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Project title:

Mr&nbspDuncan Smith
Mr Duncan Smith

Full Name:
Duncan Smith
San Miguel Allende, Gto  Country: Mexico

Field of study: Design 
Degree type : 
Five-year Degree
Year of graduation: 


Parsons the New School for Design
Country: USA Town: New York, NY

Duncan Tonatiuh Smith Hernández
Estrella 15 Fracc. La Lejona 2da sección, San Miguel de Allende, Gto. CP 37765
tel: 415 154 5724,

Professional Experience, author and illustrator

• My first children’s book “Dear Primo, a letter to my cousin” which I wrote and illustrated was published by H N Abrams in March 2010.
• My short graphic novel “Journey of a Mixteco” appeared serially in the webcomic website in 2009
• My clients include ST editorial, a publishing house of that specializes in textbooks.
• I am currently working on two more books for Abrams. I post editorial illustrations that address current events to my blog regularly.


• Parsons School of Design 2008, BFA in the Integrated Design Program where I focused on illustration and photography
• Eugene Lang College 2008, BA in writing
• Pontifica Universidad Catolica, Rio de Janeiro 2006, exchange student


Drawing and storytelling, knowledgeable in Photoshop, Ilustrator, In Design, Font Lab Studio, Microsoft Office, HTML CSS and other web languages. I have advanced photographic skills. I am completely fluent in English and Spanish and I speak Portuguese well.


• My series of illustrations about the AH1N1 epidemic in Mexico were chosen to be a part of the catalog of illustrators for children and young adults published by the Mexican Council of Culture and Arts (CONACULTA)
• One of my AH1N1 illustrations also appeared in the BBC’s website shortly after the epidemic broke out.
• Winner of the best thesis award in the Integrated Design Department in 2008.


• NMASS Worker’s Center . Brooklyn, NY, USA 2008

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Criterias to contestualize the project
Scale* : 10.25 in x 156 in
* : short graphic novel about an undocumented Mexican worker
Interdisciplinary character (other interested fields):
Environment & Territory:
Other: Illustration, Writing, Journalism

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Project (block 1) - Objectives of the Project*

New York City is a city full of immigrants yet the stories of certain immigrant group are seldom told. Journey of a Mixteco is a short graphic novel based on the true story of Sergio, a Mexican undocumented worker from the south of Mexico who now lives in New York.

The aim of the project is to shed light on the working Mexican community in New York –the busboys, nannies, food baggers- that are all too often invisible. The project also aims to celebrate the art that is native to that community and to give it new life by infusing a contemporary sensibility into traditional Mexican arts like the Mixteco codex of Ancient Mexico.

Project (block 2) : Progress, Methodologies and tools used for the Project*

The summer before my senior year at Parsons began I interned at the NMASS (National Mobilization Against Sweat Shops) worker’s center. There I met Sergio, a community organizer who was helping a group of undocumented delivery workers fight against poor working conditions at their workplace.

I got to know Sergio that summer and realized that his story –from a poor indigenous boy in the south of Mexico to a community organizer in New York City- was an important one to tell. I am from Mexico so telling the stories of the Mexican community in the US is not only a political and intellectual interest, but its an emotional and personal interest also.

Sergio is an indigenous Mixtec. His native tongue is the Mixtec dialect. I began researching Mixtec culture and art. I was was very inspired by what I learned and I was particularly struck by the pre-Columbian Mixtec codex that I saw.

When my thesis project began I started to experiment and adopted many of the aesthetic choices I saw in the Mixtec codex, like their strong sense of geometry, the repetition of forms and the fact that people are always depicted in profile.

But I did want to simply reproduce that aesthetic I wanted to infuse it with new life, so I used collage and digital technology to give the images a contemporary feel.

Project (block 3) - Results *

After a year-long thesis I completed “the Codex,” the first part of Journey of a Mixteco. The Codex is a 10.25 in x 156 in. It is a 12 page long accordion book and it focuses on the first part of Sergio’s journey from his childhood in the state of Guerrero in Mexico to his job as a bus boy at a New York restaurant.

For the senior thesis show I printed the images at a very large scale, and hung them on the wall like a mural. The project won the award for the best thesis in the Integrated Design Department at Parsons.

After the thesis show exhibit was over I took those large prints to the NMASS worker’s center, hung them and had an opening there. Sergio and I talked about the project. The images are still hanging at the center. The project later appeared serially in the webcomics portal I’m currently working on the second part of the story.

Though the project has not been published. It has lead to great opportunities as an illustrator and writer. I was offered a contract to write and illustrate a children’s book with H N Abrams shortly after an editor there saw Journey of a Mixteco. The children’s book is called “Dear Primo, a letter to my cousin” and it was published in March of 2010.

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