Friday, November 28, 2008

Final Illustrations: Cosmicomics book cover and interior illustrations

I thoroughly enjoyed reading more of Italo Calvino's work. Here are the final illustrations for two interior short stories from Cosmicomics; The Aquatic Uncle and The Distance of the Moon. The cover is a play on another one of the short stories in the book called The Spiral.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Postage Stamps for Cuba!

Our latest assignment was to illustrate a series of four stamps for a diaspora whose culture has been assimilated into U.S culture. I picked Cuba mostly because I've always been interested in their history and aspects of their African rooted culture. The trick was to avoid using stereotypes and do some research into specifics of the country. The stamp descriptions are as follows:

Stamp 1 (Top Left): Jose Martin, the literary and historic figure that inspired the foundations of the Cuban revolution. The colors are derived from the Cuban flag and the flowers are the Cuban national flower.
Stamp 2 (Top Right): The Orisha Yemaya who is a deity of the sea that Cubans worship in Lukumi religion, which is actually derived from Yoruba Ifa religion brouht over during the slave trade. Yemaya's colors are blue white and silver (hence the color scheme and her number is seven represented by the bubbles emanating from her palm and the wave motifs in the background.
Stamp 3 (Bottom Left) The Afro- Cuban Rumba which actually looks a lot different from ballroom Rumba. The original Rumba is a less staged and looks more inspired by West African dance than Spanish dance. 
Stamp 4 (Bottom Right): Cassava and plantain is a Cuban delicacy and right now I truly wouldn't mind some... especially the fried plantain. The yellow background was made to imitate stucco walls that you might see in a Cuban restaurant. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Article Illustration

Here is an illustration I just did for class based on an article that was recently posted in the International Herald Tribune. The article is about American astronauts in Russia and can be found here. The major theme I tried to depict in this illustration was the fact that even though the U.S. and Russian astronauts are presently standing shoulder to shoulder, they still don't see eye to eye. One party is uneasy about their new alliance and the other is still skeptical of the other. So I though it would be kind of fun to give the whole piece cold war. overtones. There are corrections that need to be made. eg. the U.S flag, but for now here it is.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Celebrity illustration/ caricature

We were instructed to choose a movie currently in the theaters or one that will be released shortly and make a caricature or illustration depicting the main star of the film in the appropriate context. I went the traditional illustration route and chose Jamie Foxx as my star in the movie The Soloist. The Soloist is a true story based on the life of Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx), a musical prodigy that studied at Julliard, whose life fell apart after he developed schizophrenia. He subsequently becomes homeless in LA, however the movie centers around the friendship that develops between Ayers and the journalist, Steve Lopez. The movie is set to hit theaters in November and promises to be pretty good as Foxx is pretty good at doing biopic type movies like Ray, which I really enjoyed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Stance on the Death Penalty

My Thoughts on the Death Penalty

It is no ordeal to analyze an issue outside the sphere of actual experience pertaining to the death penalty and come to the logical conclusion that it is simply wrong to take a human life no matter the circumstance. However, issues such as this are never as unequivocal, and life experience itself has taught me that my mind will work in unexpected manners when forced into peculiar or specific situations.

From 1993 to 1998, Nigeria was under the Military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, a man who had been instrumental in the execution of two bloodless coup d'├ętats from 1985 and was no stranger to power as he was appointed the Defense Minister and Chief of Army Staff in the process. The country had had a rocky history since its independence in 1960 with a bloody civil war from 1967-70, but no leader so effectively and single handedly brought the nation to its knees, economically, politically and ethically. He brutally killed opposition to his regime, looted $1 billion worth of oil revenue and was openly corrupt (1). I was there and although I was too young to understand everything I know the general attitude people bore towards Sani Abacha, and very candidly it was death. Everyone I knew wished some sort of ill will or malice toward him, not to mention rumors of constant threats of assassination aimed at him. At the time of Abacha's death (cardiac arrest, although some suspect foul play) in 1998, I can remember feeling a feeling of intense joy and most importantly hope and not just from me, there were celebrations in the streets for days. The country I was living in would possibly begin to catch up with an increasingly progressive world.

In retrospect, I still do not feel ashamed of these feelings, as the country would not have so expediently reached a stage of repair. But he died of 'natural causes,' which is very different from a willful act of killing the man. If Sani Abacha was tried and executed, I am almost certain that at the time many would have condoned it including myself, however today I'm not sure I would. It's possible to argue on several tiers of morality why putting him to death would have been wrong, but it seems to me, the most prominent reason is that it would seem like an easy solution to a problem that caused profound and irreparable damage. I think he would be a good reminder to everyone if he was still in a prison and not just in the annals of history. Besides that, Abacha did have a family and condoning his execution to me would be akin to 'flipping the switch' personally.

Besides my feelings on the matter, I believe that world society is not unified enough at this time in our history to come to a unified decision today, so at least while capital punishment is still in our midst, it is necessary to make sure it is used only in the most unique cases. For instance, in several parts of the world different forms of unfair capital punishment are carried out under Sharia Muslim law, in until recently China's capital punishment was applicable to most criminal offenses (2), and in the U.S. there are several cases of racial bias (3). Ultimately, from a removed standpoint in an ideal world I could attest to a stance against capital punishment with absolute resolve, but as hypothetical morality is sometimes fallible, it is hard to say whether exceptional circumstances would fault my theoretically stalwart belief



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1. 1.Norris, Floyd. "Ideas, Trends; A Nigerian Miracle" New York Times.

Published: April 22, 2002. Viewed September 7, 2008.

2. 2."Rare Look at China's Death Penalty" CBS News Published March 10, 2008

3. 3.Robinson, Bruce A. "Racial bias in Applying the Death Penalty" Ontario Consultants on religious Tolerance. Published: June 8 1995. Viewed September 2, 2002

New Blog!

I decided to separate my personal blog from my school stuff because I want to keep the continuity of the animation project I'm working on, plus my school stuff tends to suffer from a lack of time spent on it. Well, here's to what will hopefully be a good run of illustrations.