Greetings friends my name is Zeke. I’m a cartoonist and illustrator from El Paso, TX.

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I was born at the foot of the mountains in Las Cruces, NM and grew up in the desert of El Paso, TX. I make comics and illustrations as an accessible way to remix history and explore complex issues. I have a degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin and I’m mostly self-taught in drawing and painting. I have published work with VICE.com, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. In 2018 I received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for my illustrations in the graphic biography Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide (Getty Publications 2017). I recently illustrated my first children’s book My Papi Has a Motorcycle written by author Isabel Quintero and published by Kokila, a Penguin Young Readers imprint in 2019.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my work. If you're an art director, designer or editor I'd love to hear from you about collaborating on something. (Photo by Sara Waldorf 2017)

 

 

PRESS BIO

Zeke Peña makes comics and illustrations as an accessible way to remix history and explore complex issues. He was born in Las Cruces, NM and grew up in El Paso, TX. He has a degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin and is self-taught in drawing and painting. He has published work with VICE.com, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. In 2018 he received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for a graphic biography he illustrated titled Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide. He recently illustrated his first children’s book My Papi Has a Motorcycle, that was published by Kokila, a Penguin Young Readers imprint in 2019.


Please Message for CV, Press Requests/Photos and Academic bio.

MESSAGE

 

 
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Quintero’s warm, economical text and the desert-sunset tones of Peña’s comics-inflected art feel like a revelation.
— The New York Times Book Review
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The detailed, evocative watercolor artwork and smoothly told story demonstrate the pair’s love for their neighborhood and each other.
— The Washington Post
 
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REVIEWS

for My Papi Has a Motorcycle; written by Isabel Quintero

Publishers Weekly – ★ Starred Review

Kirkus – Review

Booklist – ★ Starred Review

School Library Journal – ★ Starred Review

The Horn Book – ★ Starred Review

The New York Times Book Review – Review


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AWARDS + ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

for Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

2018 Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner

2019 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens

2018 Moonbeam Children's Books Gold Award Winner

NPR Best Books of 2018

Booklist Top 10 Arts Books for Youth: 2018

One of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2018

Photo by Sara Waldorf 2018.

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Near the beginning of this gorgeous book, the celebrated photographer Graciela Iturbide says: “I photograph and exist in the in-between: those spaces where unknown worlds, real and imagined, intersect.” This also is an apt description of the book itself, which revels in the in-between; mixing elements of photo essay, memoir and graphic novel to create a powerful biography that – like Iturbide herself – defies convention.
— Minh Lê for NPR Best Books 2018

Quintero and Peña’s biography of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide is far more than an account of her life . . . Eye-opening and masterfully rendered.
— BOOKLIST *Starred Review
I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone… There’s darkness and death; but it’s not a morbid story. It’s about learning to find who you are and be brave and true to yourself, and finding beauty in forgotten places and people.
— BLEEDING COOL
Mixing original illustrations, first-person prose, and lyrical interludes with gorgeous reproductions of photographer Graciela Iturbide’s work, Quintero and Peña patiently reveal their subject’s many angles, producing a “kaleidoscopic unraveling” of the artists… Teens will come away with an evolved sense of how to look at a creator’s life and work and how to think critically about art as a process. The importance of being seen, specifically in regard to indigenous communities in Mexico and Mexican Americans in the United States, as a narrative thread will resonate strongly with readers. VERDICT Quintero and Peña have set a new standard in artist biographies. A must for teen collections.
— SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL *Starred Review

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This 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award–winning biography introduces readers to “an icon. Orgullo mexicano. Maestra.” Photographer Graciela Iturbide’s (b. 1942) story is told in comic-panel format, with striking black-and-white illustrations, high-quality reproductions of her own photographs, and spare first-person narration drawing upon her writing and interviews; interspersed are section introductions in a more conversational third-person, direct-address text. Together the sections trace, in not-quite-linear fashion, Iturbide’s travels from her home of Mexico City to the neighborhoods of East L.A. and Tijuana; the pueblos of Oaxaca and Juchitán; Jaipur in India; Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Coyoacán; and beyond. We see the development of the many “obsessions” she is compelled to document and understand through her work: birds and the freedom of flight, death, life in “in-between” spaces, ritual, gender politics, the stories objects tell. Iturbide’s photography, frequently featuring strong women at the center of their indigenous communities, is intensely personal and culturally specific, yet universally resonant. Her philosophy is rooted in “intimacy and respect” (“I respect my subjects because I am subject, too. Always”) and in curiosity about liminal places where “the present and past,” “the indigenous and postcolonial,” “the real and the imagined” overlap. As author and illustrator document Iturbide documenting hersubjects, they embrace all of these elements of Iturbide’s ethos. A powerful homage to the five-decade evolution of an artist still working — and still evolving — today. Additional biographical information and a recommended reading list are appended. KATIE BIRCHER

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

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Beginning by thanking the teachers in the audience, calling them “keepers of culture, protectors of everything we value,” Peña spoke about how he came to illustrate the graphic biography, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero (Getty Publications). Peña, whose background is in community organizing, initially became familiar with the photographer while on a road trip through Mexico. When he and Quintero teamed up for the project, he made the decision to draw less from historical context, and more from Iturbide’s photographs themselves. However, he didn’t want his illustrations to be replicas of Iturbide’s images, but to instead express a similar “visual language.” As Iturbide often captured in her photographs, he hoped to distill something of the “in-between space,” or the moments that occur after laughter subsides, or artifice falls away. Throughout his process, he remained cognizant of the tricky line between “fact and imagination,” and how much leeway an author and artist have when creating a story of a person’s life.

Excerpt from A Gathering of Minds: A Hopeful and Incisive Bank Street Book Festival - By Matia Burnett | Publisher’s Weekly Oct 30, 2018

 

 
Art cannot change the world, but it can contribute to changing the consciousness and drives of the men and women who can.
— Herbert Marcuse : The Aesthetic Dimension