If Pat Robertson met artist Bill Fick, he just might change his mind about Hugo Chavez. Wait, who am I kidding. But Fick is one Venezuelan export–and Chapel Hill resident–who ‘s worth noting. Fick is this year’s artist-in-residence at UNC-Chapel Hill’s art department, and he’s also working on self-publishing his bilingual children’s book titled Pocasita’s New Ball (La Nueva Pelota de Pocasita).

The creator of the Cockeyed Character Factory and the bilingual cartoon characters “Los Rapiditos,” of which Pocasita is one, Fick grew up in Venezuela. His father worked in the oil industry there until the family moved to Saudi Arabia. A decade ago, Fick braved the New York City arts scene, then relocated to North Carolina several years ago.

When he’s wearing his fine artist hat, he does linoleum printmaking, usually around themes such as violence, brutality, vanity, greed and war, he says, to name a few.

But all of those things are ultimately about telling stories, he says, and his latest cartoon work just happens to be more accessible to the age bracket that deserves to read a Spanish/English story, sip Juicy Juice and take a nap before they wake up in 20 years to worry about Fick’s real themes.

He hopes to have the book published by December–he’s working together with New York artist and friend Matt Hollister–and he’s thinking about merchandising Los Rapiditos, too. So we can look for the retro-digital characters to appear in fuzzy or plastic form sometime soon.

But the real first order of business should be to get folks like Pat Robertson to read Pocasita’s New Ball. It’s colorful, simple, and one important, albeit small, step toward a greater acceptance of a multi-lingual culture.

To see more images of Pocasita and friends, go to www.losrapiditos.com