The July 2011 Buzzer and Erick Villagomez: Buzzer illustrator interview!

The July 2011 Buzzer and Erick Villagomez: Buzzer illustrator interview!

The cover of the June 2011 Buzzer and the illustrator Erick Villagomex
The cover of the June 2011 Buzzer and the illustrator Erick Villagomez

If you’ve been on a bus, West Coast Express, SeaBus or SkyTrain in the past couple of weeks, you may have picked up the latest edition of the Buzzer. This edition was devoted to the theme of all the places transit can take you this summer (what little summer we’ve had so far). Perhaps you’ve never been to Buntzen Lake, or you’d like to check out Caribbean Days this weekend. I’ve provided the transit information that will get you there. I also have a quick blurb about I Love Transit Week and Night as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages. And of course, the usual Back Issues, Coming Events and Contest Corner sections are included in this issue. If you haven’t found this issue on transit yet, you can always visit the TransLink site to download this issue as a pdf.

The illustrator this month is Erick Villagomez. He’s been a long-time reader of the blog and newsletter. I’m thrilled he could finally lend his artistry to the Buzzer and make it fun! Here’s a short interview with Erick:

How did you come up with the Buzzer cover? Can you talk a bit about the other concepts?

The July Issue
The July Issue

Well, my inclination is to think in terms of narratives. So, upon receiving the theme, I really began by brainstorming stories I thought were interesting and engaging. The stories varied in tone and included some funnier ones — like one in which someone with a copious amount of summer gear entered a bus at rush hour and another that imagined the SeaBus as a “party yacht” with people sunbathing on the roof and playing all sorts of games as it crosses the Burrard Inlet.

Given the tight turnaround time, however, I didn’t have much time to do thumbnails for all my narratives. Thus, inspired by other artists like Shaun Tan and John Harris, I decided on a story around a “surreal Metro Vancouver summerscape” — a weird and wonderful landscape composed of fragments of Vancouver’s summer-oriented places. In the image, one sees references to specific beaches, mountains, urban environments, festivals and events that we all know as speaking to the “best of summer” in our region. However, they are all “compressed” into a small space, making for odd relationships, such as Playland’s Wave Swinger that is sitting on top of the building on the upper-right hand-side of the drawing. The roughness and “blurriness” of the image was meant to give a dreamlike feel.

The story? A person taking the SkyTrain on typical day mistakenly chances upon an unmarked stop – think Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4 — to our “surreal summerscape.” The image captures the moment the SkyTrain doors open to reveal this crazy landscape. Throngs of people in-the-know are making their way down the “yellow brick road” to the festivities, and the awe-struck newcomer is about to step off the train.

What kind of work are you doing lately, and where can we see it?

Despite drawing every single day, teaching drawing classes at various schools and having an archive of drawings of fictional narratives, this is my first official foray into illustration… something I hope to do more of in the future. So, this cover is “limited edition” for now… Pick them up while you can! :)

I’m better known for the various residential architecture and urban design projects I work on via my private practice, Metis Design|Build, as well as the information graphics and writing I do as the editor of Re:place Magazine, recently turned Spacing Vancouver.

Anyways, I hope this cover will be the first of many, and I think there is no better way to kick things off than to do an illustration for such a well-known and long-standing publication like the Buzzer. Not to mention, I’m a huge transit geek!

Do you have a regular transit route that you take? And do you have a favourite seat on the bus or SkyTrain?

Definitely. I teach at UBC and various other schools along the 99 B-line route so find myself frequently on that fine bus when I’m not biking around the city… It’s virtually a second home. I also take the SkyTrain a lot.
If one happens to be on B-line, you can catch me in the single or double seat within the bendy part of the articulated bus. I usually have my head in a book or will be drawing you as you stare at me. :)