Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sandra's new art show in San Diego!

The lovely Sandra is having a new art show this weekend and Luka and I could not be more excited. She painted all her new paintings while she was pregnant. Four paintings have already been sold and the show hasn't even opened!!!

Official info below:

New Works by Sandra Equihua, Matte Stephens, & Israel Sanchez
November 7th – December 3rd, 2009
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 7th, 6-10pm

Subtext Gallery is proud to present a whimsical adventure with Sandra Equihua, Matte Stephens & Israel Sanchez (shown above). Combined, Stephens and Sanchez have noteworthy clientele including Disney, Herman Miller, American Express, Cartoon Network, and Comedy Central. Sandra returns to Subtext following work on Nickelodeon’s El Tigre, which won her an Emmy in 2008. Together, their work creates a quirky, unexpected journey of character and color. So join us at Subtext as we present a pre-holiday trifecta of inspiring works by three talented artists.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I love you Jules Engel!

Back in my CalArts days (Experimental Animation BFA 97 & MFA 00), I had the spectacular honor of having legendary Disney & UPA artist Jules Engel as one of my favorite and most inspiring teachers. He was the first true animation artist I ever met. He reviewed my portfolio when I was 17 and told me, while looking through my soul, that my artwork was "krap!" He accepted me into the program but made me promise to create honest work that came from within. He completely changed the way I thought about art, film and animation. As a foreign artist (when I asked him where he was from, he said "Like you, I'm not from here.") who had worked in the American animation studios, Jules managed to keep his artistic identity and voice intact. To me, that was super macho and made me idolize him. And he had a mustache!

Experimental Animation Bad Ass JULES ENGEL

I would always get up really early to try to have breakfast with him in the school cafeteria. Sometimes he would tell me stories from his incredible & heartbreaking past, sometimes we talked about the Lakers (like me, he was a huge fan) and sometimes we would even talk about animation. Color was a huge topic we often discussed and fought over. I lost every single time. He really encouraged me to look at my favorite Mexican painters for inspiration (he loved Miguel Covarrubias & Rivera) and made me fall in love with Picasso. He watched tons of films (and for some reason he LOVED Ron Howard) and he would always dissect what made them special. Or "krap!"

Check out some of his amazing UPA art from Amid Amidi's must have book Cartoon Modern:

You can feel Jule's love for Miro and Kandinsky in this one.

And Picasso in this one!

When I was trying to come up with my thesis film idea I pitched him tons of stories where I learned he did not enjoy "funny but inconsequential" student short ideas and he HATED depressing & violent endings. I think he had seen so much pain in his life that he wanted our films to inspire and reflect the best in all of us. "It's your film..." he would say but I could tell how he really felt.

Eventually my thesis film "Carmelo" became about a little boy who runs away in the middle of the night and dies bullfighting a massive bull to make his father proud. Jules was not crazy about the story ("you kill a child!"). He was also very disappointed when I told him I was doing it in CG. He warned me about how cold and soulless computer art could be and every time things weren't going well his words rang heavy in my heart. When I finally showed him the finished version he slapped me in the face and said, "You son of a bitch! You did it." He then stood up smiling, put his hat on and walked away. I will never forget that day. I love you Jules!

Please join me and some truly incredible and world renowned artists filmmakers for the following event honoring the legacy of Jules. And a special GRACIAS to Courtney McIntyre for allowing me to be a part of this event:

Saturday, April 18, 2009
Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater

5 pm “The Influence of Jules Engel on Contemporary Animation”
7 pm Cocktail Reception and Exhibition of Fine Art by Jules Engel

To purchase tickets or make a donation to support The Jules Engel Endowed Scholarship Fund, please go to the secure Jules Engel Centennial Celebration ticket page.

Some of today’s most inventive practitioners in the art of animation come together to honor the far-reaching legacy of Jules Engel (1909–2003)—animation pioneer, fine artist, and one of the most beloved educators in CalArts history.

The Jules Engel Centennial Celebration begins with a roundtable discussion entitled “The Influence of Jules Engel on Contemporary Animation.” The distinguished panelists are all former students of Jules at CalArts:

Jorge Gutierrez, creator of El Tigre
Steve Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants
Mark Kirkland, director on The Simpsons
Mark Osborne, director of Kung Fu Panda
Joanna Priestley, independent animator
Henry Selick, director of Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas

The roundtable is followed by a cocktail reception and an exhibition of fine art by Jules Engel, now available for purchase.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Street Fighter Tribute Art Show


The amazing Ben Zhu of Gallery Nucleus (one of my favorite galleries!) and Jon Gibson & Derek from I am 8-bit were kind enough to invite me to a Street Fighter (my all time favorite video game!) Tribute Art Show. Only a coward would refuse!

I'm doing two paintings inspired by my favorite characters Blanka (a monster from Brazil) and El Fuerte (a luchador from Mexico).

Growing up, this game really changed my life. In every Mexican arcade or little shop with a Street Fighter 2 machine, you could witness all the struggles of life: the rich versus the poor, the north versus south, the First World versus the Third World -- and more importantly, you versus thousands of unknown kids.

Out of loyalty to Latin America, I always played Blanka from Brazil. Back then there were no Mexican characters, so a giant green monster had to do. In his storyline Blanka, like most telenovela orphans, is trying to reunite with his mother.

12x12 acrylic on canvas

20x16 acrylic on canvas

Jab Strong Fierce (Street Fighter Tribute Show)
Nucleus and I am 8-bit are proud to present, with support from CAPCOM, a Street Fighter tribute group art exhibition.
April 25, 2009 - May 11, 2009
Apr 25, 7:00PM - 11:00PM

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2009 Pictoplasma Character Walk

Ultimate scenster Jon Gibson invited Sandra & I to be a part of an art show in Berlin for the 2009 Pictoplasma Character Walk. All I had to do was doodle on a bunch of Post-it Notes and they'll become part of a larger installation created by artist Jude Buffom.

ich bin 8-bit

Curated by Love Ablan, Jon M. Gibson, and Derek Puleston. I am 8-bit, the annual Los Angeles computer game aesthetics art extravaganza, comes to Berlin with a twist. ich bin 8-bit uses standard Post-it Notes to create the ultimate pixelated canvas. It is a show within a show, featuring an all-enveloping installation by Jude Buffum, and original doodles by some of the most prolific character designers in animation and comics including Emmy-winners Jorge R. Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua, Gabe Swarr, Jim Mahfood and MyTarPit.

Neurotitan Gallery
Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Mar 17-Apr 11

*UPDATE pics from the show by Jude Buffum

Jude put my stuff in the bloody stump of the amputee character!

Check out this video of the making of:

Ich Bin 8-Bit installation timelapse from Jude Buffum on Vimeo.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baba Looey!

Baba Looey has always been my all time favorite Ed Benedict design.

This was my super macho take on him for a tattoo design for my pal Xander Leighton, a really cool artist from Mukpuddy in New Zealand. Hopefully after his wife Karla Hansen tattoos it on him they send me a pic and I'll post it.

I always wanted to do an epic Spaghetti Western with Baba Looey avenging the death of Quick Draw McGraw. If anyone at Cartoon Network has the power to allow this shoot me an e-mail :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2009 LA MYTH Art Show "Super Popo"

This is my other 11x14 acrylic on canvas paintings for the 2009 LA MYTH Art Show (curated by Dee Chavez and Aaron Clark). The opening reception is Feb 7, 2009 at Meltdown Comics 7522 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90046.

The theme of the show is LA myths:

Meet Super Popo! You know all those thousands of poos you find on the sidewalks of Los Angeles? Yeah, the ones we think are from dogs? They are actually gifts from Super Popo, an illegal alien luchador (Mexican masked wrestler) from outer space. Those poos are his kind-hearted gifts to Angelinos for shooting their guns and sending him bullets on Cinco de Mayo.

I love LA...

* Here's a link to the gallery in case you want to buy some of the art from the show.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"El Chivo"

This was a 24 x 24 acrylic on canvas painting I just completed for a really cool art show on January 31st in Tijuana, Mexico called BANG! Mitos de Creacion (Creation Myths).

I chose to do a Mexican myth I heard in a Mexico City market from a hobo about how the devil was intimate with God's wife, she became pregnant and then God raised all Mexicans as his own. And that is why Mexicans all have the devil in them. Yeah, I think it's pretty scientific too.

Here it is in Spanish:

Mito Originario Satanico. Mexico DF.

Contado por un borrachito en el Mercado de Sonora.

“Una noche, Tata Dios y el mismisimo Diablo (con cabeza de chivo), estavan jugando domino y enborachandose. A todo dar! La esposa de Tata Dios estaba dormida en su recamara. Se les termino el pulque y Tata Dios, de Buena gente, se va a la tiendita a comprar mas. El canijo Diablo se aprovecha y viola al la esposa de Tata Dios! Cuando el regresa nadie dice nada. Al dia siguiente la mujer de Tata Dios esta embarazada. Tata Dios nos crio a todos como sus hijos aunque nuestro verdadero padre es jijo del Diablo. Como la ve joven? No me da para una torta?”

The show will feature paintings and art from various artist including Robot Soda, Mr. Kone, Zoveck, Lerms and many more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 LA MYTH Art Show "Burrito Perfecto"

This is one of two 11x14 acrylic on canvas paintings for the 2009 LA MYTH Art Show (curated by Dee Chavez and Aaron Clark). The opening reception is Feb 7, 2009 at Meltdown Comics 7522 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90046.

The theme of the show is LA myths. And as everyone living here knows, there is a rumored "perfect burrito" in this cursed city. A burrito so perfect, that it would immediately kill you from its glorious taste.

To this day, I have never found such perfection. The journey continues...