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Sacramento is Dead

In the midst of a particularly cold winter (during yet another pandemic lockdown), I responded to a call for artists on Instagram. An anonymous photographer was producing Volume II of their publication. Volume I, which was published in 2019, showcased photographs of abandoned and dilapidated buildings in Sacramento. Volume II, considering the same aesthetic, showcased the beloved local businesses that unfortunately met their demise in the shadow of 2020.

Noting the resurgence of animal life that took over the quiet city, this photographer wanted to incorporate some of the city-dwelling animals as illustrations to accompany their photographic zine and written narrative. They not just merely printed their images in a book for publication...oh, no. Wonderful, illustrative fictional stories were written. My task was to bring the characters to visual life.


Sacramento Is Dead Vol. I started a dystopian narrative set against photos of Sacramento’s growing number of vacant buildings. Volume II follows that narrative to a significantly more surreal place.

An anonymous photographer has been documenting Sacramento’s dilapidated properties on Instagram as @sacramentoisdead since 2016...
In this second volume, the unnamed photographer has collaborators: a memento mori style cover by artist Oscar Econome, hieroglyphs designed by Devon McMindes, and Sacramento’s animal inhabitants painted into Sacramento Is Dead photos by artist Risa Knight.


The stories that were written included six animals for consideration of publication. I read the stories and noted that the sketches should depict the characters as they would be seen navigating an urban jungle. The style of the illustrations should be haphazard, and quick to accompany the rugged film-style street photography and imaginative storyline. Color was omitted to give the colors of the photography a higher priority within the publication and to also lend to the general feel of a self-published, small-run zine.

Media Used: No. 2 Dixon Ticonderoga, Charcoal, Micron Pens


I view social media as a way to communicate and collaborate with artists and visionaries within our community. Influencing is not my priority. Anyone who regularly uses social media knows when they are being sold something and will immediately ignore what they see as it has been labeled an advertisement in their mind. My drive is to form a true connection with the creatives who live and work in our city. From collaboration comes real connection and success.

After the Zine was published and distributed, a separate artist from myself got involved with some guerilla-style marketing. They began tagging the "Trash Panda" illustration around the city to make for a fun game of Where's Waldo for followers to find and report through Instagram.


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