Spain Rodriguez: Rest in Power

I was sad and shocked to hear of the death of Spain Rodriguez this morning. I first got to know Spain when I was a kid through the dusty boxes of underground comics that my Dad collected. His autobiographical comics connected with me like none other and heavily influenced my work starting in childhood and continuing on to this day.  Spain Rodriguez was a friend, teacher, mentor, and hero to me. So much of what I love about art comes from the mind of Spain and what he taught me when I took classes from him at the Mission Cultural Center.

Until the day he died, Spain continued to work as an artist and stayed engaged in the creative communities of the Bay Area. Seeing his posters for the San Francisco Mime Troupe around town always brought a smile to my face. The world will not be the same without him. Rest in power Spain.

Peace,

Rio

Minzy

Here is the first of many in series of K-pop themed portraits: Minzy (AKA 민지) from the group 2ne1. I was pretty ignorant of 2ne1 and their contemporaries until I heard their guest spot on M-flo’s She’s so (Outta Control). The song became a great tune to loop whenever I was working on things like laundry or doing the dishes. It wasn’t until I saw the fan made video below that I decided to look up 2ne1 and what I saw was enough to send me off on a voyage to Korean pop wonderland.

As with M-flo, one of the dynamics of 2ne1 that I appreciate the most is the fluid way the group switches between Korean and English (in addition to Japanese and English). I think most people in the west would be shocked to learn how much English is peppered throughout mainstream music in South Korea and Japan, and just how accessible it all is. Codeswitching is such a rarity in mainstream western music that it sets off all sorts of happy electrodes in my brain when I hear it. It’s more than a novelty, it’s an aesthetic unto itself and contemporary groups like 2ne1 have taken full ownership of it while the rest of world catches up.

As a Mexican-American and self-identified Chicano negotiating language is a daily minefield that I navigate. I can’t help but feel envious that such codeswitching is so easily accepted in the eastern mainstream. There are musical acts that pull off multiple languages in the same song here in the west, Ana Tijoux and La Santa Cecilia being two of my favorites, but they are rare birds.

After watching countless 2ne1 videos on youtube I wanted to channel my newfound obsession into something creative. I knew that I wanted to start with a portrait of Minzy and one of her many looks from the Can’t Nobody video. Her skeletal Adidas tracksuit won out. She’s such a chameleon and I wanted to capture how tough Minzy looks in it.

I definitely want do continue this series but I’m looking for some direction. Should I do CL next? I have to admit that CL and Minzy are by far my two favorite members of the group.  I could also just make it a series about Minzy since she’s had so many amazingly different looks (I LOVE her look where she’s wearing a Tuxedo in the Can’t Nobody video). Any suggestions?

Peace,

Rio

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m prepping a juicy ham as I type these words. Have a great day and be thankful for all the positive things in our lives.

I also wanted to share a graphic I created for Culture Strike’s Artists vs. Walmart project. You can see more pieces by artists at http://artistsvswalmart.tumblr.com/. Even in my activism my love for Morrissey shines through. Enjoy!

Peace,

Rio

Our Lady of Japanese Fashion

I’ve made no secret of my love and fascination with Chicano culture in Japan. I am obsessed with how urban Chicano visual aesthetics and slang have been interpreted through a uniquely Japanese lens. I’ve written before about Japanese takes on Cholo fashion and I’m back with a themed look at how the Virgin of Guadalupe has been used in said fashion.

EYEDY(アイディー)ZIPフーディジャケット/民族柄調

Finding these clothes took no special Japanese language skills or inside cultural information, I simply looked up Japanese online stores (primarily Rakuten) and performed searches on them for the word Guadalupe. Below are some of my favorite findings. Clicking on the images will take you to their sale listing if you actually want to purchase what you see. Happy shopping!

SUBCIETY/ サブサエティ / assistant Sae tea /Guadalupe ZIP PARKA/ parka /SBP6111

Strike rollers [What’s New] [STROLLERZ] T-shirt 23#GUADALUPE/BLACK, WHITE [ST-086-BLACK]

【2012A/Wコレクション】GUADALUPE  Tシャツ 長袖(B42024)【BLACKFLAME(ブラックフレイム)】

【楽天ランキング入賞】【2012A/Wコレクション】BF GUADALUPE スタジャン(B49015)【BLACKFLAME(ブラックフレイム)】【送料無料】【代引き手数料無料】

PHYNAM(ファイナム) S/S POLO SHIRTS -GUADALUPE- (ブラック)

CRIMIE(クライミー)GUADALUPECRIMIE(クライミー)GUADALUPE(2カラー)【メンズ 半袖 TEE Tシャツ 復刻 グアダルーペ 】【送料無料】【メンズカジュアル 男性 ストリート 着こなし 】【あす楽_土曜営業】【あす楽_日曜営業】

eyedy(アイディ)SERAPE GUADALUPE VEST

【2012A/Wコレクション】FAITH GUADALUPE パーカー 長袖(B42008)【BLACKFLAME(ブラックフレイム)】

Subciety Guadalupe.A R-7/S BKWH

【BLACK FLAME】BF GUADALUPE 刺繍&プリント入りワークシャツ (B31034)

Finally, in the Chicano spirit, I’ll leave you with this bonus: A Chicano Spirits shirt. Enjoy!

PRO CLUB ヘビーウェイト プリントロンT -Chicano Spirits- 【全2色】

Peace,

Rio

Favorite Artists & Colorists in the Game

Whenever I talk about the path that led me to be a visual artist I always start with comic books. My childhood dream was to grow up and draw comics (or penciling as it was known back then). As an adult my appreciation of comics has evolved alongside the technology used to produce them and I have become obsessed with color design in comic books.

Back in the day most mainstream titles had their own colorists who would apply zipatone patterns to create color images in comic pages. Now most comic book illustrators color their own work using Photoshop and Illustrator. Looking at how far the use of color has come in them I can honestly say my dream job would be doing color and digital production work for comics. We’re in the midst of a fascinating movement of color design. Below are a few of my favorite artists working with color in comics.

James Stokoe (http://orcstain.wordpress.com/)

Frank Santoro (http://coldheatcomics.blogspot.com/)

BONUS: Read the entire run of Santoro’s Cold Heat for free online HERE

Naomi Nowak (http://www.naomi.se/)

BONUS: Read a preview of Naomi Nowak’s Graylight by clicking HERE

Kristian Donaldson (http://www.kristiandonaldson.com/)

J. H. Williams III (http://www.jhwilliams3.com/)

Peace,

Rio

Long Distance Love

I’m feeling so in love tonight. My lady has been away working hard in another state for the last few weeks and I just miss her so much right now.

I very rarely put my personal life on blast on my blog anymore but long distance love and the moon have me inspired. The result is this mixtape, a dedication to the one in my heart.


Click on the link below to download:

http://www.mediafire.com/?nsr52wnibw7vnq8

Peace,

Rio