I’m slightly suspicious of this particular assignment, could it be that once again I’m being judged for my non-mexican-i-ness? I think perhaps it could! Why did I recieve this project over the other people in my department? Perhaps is it because they want me to connect to my roots? You will be happy to know that I learned a ton of stuff about Mexico this time around. For instance, do you know that Mexico is under the United States?! Get out! I’m actually joking about that one. However, I was disgusted by the responses I got when polling a group of third graders this past week. I kind of felt that we didn’t need this shot above and that it would be more than ok to cut it. I mean, who doesn’t know where Mexico is, right? My boss argued the fact that most kids DO not know where America is in the grand scheme of things, let alone where Mexico is in relation to the nation. I called her bluff and asked a posse of third graders on their way to a field trip on my morning commute. Out of the twenty-eight kids I polled on the subway platform only six knew that Mexico was beneath the United States, four of those kids were actually FROM Mexico. The most popular answers were “In Africa” and the winning, “In Spain.” Needless to say, the shot stayed put. Sick, sick, sick. . .
Below we have a close up so that we can explain the compass rose to the kids and get them to start thinking about direction. This is our first movie where we really start to explain the concept of a map.
Do you know that Mexico has thirty-one states? I did not. I REALLY did not, not jokingly did not. I’m embarrassed to admit, I didn’t even know that Mexico had states, I was under the loose impression that Mexico was made up of territories, herein lies one of the many gaps in the knowledge of my cultural heritage. . . .
Mexico is also made up of many different types of land mass, namely mountains, deserts, rainforests and beaches. Hum. . . yeah didn’t know that either. It was my belief that Mexico was manly dirt, dirt and hot water. This stems from the root of most of my Mexican knowledge, oddly enough passed down from my mother, the gringo, and centering on the movie “The Three Amigos.”
Yes, there are also Mexican volcanos. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for Mexico’s sake) they are not the dramatic, fiery and spectacular volcanos like those you would find in Hawaii. I was very enthusiastic about including the volcanos as I read about them in the script. I did a complete storybord illustrating the dramatic scene with hot fiery lava and red blood firework like explosions. I was berated for my lack of Mexican knowledge and then forced to research them, upon which I found something akin to the illustration below. Now I am fully knowledgable of volcanos, dormant and otherwise in Mexico.
Below you’ll find some shots of Tenochitilan, the ancient Aztec civilization that existed where modern day Mexico City now rests. Aha! Something I know about! I wasn’t aware of the actual name of the city but I knew all about it, thanks to one crazy summer in middle school where my mom took it upon herself to continue our education by building her own little Aztec city in our livingroom. We learned all about Aztecs that summer, about their forms of government, their bartering system, their war rituals and their beliefs. Go mom! We even earned beans that summer in lieu of an allowence which, come to think of it, might have been the real reason for the Aztec summer school. . . .
Most people know me know about my sun worshipping tendancies. They know that my company logo on my website is actually the scientific shorthand for the sun and that I wear a gold sun around my neck more often than not. My obsession is part of what made my rendition of an ancient Aztec sun dial so fun, that and the fact that Aztecs knew how to make one wicked set of scuptures. This is my favorite thing I’ve ever had to do for my job and I’ve included a few close-ups. I like the women facing eachother best, but my coworkers like the monsters around the center.
We talk all about turquoise, which made for some fun research and a bit of retail therapy (oops.)
This illustrates a basketball-like Aztec sport with a horizontal ring and the same relative rules as soccer, except if you lost you were sacrificed in a bath of blood. We left that last fact out for the kiddies.
These final illustrations are all about Dios De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. My coworker did the background for a different project about migration and I stole it to put my dancing dead skeletons on. It’s beautiful isn’t it? The dancing skeletons were a blast to animate. My next movie is about Reading Maps in honor of National Geography day, so it looks like the memory of this fantastically fun movie that actually taught me a bit about my origins will have to last me a while. National Geography Day, sheesh, how many national days do we need?! Boo.