Wednesday, October 9, 2013

If you happen to be in Dallas, Texas...

Be there and I guarantee your mustache will grow. 
You too ladies!

The Dallas Society of Visual Communications (DSVC) has invited me to give a lecture on my stuffs.

Angelika Film Center
Mockingbird Station
5321 E. Mockingbird Ln.
Dallas, TX 75206

DSVC Members: FREE
Non-Members: $20
Students: $10

Friday, September 27, 2013

A new warrior has entered the ring...

Since the cat is out of the bag, here's a better image of the Super Macho Fighter poster. The show is currently in development at my beloved Nickelodeon. That's all I can say...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adios Ricky

The incredibly gifted Rick Garduno has died.

My first reaction was anger. Damn it, Ricky, this is way too soon. And you were such an extraordinary talent. What a waste! Anger at myself for ignoring his last message asking to meet so he could apologize over our last argument. I'll be taking that regret to the grave. But the anger in me is long gone and now I'm just sad.

Thanks to Gabe Swarr, I met Ricky back in 2003. We were both young artists from Mexico City trying to make it in the industry. We connected instantly. He joked that I was too Mexican. I shot back that he wasn't Mexican enough. And for some reason, even thought we were both natural Spanish speakers, we only spoke in English.

While we were both working on Mucha Lucha I fell in love with his mischievous and subversive boards. I really loved designing for him. We got into huge fights but we always made up, like real friends. As soon as I had my first pilot at Disney, Ricky was the first person I asked to help me board a chunk. When he turned in his part, I was crying and laughing my ass off. Ricky, like usual, had done way more than I asked. And he completely poured his heart and soul into it. He just couldn't help himself. After that, I swore than anything I ever worked on, Ricky would be my wild card.

Years later, and after working together on other shows and pilots, El Tigre was greenlit for series at Nickelodeon. I asked Ricky to board the first episode of the series, which was very difficult. It would be his first digital board. We were still trying to figure out the show, the writing and the crew. He jumped in fearlessly. Like before, he did way more than anyone asked and he poured his heart and soul into that massive board. He was under a microscope. The board was a mess with genius ideas sprinkled all over it. He was almost fired after that one. But he kept at it and worked his ass off. Ricky kept pushing the envelope. His Tigre episodes are some of the most beloved, inventive, subversive and mischievous we made. He was so good, writers would request him to board their scripts. In 2008, El Tigre won the Annie for best show. It was for "The Grave Escape", a Day of the Dead themed two part episode Ricky boarded (with Eddie Trigueros). Ricky had come through yet again.

As time passed, we began to grow apart. He was fed up with the industry and turned me down when I asked him to board our last Disney pilot. He was done with the studios. The last time we had dinner, he scared me with some of his new radical and extreme ideas. He insulted everything we had worked on together. This was very painful to hear. He implied I was a sell out for selling the studios my personal stories, art and heart. I was furious and I said things to him I will always regret. When the bill came, he paid to mock me and we went our separate ways.

By this point, his personal comics got sadder, hilarious and heartbreaking. He was baring his soul. We should have all seen this coming. Maybe he wanted to meet one last time to say good bye. I'll never know.

All I know is that the Ricky I loved, the funny mischievous genius, the one that changed my life, that Ricky will stay with me forever. I will always tell his story and keep his memory alive.

Adios, hermano.
We will meet each other again some day.
I swear.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New SUPER MACHO shirts at !!!

Celebrate 5 de Mayo in style with a Super-Macho shirt!!!
Men, women and kids sizes available. You get 20% off if you type in the code "supermacho20"
If you buy one you can punch me five times in the face!
Dear ladies and machos, the brand new SUPER MACHO t-shirts are now available at !!!

If you buy one I'll let you punch me in the face.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Hola amigos!
Sandra and I are curating a little Day of the Dead inspired art show this Friday October 29th in our favorite gallery: Galllery Subtext down in sunny San Diego.

Here's a link to a preview of some of the amazing art (I especially LOVE Sandra's paper mache calaveras):
The show features 10 different artists from various cultural backgrounds who all happen have some sort of connection to the world of animation. The name of the show is DIA DE TUS MUERTOS which translates to DAY OF YOUR DEAD. The idea was to have every artist make the iconic Mexican holiday of "Dia de los Muertos" into their own muse.

Hope to see you guys there! Here are some of my paintings...







Friday, September 3, 2010

El Abejorro Mostachon!

This image is for a CRI CRI tribute art book.

Don Gabilondo Soler "Cri Cri"was a famous composer of children music in Mexico. Many of his songs had really amazing and quirky characters. The song I chose was about a pissed off bee who stung people because he was pissed. And he had a mustache. Yeah, he was hard core.
Hope you guys like it...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

La Calavera & El Valiente


I was recently invited to participate in an art book based on the Mexican game of Loteria. Different Mexican artist will be doing their take on each of the iconic cards. I have always loved this game and even made my first CalArts film about it. I always wanted to do my take on all the cards but I think this will have to do for now.

Here's my first card: LA CALAVERA

Here's my secong card: EL VALIENTE

Monday, March 1, 2010

La Wicked Witch!

Here's a character design from a project I'm experimenting with. I usually don't design girls since that is Sandra's domain. But when I do get to design one, I try to make them really hot! Hope you guys like her :)

Friday, February 19, 2010


Trying out some facial expressions on a new character I was playing around with.

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