Monday, May 2, 2011

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours - Duncan Tonatiuh

Diego Rivera:His World And Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh

Along with introducing Digeo Rivera and his work to readers, the author touches upon styles used. Such as classical and cubism. Defining both easily into the text.

"Diego went to Paris, the captial of France. There he met young artists who were painting in new and exciting ways. He experimented with these new methods of painting himself. One method was called Cubism, in which the painting did not exactly resemble its subject but was composed of geometric shapes such as squares, circles and triangles."

The first half, His World, is about Diego Rivera. In the second half Tonatiuth wonders what Rivera would paint if he was alive today. I love the then and now comparisons.

"Or would he paint the luchadores wrestling in their costumes. just as he painted the Aztec warriors fighting the invading soldiers. The Spanish conquistadores?"

I love Tonatiuh's artistic style. The more I look at it the more I appreiciate it. And I can't stop looking.

This biography stands out because of the great back matter. The one page author's note includes all the facts about Diego Rivera that couldn't fit in the text. There's also a glossary of words and references. Mural and Quetzalcoatl are two of the terms defined.

There are a few children's biographies about Diego Rivera . Tonatiuh's sophomore release is a great addition, with it's own personal distinctions.

The author's debut, Dear Primo recieved four honors last year including a Pura Belpre honor

When I reviewed Dear Primo, the author was kind enough to answer a question about his artisic style.

"My art is mostly inspired by ancient Mixtec codex. Most of those codex were done in the eleventh century I believe. I am attaching some images.I draw by hand but I color and collage texture into my drawings in photoshop. I developed my style while I was doing my BFA thesis at Parsons School of design.

I looked at a lot of Pre-Columbian art from Mexico and the Americas to develop the look of my thesis project. When I saw the Mixtec codex I was particularly struck. Something clicked. I really like the design of the images -the geometry and the repetition of colors and forms. I find them very musical.
I adopted a lot of the aesthetic choices in those codex, like the fact that people are always seen in profile or the proportions, which differ from the classical western standards. I did not want to simply imitate those drawings though. Using digital techniques was a way for me to make those images contemporary and also make them my own.

Basically I try to combine something that looks very ancient with something that looks very modern. I am from Mexico, and Mexico has such a rich visual tradition. I want to keep those traditions alive but I also want to innovate and make those ancient aesthetics relevant and accessible to kids and people today.

I think what I do is a little bit like sampling. The way a dj/producer samples a base line, or guitar section, mixes it with a new drum beat etc and makes a new song. "

Tonatiuh's art

I've linked this post to the non fiction monday. This weeks round up can be found at Jean's Little Library.

No comments: