Robert Liu-Trujillo is an artist looking to craft change.
He knows how powerful art can be to inspire and make social change, especially for younger consumers of his and others’ work. With a new Kickstarter project out now, we sat down with Robert to talk about his art, how social justice informs his work, navigating the picture book industry, and so much more.
As Bruce Lee might say, we must start with dispelling what is not useful and replace it with what is useful. I won’t rehash any arguments comparing Shang-Chi to Black Panther which are based in speculation, impulse-tweeted, or otherwise made in bad faith. The phrase “Asian American Black Panther” has been tossed around (including by me), in various contexts, since Black Panther came out in 2018.
Oakland and the surrounding East Bay Area is a welcoming, casual town. The standard uniform of jeans and a hoodie is a ticket to pretty much anywhere: a Warriors game, a UC Berkeley lecture hall (as a student or even as the professor), a Michelin-star restaurant, R&B paint night at the Complex. The few exceptions are three-fold: the Piedmont School District, an available slice of sweet potato pie at Lois the Pie Queen after 10:00 AM, and Pixar Animation Studios.
I have lived in the East Bay for more than twelve years, and I have never gotten closer than peering through the iron gates while driving past to get my son to badminton practice. Until now.
To celebrate the upcoming in-home release of Bao and Incredibles 2, Pixar opened their gates to The Nerds of Color as well as other media outlets for dinner and interview opportunities with their creators.
It has been an experience watching people twist and bend, trying to slot Sorry to Bother You into some kind of familiar category. “It’s Michel Gondry married to Spike Jonze,” or “Wes Anderson by way of Charlie Kaufman.” Not only do these comparisons try to position this flawed masterpiece in a white filmmaker pantheon, but it also disrespects Boots Riley’s vision and execution. Let Riley live.
There isn’t a week that goes by that I’m not asked some version of the following questions: “How do you know about all this comic book stuff?” It is usually followed up by: “There is so much out there. How do you know if it is any good?”
Instead of rehashing here my plea for people to take risks on art and culture, I’ve decided to be more proactive.