Not Forgotten Public Domain Superhero Anthology Signings

The Not Forgotten public domain superhero anthology has shipped! San Francisco Bay Area people are welcome to attend these upcoming signings:

Mission Comics, San Francisco
November 10th 6pm-9pm- ((THIS FRIDAY!!))

Flying Colors Comics, Concord

Saturday Nov 18th, 11a-7pm

Many thanks to Sinclair Klugarsh, Einar Masson and Matt Harding and Jared Rosmarin and Montana Manalo for helping me get in and get the work done. I hope the project is a smashing success for everyone involved.

Free Creature Design Workshop @ Berkeley Public Library

Save the date!

I am excited to announce that I will be leading the monthly drawing group at the Berkeley Public Library Main Branch. The workshop will focus will be on creature design and is free to the public 12 and over.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Berkeley Public Library
2400 Kittridge Aveneue
Berkeley, California

Third Floor Community Room

10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Find the full calendar here

Art Sale!

In the spirit of local radio and television advertising, I am having a farewell going-out-of-business “blow out” sale. Catahoula Coffee in Richmond, California has generously hosted a selection of my watercolor paintings for a number of months now. I figured that one more push to get folks to take one home with them was warranted before taking them down this month.

Last chance! Everything must go!

The North Pole Trailer and Release Date

Here’s a sprinkle of good news for an otherwise difficult summer. The first trailer for The North Pole, a comedy webseries about gentrification and “greenwashing” in Oakland, California is up on YouTube and the world premiere screening hs been scheduled for September of this year.

My maternal great-grandparents moved to Oakland in the 40s and had a house on the corner of Manila Avenue and 45th. It was an important place for large family gatherings on the holidays. My mother was born there in 1947 and other relatives have lived in East and West Oakland for as long as I can remember. I was born in Oakland during early 70s. Oakland was an angry and unwelcoming place of extreme differences in wealth, culture and opportunity. It seemed drastically different from neighboring towns like Berkeley where did my K-12 schooling. And yet, I found myself imagining an cyberpunk-inspired story that took place in a future Oakland after attending my first WonderCon at the Oakland Convention Center in 1989. The newer gleaming architecture of the downtown area inspired me that year along with the excitement around Tim Burton’s upcoming Batman film. Sadly, the Def Squad X/Oaklanders story centered around tired themes of battling urban crime, pimps, drugs and prostitution and somehow turned out to share a similar premise with The Mod Squad TV series.

A still from The North Pole trailer.

A number of venues and events kept me returning to Oakland after completing my BFA in graphic design. In recent years, an Oakland-based art group (created and run by young artists from outside of Oakland) was instrumental in connecting me to many invaluable opportunities to network and exhibit my work. I even gave the co-working thing a try in Oakland a couple of years back. In spite of this, Oakland’s rapidly changing character due to the influx of workers from outside the area in the tech industry has once again turned me away from Oakland, along with an similarly alienating growth in elite identity activism with its own in-group/out-group dynamic, an explosion in public marijuana use, rudeness at eating and entertainment venues, and a lingering pastiche of the New York rap and hip-hop subculture currently embraced as “realness” and authentic.

Sure, I was born there, but I was never an Oaklander. And I probably never will be.

Even with this deepening drive to once again disassociate myself from the city of my birth, I decided to contribute some illustration work for one of the props in this first episode. The writing, performances and directing looks great based on the trailer and I even caught a split-second glimpse of my artwork in the background. Many thanks to Darren Colston for reaching out to me and to director Yvan Iturriaga for letting me help bring a tiny sliver of his vision to life.

Check out the link below to see the whole trailer:

Busy…

Well, I have been busy with an incredibly challenging series of visual development assignments with a phenomenal animation company. The recent 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars was oddly bittersweet. On the one hand, I am doing what I have wanted to do since seeing my first behind-the-scenes program for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder where I might be career-wise if I had the right guidance earlier in life. I will never know. Anyway, If all goes well, I may be able to share the some of the new work later this year.

Art in March

This past Saturday, I had the honor of participating in the Lovonya Dejean Middle School First Annual Art in March Extravaganza in Richmond, California. This was my first time sharing examples of my vis dev work and a bit about my educational experiences with middle school-aged students in my neighborhood. The event was just a stone’s throw away from Mr. Lyon’s barbershop on Macdonald Avenue where I got some of the inspiration for the Afromancers storyline.

As a visiting artist/professional, I was interviewed by a student and asked to talk about my work and career path. Byron was a quick study. After composing a series of questions with a group of student audience members and one dry run, we let the camera roll. With mic in hand, he proceeded to ask me questions from the list and improvised several more on the spot. After the interview some of the students had more questions about my work, how many years it took to get to my skill level and how they might start on a path toward an art-related career.

Thank you to Polo Valdovinos for inviting me and to Principal William McGee for hosting the event.

North Pole Webseries Kickstarter: Final Hours!!

GreenGos posterWith just hours remaining, the North Pole webseries is just a couple hundred bucks away from being fully funded via its Kickstarter campaign. Last summer, I was invited to contribute a bit of illustration and graphics work to the project which got a nice write-up on KQED‘s website earlier this month. Shot in Oakland, California, the new seven-part comedic web series slated for release in early summer 2017 uses humor to raise awareness about the issue of global warming and gentrification.

My job was to create a poster with an example of a bioengineered oak tree the fictional GreenGos company plans to plant throughout Oakland, ostensibly as part of sophisticated clean energy program. It was a lot of fun putting my love of botanical watercolors and science fiction illustration to work in one piece. As a student at AAU, I loved being a part of collaborative film and animation production teams and seeing how these complex projects come together. Many thanks to Darren Colston for bringing me on board for the project, and best of luck to the rest of the team during these final critical hours in their Kickstarter campaign!

Not Forgotten Anthology

Last fall, I had an opportunity to contribute to an upcoming public-domain comic book superhero anthology entitled “Not Forgotten”. Writer Jared Rosmarin wrote the 8-page story for Jet Powers, a character who appeared back in 1950. I kept the original look and costume design for Jet and went with a bold, simple and high-contrast Golden Age style of pencils. Coloring Montana Manalo’s inks was a lot of fun. Her inking really brought out the spirit of Jet Powers and his amazing world of gadgets and intrigue. Montana was also responsible for the preliminary image research that made the job of designing Jet’s gadgets a lot easier for me. You can follow Montana on Instagram.

A Kickstarter to promote Not Forgotten launches in February. Editors Matt Harding, Einar Måsson and Sinclair Klugarsh have over 20 stories on tap for the project. Here’s a peek at the pitch:

Heralded by the success of Superman and Batman, the world of superheroes exploded in the late 1930s with a litany of colorful and often bizarre heroic characters, creating what is revered as “The Golden Age” of comic books. They defeated evil wherever it reared it’s ugly head, whether it be bloodthirsty Vampires from Pluto, repugnant Nazi jerks, or the mysterious and deadly effects of Atomic Radiation! These heroes sold books by the millions and ushered in an age of unprecedented JUSTICE. But soon, these ring-a-ding-ding good times came to an end at the close of World War 2 as the heroes fell out of favor in the eyes of a giddy and spoiled public. It was curtains for the heroes, as the once successful publishers now faced bankruptcy and took to the giggle juice while their creations fell into the shadow realm of PUBLIC DOMAIN, a place where anyone, anywhere can use them for whatever nefarious deed their sick minds could concoct. GADZOOKS! No longer protected under the shield of copyright laws, these characters were buried and lost to the cruel hand of father time and the machismo of modern entertainment as evil ran unencumbered through our streets! BUT FEAR NOT, true believers! These heroes are back and better than ever! Re-imagined by top creators in the industry, this anthology collects over 20 short stories paying homage and tribute to some of the greatest heroes and heroines lost to time with brand new, never-before-seen, exclusive tales bringing these amazing creations back to life! But don’t blow your wig, Johnny. This book is within your grasp! Get in on this here clambake and help show the world that these characters might have been buried under layers of dust, but they are NOT FORGOTTEN!


Featuring work by James Harren (Rumble, B.P.R.D., Conan), Eric Esquivel (Lego DC Superheroes, Vertigo Quarterly, Adventure Time), Ryan Cody (Doc Unknown, Heavy Metal Magazine, The Phantom), Jerry Gaylord (Bill and Ted’s Triumphant Return, Fanboy Vs Zombies, Ghostbuster/TMNT), Matt Harding (Doctor Mordrid, Popapocalypse, Styx, Madefire Studios), Rodrigo Vargas, Josh Krach, Angela Ahlers, Nathan Shorts (Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove), Vincent Kukua (Image Comics), Saeed Arjumand (The Haunted Detective), Evan Limberger (Madefire Studios), Matt D. Wilson (Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective, Supervillain’s Handbook), Rodrigo Vargas, Josh Krach, Ashley V. Robinson (Jupiter Jet, Editor at Top Cow), Morgan Beem, Rica March, Jeffrey and Susan Bridges (Pendant Audio), Leonie O’Moore, Derik Hefner, Anne-Marie Webb, Andrew Steers, Edwin Lopez, Bobby Trauma, Esther Pimentel, Greg Menzie, Zakk Saam, Omar Morales, Joel Cotejar, Paula Goulart, Jaymes Reed, Paul Plale, Andres Olveras, Gabriel Moore-Topazio (Wrought Comics, Asylum), Einar V. Másson (Bay Area Comic Anthology, Bruce the Angry Bear), Edwin Lopez, Kristian Bay Kirk, Sandra Rós Björnsdóttir, Kevin Cuffe (Oathbound), Ricardo Lima, Jason Inman (co-host of DC All Access), Nick Robles (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials), Casey Desilts, Malcolm Johnson (Styx, Ultrasylvania), Kevin Buckley (Madifire Studios, Cyberwulf), Jeff Leeds, Marco Maccagni (Archon, Vampblade), Jared Rosmarin, Eugene Young, and Dave Harding.