When we created the Portfolio of the Week section, the idea was not only to show off a bunch of infographics from some information designers across the world. We wanted to offer a place where these talented folks could talk about their careers, their lives and their other projects. Sometimes that isn’t possible, for several reasons – time, most of all, life in the newsrooms is always on the run.
But once in a while, it happens. Like the one we’re bringing today. Guillemo Munro is a talented infographic designer and artist who is currently at the China Daily as a Visual Design Editor. Before that, he was at the Gulf News (Dubai). He also worked at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Arizona Daily Star and The Dallas Morning News. And even before, in Mexico – where he is from – Guillermo was the Art Department Coordinator at Mural (Guadalajara, Jalisco) and El Imparcial (Hermosillo, Sonora). This one was his first newspaper job.
An impressive career for someone who spent a couple of years in college “where I managed to goof off.”, says Guillermo. “I Never went to art school or J-school. I did take design classes in The community college I was in. And I took some painting classes. I had an amazing mentor, memuco would not exist if it was not for him. RIP Michael Schnorr.”
But, like we said, this is not only about infographics. With you, Guillermo Munro.
“I love to paint, illustrate and design. I love news and information, sometimes I combine both in my Artwork and sometimes I just stick to what I do. During the day I work doing Infographics at China Daily in Beijing China. And at night I sometimes go home to paint or illustrate or try to learn something new.
My art and my graphics from the Memuco Public Broadcast system (MemucoPBS), are more about the environment, endangered species.
At work, well, I do a lot of what is coming my way but I always try to propose series about endangered species and global warming.
My latest focus is on “The silent One”, a girl (who is the daughter of “La Catrina”, lady death) and “El Nahual” a being that converts between human and animal. She is given the task to take, or put to sleep the last animal of each endangered species. In this mandate she needs to make sure that they are happy when they go to sleep. But since she is part animal herself, and loves animals like no other thing, each time she takes one she feels incredible pain. For her, but also because the Earth gets a bigger void and becomes more unstable. So she cries in silence. You only see the black streaks come down on her cheeks. This series goes hand in hand with graphics I produce for each animal that she is taking.
Appart from that, I guess in terms of what I do and who I am this year has been one of the most amazing in my life. The end of last year was pretty rough for personal reasons. I had just moved to Beijing, my girlfriend at the time and I broke up and in Beijing it is harder to make friends. In Dubai, I made tons and tons and very good ones.
So when I woke on the 1st of January I wrote in my Facebook: ’2012, bring it on!’
And in my head I had this mandate to myself. Work hard. Work as hard as you ever done in your life for one year. And see what happens.
So I did. I got in there swinging. In January, I was part of an Illustrators show in Dubai. In February, I flew to LA because Supremebeing’s White Canvas Project (UK) was going to happen. It was such a beautiful and amazing experience! I got to paint with “the big boys”.
I prepared for that while also working very hard at China Daily, creating news styles visiting the WWF offices and establish communication with them. My graphics at work started to be so different.
During those months, I worked harder than ever in the newspaper but also in graphics of endangered species. Sometimes I would not even sleep. I came out in 2 blogs in china about Design, I painted live in 798 arts district in Beijing, got nominated for Design for Asia awards, in Hong Kong, and I got to the final round of the Information is Beautiful Award.
This was unprecedented for me. I did not win, but it is something already achieved. I had fought neck to neck with people who really understand what they are doing. The one that won IS a piece of art.
And to my suprise the one competing till the end was the Rhino graphic. One of the Memuco PBS!!.
My graphics on Tumblr took off (some, not all), the graphics in Behance, Visually, and DeviantArt were getting incredible amount of comments and reblogging and resending. A rugby superstar from South Africa wants to take those graphics because he is also fighting for the Rhinos.
The same Rhino graphic was picked up by Traffic (the main monitoring of trafficking of species worldwide). On the side, I was also doing a comic strip with a cousin who is a singer and environmentalist. And I also did some graphics in Spanish for a federal environmental agency in Mexico.
WWF China and China Daily and I released two graphics on tigers for World Tiger Day. One was about the Amur because it is slowly coming back to china. And the other was on the global situation on Tigers.When the guys from WWF sent me the link and I saw my graphic there, tears came down my cheeks.
Went to Cambridge in August to be a part of the White Canvas Project again! :”) And it keeps getting better and better.The main guy, Dave Newman, is such a down to earth guy. He radiates this beautiful energy and kindness.
A week after coming back to Beijing, I painted live in a sustainability event in SOHO sanlitun for Laiji Couture, my very good friend and Illustrator Luis Vazquez collaborated with me.
There I got recruited to paint for Jane Goodall the world famous primatologist.
I flew to LA for the solo show of the silent one at Iam8bit . And there the silent one’s paintings had the infographics on the bottom and people responded very very well to that. I also fell in love with Amanda and the crowd of the gallery. Nice people.
Then, a week later in San Diego I opened a gallery with another solo show at Casa Artelexia.
In the meanwhile, I partnered up with a Chinese/Japanese/Taiwanese site called Congratulafins and we translate one of the shark graphics in Chinese and spread it out in this area. Project Aware and I will produce more graphics also for them to take and spread the word.
My friend Chihong from Macao translated one of the shark graphics and published it in a children magazine.
I know I am missing stuff but in a nutshell its been an amazing year. Currently, I am working on the Sumatran tiger for WWF.
Indeed, a great year. Guillermo also sent us some of the works he has done in that time.
You can follow Guillermo’s work on www.memuco.net.