it’s own personal distinctions. ”

It got a starred review from Kirkus. “A simple picture-book biography of Diego Rivera concentrates on his artistic career and encourages children to imagine themselves painting their own world… Both solid introduction and exhortation, this book will thrill budding artists.”

And Publisher’s Weekly gave it a great review “Suggestive of stained glass windows, Tonatiuh’s mixed-media collages combine ancient Mexican art motifs with blocky, stylized figures, to pay tribute to this versatile artist.”

I am heading to Dallas later today. I am thrilled to be a part of the 1st Annual BooksmART Festival in the Dallas Museum of Art where I will read Diego Rivera: His World and Ours and also Dear Primo, a letter to my cousin.

I will be visiting 3rd graders at the The School at Columbia University next Monday and I will be heading to New Orleans at the end of the month for the ALA conference. I have a busy and exciting month ahead.