Yuko Shimizu
March 2009
Thank you Amarillo, Thank you Mexico!
5 hour flight to Mexico City, 5 hour wait, 1 more hour of flight, then 2 more hours of drive on the highway. Xalapa was far. Really far. With flight delays and all that,  it was just about 16 hours door to door. 
On top of that, every time I land in Mexico City I get severe migraine and nausea. It is probably due to the high altitude and pollution. This time was no exception. During the transit, stupid Yuko decided to take a taxi to meet up with a friend, got stuck in traffic, became severely ill upon arrival, went straight to her bathroom, and stuck there for a while, then make a u-turn right back to the airport again.
So, when I arrived to the final airport, and was told there will be two more hours of drive, I seriously thought I was going to die.
Like Diego Rivera's paintings, these flowers are everywhre!
Despite all that, this was one of the best trips I had ever taken. Xalapa is the capital of Veracruz. It is a big city with small town feel. An town filled with beautiful architectures and good old Mexican tradition and culture. Also it is a college town filled with young energy. People are ridiculously nice, food is amazing (never going back to those American-Mexican again!), and vibe is just fantastic.
Xalapa is always covered in fog. Very moody at night...
Lecture was held at Agora, a new and large conference hall. Thank you for the full house audience!
I was invited by Amarillo Centro de Diseño, a rather small but respected design organization run by three cool designers (and some interns) to have a lecture and a show.  The best way to describe their space is: it is like Giant Robot of Mexico. They have gallery space, as well as store that sells Hecho-en-Mexico designer books and toys.
I like traveling and I enjoy doing lectures, but this was so different. I had never been so welcomed. A lot of the audience came from all over Mexico, including a group of students and a professor who took 9 hour bus ride all the way from Oaxaca!
Thank you Amarillo, thank you Mexico, for a wonderful memories. I hope to come back again (despite of 16 hours, oh yeah!).
Owner of Amarillo, Aida and I cutting the ribbon for the opening of the show.
It doesn't happen in the US or Europe, but it seems like a norm in Mexico that you autograph for everyone.
being interviewed on camera....
Amarillo's store. they have some amazing hecho-en-Mexico toys and design products.
When do I get to be on the front page of a newspaper??? NEVER!
everybody at Amarillo. Thank you for a wonderful time!!!
Mexico bound...
this is the poster. A3 size, three color separation silk screen
Day light savings time has started, but it feels like there is no end to New York winter. I am flying out to Mexico tomorrow. To Xalapa, a town I have never heard of, but looked really nice on limited information I got from internet search.
Amarillo Centro de Diseño, a design organization located in this town had invited me to have a talk and a show for Mexican illustrators and designers.  If anyone who is reading this happened to be near by, please come by. Here is the info.
Amarillo asked me to create a poster to announce the talk. I wanted to make “Japan meets Mexico” theme, but wanted to avoid the common stereotypes. So, no sombrero, no cactus, no pyramid, no tacos and, sorry Marcos, No Chihuahuas. At the end I decided to go with, one of my Mexican obsessions: Lucha Libre. Amarillo means yellow in Spanish, so it totally looks like that’s my figher name, or something. Let’s leave it as that.
Posters are currently being printed one by one by hands of silk-screeners of Xalapa. I am very excited.
I will be back on Monday. I will let you know how it went.
I downloaded bunch of Lucha Libre images for references and inspirations. Yes, including Nacho Libre poster!
Here is the pencil rough poster idea I created before proceeding to the next step.
If you stare at this image for about 10 seconds, you are supposed to see the three color separation process I made for the silk screeners.
Amarillo space getting ready for the show. I get to see this space tomorrow. Beautiful tile work!
yes, SPECTRUM!!!
Donato Giancola announcing the award. You can watch the video on Spectrum site.
I just found out I have received a silver medal from SPECTRUM 16. Yes, that SPECTRUM, where sci-fi and fantasy artists are awarded.  Yeah! Is it for real????????
When you see my work, you probably don’t think about this genre, I know. But, I have to comfess, I was a huge sci-fi fantasy geek in middle school drooling over Frazetta, Boris and Jeffrey Jones, reading Moorcock and C.L. Moore.  This is something I wish I can go back in time and tell the 14 year old me! Thank you thank you thank you judges.
This job was done about a year ago for Microsoft’s website UltimatePC (site is now gone). Microsoft hired multiple artists; photographers, illustrators and animators to create work using PC (instead of MAC which we are more used to) to promote the high graphic performance of PC.
This is the site UltimatePC which unfortunately not around anymore. This site had some fun works by Photographers and animators as well.
This is Falcon! Red and shiny! And I became bilingual at shortcut keys, which I am really proud.
I was given the top of the line machine Falcon custom colored to my taste (red of course) with all the software pre-installed.  Their request was to create a series of five images or more. I asked them what they were looking for. They said “your personal work”. They didn’t even bother to look at my sketches. Well, I sent some to them anyway, and all they said was “they look great”.
Under current economic crisis, this sounds unreal, like a voice from heaven. Yes, I did it myself, but it still doesn’t sound real to me. Probably one of the best jobs I have ever given.  I guess, we do our best work when we are trusted and given total freedom.
These are the sketches I sent to my client. Now I look at them, one of them I didn't even create at the end, and the award winning piece doesn't even have sketches...
this is the drawing before I colored it. Matt Rota helped me a lot with this process. He colored the base for the finished images as I was still working on other images.
These are other images in this series.
Thank you Microsoft for this awesome project, Pamela Esposito for getting me this gig, Matt Rota for helping me with complicated coloring process. 
how is Armory Show doing in this economy?
I want this couch! so bad!
My studio-mate Marcos Chin and I ran to the Armory Show on the opening day. Dow is in the 6000’s, GM on the verge of bankruptcy, there is no light in the long tunnel of economic crisis. How would Armory be doing this year? We wanted the answer.
I have only missed one Armory Show in past ten years, which was last year. Economy was booming like insane, and I was busy to the extremes, working with an advertising client who had lots of money and somehow decided that justifies them to mentally torture me over the course of a few months. I was just over stressed and didn’t have energy or time to go step out of my studio to enjoy art.
What a difference this year? Paintings, paintings, drawings, drawing and more drawings, and photos…, basically things are mostly immovable objects on walls. Large-scale installations, video and other new media works, which were like signature of Armory Show for years, were hard to find.  Where did the ‘death of paintings’ go?
Marcos and my honest opinion to the works were: that it was the best Armory Show we have seen in years. May be we are biased? But it is true we had seen stronger paintings and drawings than ever. And, lots of representational works, I mean, the good ones.
However, of course, there is a catch: Where are the red stickers? Where are the people? The show was deserted, red stickers hard to find. If those strong paintings and drawings are not selling, then where is the hope for painters and drawers?
Sales figures will not be official for the next few days. I am sure we would be able to read about it in NY Times or New York Magazine in a week or so. Till then, just enjoy the best Armory Shows in decade! Show is open till Sunday.
Akino Kondoh's painting was one of our favorite in the show. We met the sweet Akino too! She lives in New York with Japanese goverment grant for a year. We will have brunch soon. Yay.
some of Akino's paintings details. So beautiful and rich in colors. Confident brush strokes. She said she has just started painting. She is known for drawings, comics and animations, which are also fantastic, but not at the show.
I'm a long time fan of Fred Tomaselli....
Samuel Boutruche and Benjamin Moreau. Concept is everything.
Hope Gangloff had a whole wall full of her obsessive ball-point pen drawings. Even better in person!
I made a new friend at the show!
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Shimizu is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!
Yuko Shimizu website