ScholaR Comics at Latino Comics Expo + Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach!

Super excited to announce that I'll be a featured panelist at the Latino Comics Expo in Long Beach, California this year! The panel will feature several other Latina artists speaking on their experience as women in an industry that is still pretty heavily influenced by men artists and a male fan based. I will also be tabling throughout the conference August 6th and 7th and sharing some new work. 

ScholaR Comics is also now featured for the first time in a museum at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach! The exhbition, Artists Assemble! Empowerment and Inspiration in Contemporary Comics, features many Latinx artists who promote Latinx history, culture, and movements through comics with truly unique artistic visions. I am very humbled to have ScholaR Comics making an impact from my personal stories growing up in Texas, to my current home in Chicago, and now to California!  

"Identity as Resistance" Presentation at Knox College

This past February, I was invited by the MEChA students at Knox College to speak on my comics, Chola culture, and art as activism. I put together a presentation entitled "Identity as Resistance" that discussed the history of pachucas  and their evolution into chola community and then dove into my own reality as a young Latina/Chicana growing up in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. The title of the presentation came from my desire to emphasize the overarching point that poor youth for generations have fought against the white establishment's imposed expectations on our existence.

knox

By creating a name for themselves, Pachucas and Cholas and Chicanas have shown an awareness of the oppression of their communities and have stood up to them. Black and Brown communities have suffered greatly at the hands of exploitative employers, discriminatory school systems, and the police.  Their name carried resistance, their attire carried resistance, and their commitment to protect their gente carried mass resistance against imposed institutional violence on their communities. A key theme of the discussion was to explore how working class Chicanx and Latinx youth have fought against these unjust conditions and to draw parallels to how working class youth have continued the fight today. 

Talking about myself and lived realities that marked my youth has never been easy but I've been able to  ease into it by way of the stories in my comics. Growing up, everyone around me from a very young age was telling me to toughen up. From the girls who pulled me into the bathroom to "teach me how to fight" (it was a weak fight lesson), to the boys who were sexually harassing me in the middle of class, to my own father stumbling home drunk on weeknights, the world seemed to just tell me to "toughen up and deal with it". I dealt with it by busting my butt in school to get the hell out the hood but many of my friends weren't given that opportunity. I got into a good university, left home, but was then left alone to deal with the consequences of always being "tough". Anger was my emotional default but in excess it developed into bouts of depression and anxiety that hit harder than I'm willing to publish here. Throughout the years, activism provided a healthy outlet for my anger and art has provided a healthy medium for my emotional growth.

I haven't dove this deep into ScholaR as a character, but this is the reality from which her stories are born. "The chola in scholar" started as a humorous saying. As I developed stories to ScholaR, however, I realized that I was telling the stories of many youth of color born into a cycle of poverty that told them to grow up too quickly and with little emotional guidance. I hope to continue the series always keeping this in mind.

All of this and more was discussed with Knox students and faculty. I am very thankful to them for inviting me to speak, I greatly appreciated their contributions to the discussion, and I hope to do visits to other universities in the future. 

Learning duality with Persepolis

I've been a little behind on blogging and I apologize for that. I know there are some fans and educators who are still curious about my work so I'm hoping to get a little better about keeping a blogging schedule. In either case, I want to share some of the most recent activities in the "My Comics My Story" program.

At the start of every class we read from a familiar comic or graphic novel. For this session we read the first five or so pages of Persepolis. There is an image in Persepolis in which Marjane has an internal battle between staying true to her family's drive to learn about the sciences and seek justice in their society or to conform to the rules being set forth by the new state rulers that are strict and rely heavily on religious tradition. 

Image from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

After discussing the events that led up to Marjane's internal conflict, students drew parallels between Marjane's reality and their own. Their assignment was to vocalize or write about these parallels and then create a split image to go with it. Below is a picture of some of the students' work (my own is the one at the bottom). 

The idea for this assignment was passed down to me by my friend Silvia Gonzalez who herself is an art teacher in Chicago. The exercise was a practice in self reflection, uncovering identity, and turning words into images. Some of the students drew themselves while others created characters to represent themselves. Some students had elaborate colors to their drawings while others grew discontent at their ability to draw and marked through their entire work (as you can see mid left). On a more personal level I was able to see how the students viewed themselves and hear stories that I may not have heard other wise. On a more practical level I was also able to see reading, writing, drawing and general cognitive understandings of art that are going to continue to shape my session. 

On that note, my next post will have some pretty dope drawings of anime characters and Captain Underpants. Stay tuned =)

ScholaR Comics Featured on Latina Magazine and HuffPost Latino Voices!

It has been very exciting to see ScholaR Comics be recognized by Latina Magazine and again by HuffPost Latino Voices! I will keep this short by saying that the outpouring of support and love for ScholaR Comics as a result of the article has been nothing short of amazing. Messages have been coming in from New York to California and back down to Texas of fans who see their stories being told through ScholaR. I truly had no idea ScholaR Comics would become this well received in such a short amount of time. Right now I can only say thank you and repay you all by creating more honest stories and illustrations and dreaming bigger. Thank you.

Click here to view the full Latina Magazine article

"My Comics, My Story" is back at Hernandez Middle School!

Welcome to 2016 ScholaR fans! I'm hella happy to announce that I will for sure be continuing the "My Comics, My Story" after school program at Hernandez Middle School! As a recap, the intention of this program is to use comics as a medium to honestly discuss social issues relevant to the lives of middle school students. At our last session in November, students engaged in very honest discussion about the segregation of boys and girls in their after school programs. Students, for example, were very aware that the Lego Robotics Club had a lot of boys and the few girls in the club were beginning to feel uncomfortable. Students were also very aware that the Baking Club had a lot of girls and the few boys in the club were similarly beginning to feel like they could not fit in. We discussed at length the importance of pursuing our interests and working together to create welcoming environments that did not gender students' interests at school and made everyone feel comfortable learning together. It was a great discussion that led us to discuss many other related topics that students then illustrated in short comics. I will post pictures soon of some of their comics!

As the program continues into this semester, I am hoping to discuss more social issues with the students including issues of race, school violence, showing love and appreciation and whatever else students may want to discuss. At the end of the day, my hope is that students become comfortable questioning and confronting what they know is unjust, as well embracing and fostering the growth of what they know in their hearts is right. Stay tuned for more updates as we get the "My Comics, My Story" program started up again!

Introducing: "My Comics, My Story" after school program!

"My Comics, My Story" is an after school program taking place at Irene Hernandez Middle School in the Midway neighborhood of South west Chicago. It is a one of kind program that uses ScholaR Comics as a springboard for engaging middle school students in social issues that affect them and their school. As part of the program, students engage in discussion about issues such as race and gender, and then learn techniques to tell stories through comics and visual illustration. Students then take time to freely create comics of their own. Implemented in November of 2015, I hope to continue the program into the 2016 Spring semester. Stay tuned!

 

 

ScholaR Comics at Pilsen Open Studios! Oct 24-25

ScholaR Comics is super excited to be invited to be a part of "Cartoons with a Conscious" as part the 13th Annual Pilsen Open Studios. Two ScholaR Comics prints will be on display at Carlos and Dominguez Gallery off of Cullerton and Ashland along with several other talented comics of color. Pilsen Open Studios runs from Saturday October 24th through Sunday October 25th. Carlos and Dominguez Gallery will run the show during regular gallery hours through November 15th. Check out the Facebook event here for more information. 

Read more about Pilsen Open Studios and find an interactive map at ChicagoArtistMonth.org.

Special thanks to Eric J Garcia for inviting ScholaR Comics to be a part of the show and thanks to Carlos and Dominguez Gallery for hosting.