Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brilliant Book Benches

In 1999 I helped create the Benchmark Project in the East Village of San Diego as part of the Urban Art Trail. Here are some of the artistic benches created by local artists that were auctioned off to raise funds for Art Education programs.

I was thrilled to see these beguiling book benches now gracing the streets of London. What an incredible idea to promote literacy by paying tribute to stories like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, Through the Looking Glass and other stories linked to London. The inventive book shaped benches created in connection with Wild in Art by professional illustrators and local artists will be auctioned off in October to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust. Their objective is to build literacy levels for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.  Here are a few photos with thanks to photographers who posted their shots of London on Instagram. To see all the benches visit the Books About Town website.  Brilliant!

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Diedre on Instagram

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shayneejay on Instagram

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Poster Poster

Thanks to Poster Poster for featuring the ReImagine poster I created for the Americas Latino Eco Festival on Poster Monday yesterday. Seemed like a good time to look back at some of the other posters I've created over the years for a variety of organizations, political and social causes. The idea is the important thing when coming up with a poster. I start by thinking about the audience and how to communicate a message with impact.

When working on a series like the Americas Latino Eco Festival I wanted to find a fresh approach as so many concepts had already been tried. Although I observe trends my goal with these posters was to search for simple, concise ideas that would send a message.

I start with lots of words and thumbnail drawings to get the ideas
flowing. The five Rs of conservation are reduce, reuse, recycle, restore and
replenish. I played off this mantra by adding to that list with reflect, re-flourish,
reawaken and re-imagine.

Once I had these themes I was challenged to unite the
poster series yet keep each individual poster compelling. I decided to design a
background element and leaf/teardrop shape that is a repeating element used in
different ways. You can find it in the bird wings, flower petals, tears and
leaves. Then I consistently implemented textures I had photographed in my
hometown of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to add emotion to the posters. The
deconstructed type designed by Lulubi Garcia is also a unifying element.

The posters below became official campaign posters of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns targeting Latino voters. I employed textural affects and motifs this demographic would connect to. Latinos have no chromphobia so my approach to color was to interpret the vision and determination of the President in vibrant hues they would relate to. I spend long hours developing painting techniques and photographing textures that I can add digitally to my compositions.

2008 poster for candidate Obama

2012 Re-election poster for the President

One World Many Stories Reading Progrqam

National Book Festival Poster illustration, Type design by the Library of Congress

San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival

Southern California Fire Relief Poster

Bird Day Illustration for a poster. 
Type design by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Concert Poster

Gator by the Bay Music Festival

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Librarians Take Over Vegas!

!Viva Las Vegas and Books!

I've always been drawn to unusual juxtapositions and this past weekend 13,000 librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, agents, teachers and book fans descended on Vegas for the ALA Convention.
Here's some photos to document the weekend.

At the 2014 American Library Association Conference I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with old and new friends, sign books and bring home a Pura Belpré honor for illustration of Tito Puente Mambo King, El Rey del Mambo.

Two exceptional women -Literary Agent Stefanie Von Borstel  and HarperCollins Senior Editor Rosemary Brosnan

I'm so grateful to the well organized, enthusiastic team at of our publisher Rayo, an imprint of HarperCollins who artfully arranged every detail at the conference and made this book happen. Gracias Rosemary Brosnan, Patty Rosati and all of the dedicated individuals who crafted an unforgettable celebration. 

Friends at the Pura Belpré Party the night before

Pura Belpré honoree, extraordinary author Margarita Engle

Grateful to attend the Pura Belpré celebration with my amazing literary agent Stefanie Von Borstel of Full Circle Literary. Thanks to author Monica Brown and agent Adriana Dominguez who were there with us in spirit.
"In this vibrant, bilingual portrayal of Tito Puente, the King of Mambo, Rafael López conveys the rhythm and movement of this musical legend through the use of bold colors, swirly lines, and carefully placed word art".

Lastly to the Association for Library Service to Children/American Library Association's Pura Belpré Committee for their kind words and for recognizing this book I painted to pay tribute to a legendary musician.