Well, maybe not when he died, but when he was captured. A CIA officer who was helping the Bolvians find him took it as a trophy.
One of our local non-profit stores got sued by "Fashion Victim" the new owners of the Che photographic image. I googled and found this article:
Fashion Victim is suing Northern Sun Merchandising of Minneapolis, which has been peddling Guevara t-shirts for the past 25 years. Fashion Victim supposedly bought the rights to the famous image of Guevara from the photographer Alberto Korda in 2002, ignoring the fact that the image circulated freely in the public domain for decades and that the familiar two-toned stencil-like version of Korda's photograph wasn't created by Korda but instead by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick. The irony here, as a recent Utne Reader article points out, is that Fashion Victim manufactures its T-shirts in Honduras, a country that produces most of its exported clothing in sweatshops.
>did you know Che was wearing a Rolex when he died?
I believe it's standard squadie practice to wear an expensive watch - it comes in handy for bartering or when captured by a farmer - "Rather than hand me over to the Germans, take my watch and let me go."
"I believe it’s standard squadie practice to wear an expensive watch - it comes in handy for bartering or when captured by a farmer"
I think it has more to do with Guevera's upper bourgeoisie status and that he was a brand whore who probably *would* have his corpse stripped of an iPod and Bluetooth Razr and Airs today. I rather doubt that he doled out spendy branded watches to his cadres, just in case of capture.
Oh, and plus, I'd have a lot more respect for him if he'd been wearing a Movado.
> I’d have a lot more respect for him if ...
No you wouldn't.
"No you wouldn’t."
Yes, I would, actually. Rolexes are what hicks buy when they win the Lotto.
Just saw Chris' portrait.
Is that curl on your forehead a lonely white hair?
And where does the Rolex story come from anyway? Where is the source? I don't believe it for a second, not that I think it impossible but because spreading the rumour is (or was at the time) too bloody convenient. I can't believe people don't question things before taking them for granted, it's so easy to spread this sort of stuff.
Serious, Chris, I had to save the image because it's too brilliant.
"And where does the Rolex story come from anyway? Where is the source?"
What, you want me to do your reading for you? You know, there's this thing called the Internet, and on it you can look things up in like two seconds, even if you're allergic to books.
For instance, if you typed "che" and "rolex" into one of the windows at the top of your browser, right now--or, better, maybe before you'd posted--you'd get about a zillion hits referencing the fact that Che was wearing one and that Felix Rodriguez, the CIA agent I referred to, took it and made a point of showing it off in years after. Several of the top hits at Google are from communist/socialist sources, just in case you find anything else ideologically suspect.
And you're welcome.
And where does the Rolex story come from anyway? Where is the source? I don’t believe it for a second, not that I think it impossible but because spreading the rumour is (or was at the time) too bloody convenient. I can’t believe people don’t question things before taking them for granted, it’s so easy to spread this sort of stuff.
Is it too bloody convenient or are your just perturbed someone has an opposing view?
bloody hostile is where this is going
how does anyone know ANYTHING about Che? He is either deified or villified. None here was a guerella fighter with him. We can't really say what was and what wasnt. That said, i'm inclined to believe either story based on that. I guarantee there is misinformation on both sides.
I can't stop laughing right now…
You missed my point entirely.It was too inconvenient.
My brothers life long friend in Phoenix was a Green Beret in Colombia and Bolivia in the 60s and was on the team that took Che down.
One time I complained to him about Rage Against the Machine having Che stenciled on their amps while playing a Free Tibet concert and he told me the story and then told me he loved Rage Against the Machine!
It's a strangely spherical world…
Even Marx knew that communism was a dumb idea, but that didn't stop Castro and Guevera and Stalin and Lenin from making it their system of dictatorship. Strong nations are built, like the United States, on a foundation of capitalism and military strength.
Its not surprising that Guevera would have a Rolex: it's always the pigs who find the truffles.
Its not surprising that Guevera would have a Rolex: it’s always the pigs who find the truffles.
A few decades of power, and the little people think they're god's gift
to mankind. In fact your descent has already started - but you're so
drunk on blood that you don't even realize it.
I think we need a general call for order. Let's get back on topic or kindly refrain from posting.
*hands Tiffany a Moderator Gavel*
Whew, Thanks Tiff.
Ironic though, we're talking about a time when the accuracy and dependability of a Rolex was far more useful to the left than the right. And now, we're talking about a time when earphones and running shoes are much more useful to the right than the left. A stencil for all seasons.
Eric: I think the topic was really interesting and I know how you feel about seeing your thread being hijacked. I remember how it felt when I asked for help regarding a book on gay parades and I had to read some really useless comments on how people felt about gays, which it wasn't really what I had asked. I didn't feel really bad because there were still loads of useful suggestions but still, it was a drag. I don't know but once you have start posted your thing, it's not something you can control so I hope you are not taking it too personal, I don't think anyone wanted to sabotage you. Also I don't really care about what people think about Che Guevara (it's not something I need or wish to control) and what I meant was exactly that there is misinformation on both sides (assuming there are only 2 sides).
I suspect that if I had answered "oh really? Che had a rolex??? Wow!" everyone would have been happier but hey, people don't always say what you want to hear... Well, I hope you feel better today. This was a particularly unfortunate thread that started going wrong the minute psycho-grumpy walked in. In fact I am inclined to think that grumpy and google-boy RNLee are the same person. Just a feeling...but yeah, I think the CA cover was interesting in a weird way...it looks almost like they did this as a joke and then found no use for it. Then they decided to publish an article on Cuban Design and they remembered they had something vaguely Cuban stashed in some drawer and the cover was ready. They forgot to add the rolex though...tsk...tsk...tsk...
Now, after all that I really need to go on a Typophile detox for a while.
I know how you feel about seeing your thread being hijacked
In most cases, it isn't hijacking, it is just derailed. Sometimes a simple comment is blown out of proportion and becomes the focus.
Not even derailed, but branching. Like a tree.
Anyway, if you want my opinion, I'm tired of seeing cultural icons abused by designers.
It's not that I have no sense of humour, but I tend to be more and more annoyed to see people targeting a single individual. And I don't care if it's a publically perceived "evil" figure. I just dislike it.
In my opinion, Chris post was the most thoughtful and balanced, and of course it reflected the truth about the perception people tend to have. The Beatles, for example, as many people in the 1960s and 1970s, developed a fascination for eastern spirituality, which rarely led them to deepen their search. This is probably true of any generation. Any process of insight is costly. It seems the majority of people prefer to use things at a very superficial level, especially as we are tempted to spend a lot of idle hours on the web.
I admit I skipped over some posts so instead of addressing anything said earlier I'd like to offer up my view on this cover when I first saw it. (and steer clear from derailing this any more)
The use of Che Guevara's image on the front cover pulled in the article about Cuba nicely while highlighting how one cult figure in a country has turned into a commercial success of sorts that it's just as recognizable as the Nike swoosh of white ear bud headphones these days. It also worked nicely as Apple's ad's tend to run with the silhouette's and headphones, replacing the star with Nike's logo was an obvious choice in a way considering it's one of the most recognized shapes on the planet now.
I am not sure you can crit an image the the one presensted *without* talking about who Che was ( or wasn't) or the fact that the info is all 3rd hand at best, etc. That's the whole point of the image; it's built-in controversy.
CA & the graphic artist (whoever that was) is attempting ( for the umpteeth time ) to stir the pot with an old contreversial image. And guess what? It worked. Here on Typophile anyway. That doesn't mean that there aren't other kinds of graphic design points to be made as well. But the two are going to mixed in this case. It's inevitable.
So I don't agree that the thread was hijacked. Not at all. The whole idea that it was seems completely & utterly ridiculous to me.
RE: 'or refrain from posting.'
This seems a bit harsh as well. I know that we are looking for a kinder & gentler Typophile & I am all for it. But it's hard to avoid breaking a new rule & especially one that you don't understand yet. I can be compliant & I am willing - but only for a rule that's clear. If someone can show me what I could be missing here I am willing to try to understand.
Claudio, Nice post!
Eben, that was astute and perfectly stated.
Yep, things do sort themselves out eventually. I was one of the few that opted for "do nothing" in Paul Hunt's poll. I believe that at some point we can all stop, look back and find out where things started going wrong and why otherwise we'll all hold a grudge that will probably come back at the next opportunity...hasta la victoria siempre (oups!). Having said that, call me naive but I think that the cover should reflect the mood of the content/ article, in this case a survey on post revolution graphic design in Cuba. I wanted to know who the author was because I had never heard of him and found this:http://cubanamericanpundits.blogspot.com/2006/05/cuba-si-propaganda-no-u...
I think it's easier to discuss the cover image if you know more about the content. The book cover (and I think it applies to mags as well) sets the overall tone of the piece so it's not enough to discuss Che (but it helps). I think it's more useful to discuss the relationship between the cover and the content. IMHO of course...
"I think it’s more useful to discuss the relationship between the cover and the content."
Lorenza, thats a good find. I've read the article, and as I posted earlier, there is very little about cuban graphic design or commercial exploitation ( which would lead to a discuss the relationships between cover and content". That's funny that Rodriguez was ticked about it too. The author is a former head of ICONGRADA, how does CA handle that???
This is the guy responsible for all this trouble! I was looking around to see if anyone thought anything of my CA cover and landed here. Glad it started up some discussion, it's great when a simple piece of art can do that these days I think.
Let me put out some info that might help understand the image a bit.
CA was doing a feature on the last ten years of my illustration work. I do a lot of work for The New Yorker, TIME, Rolling Stone, etc. I'm also an art director. I found out they were also doing a story on Cuban design in the same issue so I sent this image for them to consider for the cover and they loved it. Probably because they thought it would start some conversation such as this.
How I came up with such brilliance!:
Well, I know it's not freakin' rocket science here, but it did make me chuckle.
I was born in Cuba in 1971, grew up in the "Revolution", lucky me. Anyways, I must have drawn this image of Che about a hundred times when I lived in Cuba, starting around age 3. It's everywhere, so it's what I drew, along with tanks, guns, and missiles, cause that's what was on t.v. there. American kids draw superheroes and cartoons instead. Che was my Mickey Mouse.
I figured after all this time, I could do one more drawing of Che, kind of coming full circle after having left Cuba and "making it" in Capitalist U.S. I thought maybe I had some license to mess with the image since it has so much to do with my biography. A lot of this was lost on people that don't know me I guess. But if one where to read the story inside you would have learned a lot about my background which helps put the image in some context.
How I came up with the idea:
My family that is still in Cuba just got access to the internet, e-mail, etc. They are just learning about these i-pods, tech gear, brands, etc. So I've started gettting e-mails from them requesting things like memory sticks, i-pods, things with brand names, etc. Years ago I would get letters from them asking for medicine or food. So, the idea that Cuba is slowly changing into a capitalist society is what came of this communication with my family back on the island. And this image was the result.
Another thing that has bugged me over the years is all these people with Che t-shirts and the whole Che cult. People that have no clue what a cold blooded killer Che was and how many people's lives were ruined by the Cuban revolution (Not well to do folks, but artists, musicians, poets, homosexuals, or anyone that had individual ideas and expressed them.)
So, people here in the U.S. that are all underground and hipster and "original" with the Che gear and that all wear the same brands and listen to their i-pods annoy me. They try to act all rebel and counterculture but they're all fitting in in their own way. I think this image worked for me as a criticism of such an attitude as well.
I am very well aware that doing anything with "Che" is the biggest cli-"Che" ever. I went ahead with it because I figured it would tick off some people and, if anyone knew me, they would realize that I just like to do that sometimes. I feel some designers, artists, etc. put up these rules, "oh you can't do that, gotta do it this way, must be super original always", it's a very American, western way to look at things. It's not the way I grew up making imagery, we take one thing, do something to it, do something to it again. Go to any country in Latin America and you'll see this kind of stuff, artists commenting on culture, on each other, a dialogue, which I think doesn't happen in the U.S. as much.
Well, that's it for now. I'm not much of a chat room person but I registered here, I'll check back and answer any questions you guys have. It's great to talk about art, design, type, very smart stuff. Not so crazy when the thing goes off the topic.
Oh, and the machine gun cat is just freakin' awesome.
Thanks for all the comments.
It's nice to hear from the man himself! Thanks for taking the time to respond to our little amateur wrestling match.
Your work in your write-up is beautiful by-the-way.
I feel some designers, artists, etc. put up these rules, “oh you can’t do that, gotta do it this way, must be super original always”, it’s a very American, western way to look at things. It’s not the way I grew up making imagery, we take one thing, do something to it, do something to it again. Go to any country in Latin America and you’ll see this kind of stuff, artists commenting on culture, on each other, a dialogue, which I think doesn’t happen in the U.S. as much.
The cover makes more sense with your exposition. Thanks for taking the time to explain. My original post was a bit (just a little) of a knee-jerk reaction, but, in my own defense, I'm just out of school, and am trying to challenge myself to think more about design, instead of just concentrating on what it looks like.
It didn't seem to take long to (de)evolve into an ideological pile-up, and I admit, I havn't had a chance to read your article yet. But I will (especially now) after your response and the aforementioned Cuban American Pundits link. It's always good to have an insiders view of goings-on abroad.
Hey, does anyone sense that cat boy is backing down, come on man, Bring It On!!
Well, anyways, glad I was able to clear some things up. As you can see from my work inside the magazine, the cover is not necessarily typical of what I do. It was me taking another road and commenting a bit. Inside there is something similar I guess, Mao in an Yves Saint Laurent tunic for a story on the New China for TIME magazine. Most of my work are portraits and musicians or theater drawings, plus some conceptual stuff.
Where I kind of wondered if you were a student or just "out of school" is when you mentioned in the original post that it might have made more sense without the i-pods and Nike logo. Then what do you have, Che? What does that say? nothing. You might need to go back to that school my man. Round 1: Señor Rodriguez. I kid, I kid.
The only reason for that is that the image of Che is so synonymous WITH capitalism now, I had questioned the other two elements were necessary to convey the meaning. I think it would say loads, BECAUSE it was on the cover of CA and NOT on a fashion T, the target audience would understand.
Is that completely off base?
Totally bitchin! Welcome.
...how many people’s lives were ruined by the Cuban revolution (Not well to do folks, but artists, musicians, poets, homosexuals, or anyone that had individual ideas and expressed them.
Thankfully my favorite trumpet player, Arturo Sandoval (probably the best all-around on the planet) was able to escape. I played trumpet professionally for a time, but unfortunately (for me) he often goes beyond what I can comprehend. Oddly, when I saw him at the local perfoming art center, his piano playing blew me completely away.
Oops, there I go branching off again.
Nice Posts Edel! Cheers! I hope you stick around & give us the benefit of your perspective on things besides your cover too.
Eric, I think the audience of CA mostly needs and is interested in graphic messages that are 'powerful' ( bludeoning). CA is about mass communication! I can't blame them. And your idea strikes me as too subtle. Also, it assumes that the audience reads the 'Che' part of the image in the same way you do. So yes, I think you are off base. Sorry. Just my idea about it.
On the other hand I don't think the meaning of the cover is clear or precise despite it's strength. It can be read too many ways. That's not important to CA because it's a funny image & works with their theme so what it means precisely isn't important. It's strong! It's graphic! And sometimes having an image that can be read many ways is a good thing. It maintains it interest longer. Especially if it's that worn out Che again.
Regarding the meaning of the cover: Edel's explanation make 100% sense. However if you or I read the image a different way then that's valid too.
To me it just looks like an homage to strange power of brands.
RE: Not so crazy when the thing goes off the topic.
Where was that in your opinion? I still don't have the slightest idea where you would draw that line. Drawing the line at abuse is one thing ( It sounds like there has been some & thats bad ) but right now we have no working definition of a 'topic'. I am not clear getting one is a good idea at all.
Yeah, American TV rocks. Everybody knows that.
Oh, and Typophile is a killer chatroom.
i just wanted to write "i find it pretty cliché to use che on such a cover, it has been done a thousand times and most people wont understand anyway" - but there you go, all wrong.
thanks for your explanations, i gained interesting insight. i think its important to be able to cite in an intelligent way, but at the same time, using che is "wrong" in my view in nearly every case. but with your biography, its good.
It isn't so much the art of communication if You need the story of the designers life to get it, is it?
With 115 replies, it seems to have induced a lot of communication around here.
Doesn't this prove that without context, it is only art? I'll second the "thank yous" for sharing the story behind the cover.
Crumbs, the thread has been intercepted. Our cover is blown!
Edel, what can I say? I'm thrilled you joined the party and hope you stick around. So my theory of you having the image stashed somewhere was not true, was it? Come on, you can tell us. Nothing wrong about recycling stuff, you know. ; )
Tiffany: that's the idea, it's a magazine cover, not fine arts. But then again what's the difference between fine arts and graphic design? The patron?
PS: Why am I the only one to think the cat sucks? I can't stand it, Eric. I had to say that, please don't hate me! It's disturbing! I love cats!
RE: fine arts and graphic design? The patron?
It's only in the last hundred years that you could assert that I think. And not too strongly I would argue. The idea that a difference exists that is meaningful seems increasingly spurious to me. You can be as slavish or independant as you like in either field. There is nothing inherently pure obout fine arts & nothing inherently dirty about graphic design or applied arts.
RE: "only art".
What do you mean? Only that without context it's only decoration? Or do you mean that Edel's explanation is the *true* way of reading the image since thats what he says he intended? I don't mean to suggest that you intended either reading of your statement - just that I cannot tell what you mean. Kinda like Edel's cover. It can be taken so many ways.
RE: Killer chatroom
I laughed out loud. But in truth I have no idea what you mean for sure either.
It must be vague cloudy wispy language day today.
Well, I love cats too, and a cat with an uzi is just plain funny.
Let me try to answer some things here. Not a chat room pro so bear with me. I'll start from the last post.
No, I didn't have the image stashed somewhere. I actually haven't done anything with the straight Che image since I was a kid. This is why I thought, for a biographical story about me, my work, and another on Cuban design in the same issue, this image made sense. I have drawn Che posters in the background of drawings I did when I've traveled to Cuba to visit family, etc. Some of those have been published.
I think some of the problem is that people see the image on the site here and may not realize that it's meant to be seen, as Eric first saw it, at the Newsstand at Barnes and Noble or Borders or at a library. Or in your mailbox if you subscribe to CA. You look at it, makes you wonder what it's about, you look inside for a credit or info, and you might go ahead and read the inside stuff.
I think part of the problem is that the original question assumes that this image was done for a bunch of type and design geeks like ourselves that spend the weekend on a chatroom discussing the intricacies of serifs. I didn't do it for those folks alone.
When you start working for magazines you realize that what the publisher wants is their stories to be read and their magazines to be purchased by as large an audience as possible. So, I wanted Joe Schmo at the Barnes and Noble to be looking around and go "hey, it's Che, and i-pod, and nike", funny, what the hell is this, etc.
I like to communicate to a lot of different people. My dad never got past the sixth grade but there's nothing like the feeling when I show him something and he gets it, laughs, asks questions, etc. This is who the world is made up of, not type geeks. If if works for them too, then great, but I'm not going to shelf an image because the art police might come after me.
About Fredo's comment: I don't think you need my life story to "get it". I've had plenty of people e-mail or have a reaction without knowing much about me. And there was a lot of talk about it here before I came into the picture. I thought my info would just help people learn more about it.
I tried to give some info for anyone that looked at the magazine. On the contents page there is a title, caption and credit. It reads:
Cover: "Brand CAChé". "A wired Cuban generation seeks the status of our logo culture as we seek the rebel status of theirs"
With those few chosen words I tried to describe a couple of ways that the image can be read, which was my intent, for it to be read in several ways. I guess some people have trouble with that. My background is in Painting and fine art so reading something 100 ways is what I was taught to do.
One person that seems to be on the money on a lot of this is Eben Sorkin:
He says "To me it just looks like an homage to strange power of brands." Bingo, that's what I was after. That's why it's called "Brand CA-Ché" How they're all a brand, Che, i-pod, nike, even CA, and how people just get hypnotized by them. Ad agencies throw around the term "brand cache" all the time. How to make your brand sing, blah, blah. And when I go to Cuba, Che is treated the same way. The one place you think would honor him has him plastered on watches, cigars, lighters, on and on.
And on Eben's comment about going off topic, I meant the abusive stuff or things that I read 3 or 4 times and can't understand. I think this is a conversation, it should go all over the place, about music, tv, culture. I was just once on an illustrator's chat thing, there was a great intellectual subject at hand and somebody just came in and derailed the whole thing into a conversation about troubles he was having with his family. So, it got me off the chat rooms for a while. Rather be working instead.
I think Typophile is more than just a chatroom.
> an uzi
I think you need to watch a lot more TV.
> This is who the world is made up of, not type geeks.
That's very true. Certainly any good designer (which is not at all the same thing as a good artist) knows that, and takes it to heart. But that doesn't mean a good designer should ignore his conscience outright, and it certainly doesn't mean a good person has to actually like what the deluded masses do. And certainly, there's way too much non-type talk on Typophile. In fact almost any other cover of any other magazine is worth discussing more than this, since it would probably have more type -and more interesting type- on it.
Thank you, lore.
And Edel, wait 'till you see our Mondays.
I guess I have some respect for the "deluded masses". People like my parents that get their asses up everyday, go drive a truck or work at some sweatshop rather than sit in front of a mac and tickle type. I think they count, and they're not deluded.
And I don't think I've ignored my conscience. My conscience tells me to comment on this stuff that's in my head, and I can't do that without working with imagery that someone might think is just "unoriginal".
If you want to discuss "another cover, of any other magazine", how about this week's TIME. Sorry, no type on it. And it's great because it has no type, the "masses" will love it. E.R.
Working hard doesn't equate to being deluded. In fact in most of
the world it's the other way around. Your parents don't read CA.
And when you see people working in a sweatshop, instead of blindly
applauding their grit you might instead look for the source of their
misery, and hopefully consider a world where their lives aren't
locked into making goddam Nike trainers for their masters.
BTW, I have no reason to believe you ignore your conscience.
Just don't look down on others who also don't, but arrive at
different conclusions and actions. Your TV is lying to you.
> And it’s great because it has no type, the “masses” will love it.
Time magazine sucks too.