As a 32-year-old woman frequently mistaken for a 16-year-old boy, writer Mandy Hu caught a performance by gender-bending comedian D’Lo and found it a revelation. In a profile of D’Lo in this issue, San Francisco-based Hu thinks readers will be surprised by “the expansiveness and flexibility of first-generation immigrant parents’ love for their weirdo kids.” What does she hope readers will take away from the story? “I want a shorthaired girl who sometimes wears it twice as long, George Harrison says. By which I mean I hope readers will think about their preferences and choices around their own gender presentations.”
Having grown up in the Aloha State, Chris Danger was happy to create illustrations for this issue’s feature on prisoners from Hawaii. But he also loves the South (his father is from Mississippi) and its food most of all. “Particularly Cajun food. Crawfish boils, alligator sausage, gumbo, po’boys — I love all that stuff,” Danger says, whose clients include Comedy Central, The Washington Post and Time Out Chicago. His illustrations also accompany Dharushana Muthulingam’s story on race and genetic data in the Health section. See more of his work at chrisdanger.com.
Between 2002 and 2004, Berkeley, CA-based artist Indigo Som traversed the country visiting Chinese restaurants, collecting menus and memories from owners, employees and customers (some of her photographs from her explorations through the South are showcased in this issue’s Exposure section). One of the goals of her Chinese Restaurant Project was “to make people see Chinese restaurants,” but she notes that an unfortunate pattern in media coverage of her project was the lack of acknowledgement of her artistic process or formal considerations. “It’s important to recognize that artists of color are not just engaged in a conversation with and about our particular ethnic and political communities, but also with and about art history. These things are not really separate for us.” Som seeks help in collecting a takeout menu from every Chinese restaurant in the USA. Send menus to Indigo Som, PO Box 5053, Berkeley, CA 94705. More details at indigosom.com.
Brooklyn, NY-based photographer Carolyn Fong sought to capture blogger/entrepreneur Jenna Park in her element, as natural and authentic as possible. “I wanted to create portraits that captured her as a designer, separate from her identity as a mother or wife. When the kids are around, it’s easy to just fall back on showcasing her as ‘Mom,’ but her identity — any person’s identity, really — is always so much more than that one role.” During her childhood, Fong spent whole summers in Daytona Beach, FL, and clearly remembers the sounds of the Daytona 500 cars roaring all day and night. “Of course, one of my favorite memories of being there is driving on the beach!”
As an illustrator and designer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Book Review section, who also previously contributed to The New York Times Book Review, Shannon May continues a long history of book-related assignments with an illustration accompanying Abigail Licad’s story on self-published Asian American authors. “I wanted to try to communicate the idea of books opening your mind up to the world and self-publishing being a way to do that — while at the same time spewing an awesome rainbow burst from your brain.” May’s clients include: McSweeney’s, O Magazine, ReadyMade Magazine, Harvard Business Review and The Bold Italic. Favorite Southern pastimes? “I love me some contra dancing and old-time bluegrass jam sessions.”
San Francisco-based graphic designer Viet Huynh created the chalk lettering on this issue's cover. "I was inspired by the great chalk lettering artists Dana Tanamachi and Jessica Hische and a lot of my talented friends from the Dribbble design community, who surprise me with their awesome type pieces every day. All those vintage hand-painted signs around the city also helped me through the process of creating this piece." Born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, Huynh has never been to the South, but "crawfish and shrimp gumbo have always been in my favorite food list." He also claims an undying love for pho.