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.

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

index

index

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.

elected Mayor of the largest borough in Mexico City caught at a table dance… dancing!

September 30, 2009
Juanito, elected Mayor for Mexico's City most populous borough

Juanito, elected Mayor for Mexico's City most populous borough

Rafael Acosta better known as Juanito is by far the most surreal of Mexican politicians to be in the scene for a while. Before becoming an activist (and by activist I mean being a part of demonstrations, getting beaten and beating police up) Juanito was a soft porn actor, lucha libre wrestler and a street vendor (still is). His idols are Rocky and Rambo and his favorite restaurant is a street market stall that sells shrimp with lots of ketchup.

In these past elections he received support from the influential Manuel Lopez Obrador, the left candidate who almost became president of Mexico in 2006.  The deal however was that if Juanito (from the PT) won he’d give his post to Clara Brugada, Obrador’s actual choice, who wasn’t able to win the nomination for candidate (PRD) because of internal conflicts in the party.

Juanito accepted the terms, and to the surprise of everyone he won the election for Mayor of Iztapala, Mexico City’s most populous borough. He surprised everyone even more days after when he rebelled and claimed that he had won the election and that he was going to become Mayor of the borough disregarding the deal.

Unfortunately the entertainment is over. After a meeting with Marcelo Ebrad, Mexico’s City Mayor Juanito gave a news conference in which he declared that due to heart problems he would after all resign his post and give it to Clara Brugada.

Juanito wasn’t actually caught at a table dance dancing. But he might as well have been. These are some images of the real Juanito. Someone please write a Wiki entry about him!

Juanito

Juanito

Thank You Baby Jesus because we are going to the worldcup!!!

September 28, 2009
Thank You Baby Jesus becaus we are going to the worldcup!!!

Thank You Baby Jesus because we are going to the worldcup!!!

“Thank you baby Jesus because we are going to the worldcup!!! Thanks you because we beat Honduras, Costa Rica and Landon Donovan’s big head gringos. José Ramirez Gomez. September 28, 2009.”

This illustration is inspired by retablos, or ex-votos which are devotional painting usually drawn in a naif style by people who’ve had no training in art,  but that draw them to a saint or virgin of their devotion as a Thank you for the fulfillment of something they’ve asked for.

ex-voto

ex-voto

This is one of my favorites. It is of a man thanking Saint Jude for not getting caught while cheating with his friend’s wife and asking for forgiveness because the flesh is weak.

Santo Niño del futbol in Tacuba

Santo Niño del futbol in Tacuba

And this a photograph of “el Santo Niño del futbol”, a  baby Jesus located in a church in Tacuba, Mexico City that gets dressed up with the national team’s uniform every time there in important soccer match.

Landon Donovan has a big forehead.

Gandhi in Chiapas

September 24, 2009
Gandhi in Chiapas

Gandhi in Chiapas

This is an image I put together for my friend Aaron Sinift’s 5 Year Plan project. The project entails the making of a handmade book and is meant to be a seva, a service to honor Gandhi. The book will be printed in Chennai, India in collaboration with Tara Books and will feature the work of 32 artists (including me, yay!).  To find out more about the 5 year plan visit: http://www.5yearplan.org/ Some parts of the website are under construction, so be sure to check it out again at a later date.

Gandhi Print

Gandhi Print

This is the image I made for the book. I tried keeping the colors to a minimum since it is going to be silk-screened. When Aaron told me about the project I immediately wanted to relate it to Mexico, my country of origin and inspiration; and a country with many parallels to India. If you don’t believe me check out this gorgeous photography book: India-México, Vientos paralelos.

I thought of the Zapatista movement, because the idea of self –sufficiency that Gandhi and Aaron’s project are trying to promote very much resonates with that movement for indigenous autonomy in Chiapas. I must admit though, that I am not very up to date with any recent news about the Zapatistas. I appreciate any good leads in the subject, especially about later, rather than early events.

MJ’s b-day in Mexico City, José M Hernández and Spidey Mouse

September 8, 2009

Michael Jackson's b-day in Mexico City

Michael Jackson's b-day in Mexico City

José M Hernández, Mexican-American astronaut and twitterer

José M Hernández, Mexican-American astronaut and twitterer

Disney bought Marvel Comics this week= Spidey-mouse

Disney bought Marvel Comics this week= Spidey-mouse

Journey of a Mixteco Part 2

August 23, 2009
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Page 1

This is the first page of the second part of a Graphic Novel I began writing and illustrating in ’08. It is called Journey of a Mixteco. It is based on the story of my friend Sergio. He is an indigenous Mixtec who left his town in Guerrero, Mexico many years ago to work in the US. He is now a community organizer in NY. These are some spreads from the first part of the story.

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Spread 1

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Spread 3

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Spread 5

The art of the first part of the story is inspired by Mexican Pre-Columbian art, primarily the Mixteco Codex of the 12th century.

Ocho Venado

Ocho Venado

The second part of the story focuses on his organizing effort at the Restaurant where he worked as a busboy. The pay and conditions there were terrible and Sergio decided to stand up against them.

Cover

Cover

I’m trying to draw influence from workers art, political art, woodcuts and Day of the Dead paper cutouts; and from people like Guadalupe Posada and Diego Rivera. But yet I want this new part to feel consistent with the previous images of the story.

Kid Salvaje.

August 6, 2009
Kid Salvaje

Kid Salvaje

This is an image and a promotional piece for a children’s book I’m developing. It’s called Kid Salvaje, and it’s kinda like Where the Wild Things Are meets El Santo. I went to the Lucha Libres a few months ago as part of my research and saw some Santo movies too. uh ah

Solar Cookies

July 16, 2009

I recently finished illustrating a children’s book I wrote called Solar Cookies.

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page 8-9

It is about a kid that builds a solar oven

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page 14-15

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and starts his own solar cookie business to help his Mom.

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page 26-27

I sent the book to a children’s book contest. Hopefully it’ll do well. I’m looking for a publisher for it if anyone has any leads.

And after talking for months and months about it I finally made my first solar oven. Thank you Rocio for all the cardboard and help (more like for letting me help you :p)

Solar Oven

Solar Oven

It takes about an hour to make a batch of cookies. I plan on starting a solar cookie business of my own. Unfortunately it is the rainy season in Mexico, so the weather often does not help. I’m going to keep experimenting though and figuring out what are the best recipes. I want to make some solar pizza too.

There is a ton of info about building solar ovens on the net. I found this design to suit my needs the best.