Sunday, November 11, 2007

First dust of snow in Illinois

I was there in Illinois wearing my sandals and no sleeves a few days ago, right before my birthday. Coming from visiting Tucson, I had forgotten about the weather difference, and I found myself completely unprepared for the cold. Yet the kids and the teachers at Lakewood School and Hampshire High school made my visit a warm event.

Ands so, here are some of the things I saw in Illinois:
From Lakewood School, six grade creations! Notice the inclusion of iconic skeletons in some of their drawings, an homage to Sr, Calavera.

Some questions kids in Illinois wanted to ask but didn’t have a chance (these question I got from letters that Mr. Avila’s Class wrote, most of them were written in Spanish, so I am doing my best at translating):

Kid’s Question: Where in Mexico do you come from?
Yuyi’s Answer: From Xalapa, the Flowered City, in the hot state of Veracruz.

K.Q.: How old were you when you came to the USA?
Y.A.: 25

K.Q.: Did you have papers to cross the border or did you come as a mojada, a wetback?
Y.A.: When I crossed the border, I did it with what is called a Fiancé Visa, which meant I was allowed to come into the USA to marry the man I loved, who was a USA citizen. So, I didn’t get here as a mojada, instead I carried my baby walking through a hot concrete bridged that linked Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with El Paso, Texas, where the immigration office reviewed my visa and finally let me in. Being Mexican, a new mother, and 25, I wasn’t granted a regular tourist visa, which was all I really wanted.

K.Q.: How long does it take to write a story?
Y.A.: some books I write fast; my book Just A Minute took me less than a week. Other stories I am still writing and are taking me years!

K.Q.: Where do you live?
Y.A.: Near San Francisco, California, in a place named Pleasant Hill, and it really is a Monte Placentero!

K.Q.: Did you create Señor Tlalocan?
Y.A.: Señor Tlalocan is another name for the Aztec God Tlaloc, the maker of rain, lighting and thunder. Tlaloc lived in a lush paradise called the Tlalocan, a place where everything grew. My Señor Tlalocan is just a Yuyi-version of this deity.
Click here to get a template that can be printed and cut to make a Señor Tlalocan that moves his arms and legs. For you!

K.Q.: How old were you when you got interested in writing for children?
Y.A.: I was 26, I had just gotten to the USA and fell in love with children’s books in the public library. I wanted to write and illustrate my own. I had a lot of learning to do.

K.Q.: Are you married?
Y.A.: I am married to Tim, a tall and skinny gringo whom I love with all my Spanish.

K.Q.: Did you go to the University?
Y.A.: I graduated from P.E school and from Psychology, both at the Universidad Veracruzana in my country.

K.Q.: How many children do you have?
Y.A.: One, he is a 13-year-old skyscraper.

K.Q.: Are you impressed with what you have accomplished?
¿Esta admirada de usted misma?

Y.A.: I am feliz with myself and what I do! It makes me happy to be able to create and share my work. When I was growing up, I never though of myself as an artist, but I wished I could be one. Now, I am impressed of how much can be accomplished if ones sets to work for it.

K.Q.: What is your real name?
Y.A.: You can hear me talk about my real name by going to this link and clicking on the red rectangle where it says “Listen Now”

K.Q.: Why don’t you make a book about Cantinflas?
Y.A.: what a great idea!

K.Q.: Can you give me a drawing of Cantinflas?
Y.A.: Here is one. This is from the sketch I made for one of the illustration of Los Gatos Black on Halloween:

K.Q.: What county you like best USA or Mexico?
Y.A.: Mexico is my Corazon, my heart; it makes palpitate the energy that runs inside me. The United States is the place where, with work and dedication, I am being able to follow my dreams. They are very different to me, and I love them both.

Mr. Avila Question: Do you think that your art is influenced by the art of the Muralist Diego Rivera?
Y.A.: I am sure my art is influenced by Diego Rivera’s art, because my work is the result of all the things that are part of my growing up, my memories, and the images I love, including those saw in my text books at school, in the movies my parents took me to see, and in magazines and books. Diego Rivera is one of my favorite artists, but I also admired another muralist whose work I saw in my text book at school. His name is Jorge Gonzales Camarena

Things I heard in Illinois (at Lakewood):
Take me with you!

And, to finish, how I look like to some of the children in Illinois (this one is from Karla and additional art by Rocio):

What a great day in Illinois!

Late Happy Birthday, Dakwane the artist!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great visit by Yuyi. She is truly an inspiration to all she meets.