Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I draw people as skulls.

  Much like the What is a Tank-O-Lantern? post, on occasion I feel the need to write blog posts explaining things I do to better educate those around me. This is going to be another one of those. The most heart breaking thing for me is to have people look at one of my calacas and call them ugly or scary. They are not intended to be and why I feel the need to write this for those interested in the why.

  To start the largest influence on my work is The Day of the Dead. Once I was introduced to the parade here I was instantly fixated with the holiday. This was the first time I had seen death embraced or as Zarco Guerrero states so well in this video we metaphorically dance with death every day why not embrace it and live a healthier life free of fear of it. I found Jose Guadalupe Posada  and instantly fell in love. I myself am not going to talk alot about the holiday itself, I left you all the linkage you could want peppered in here to keep my wordage down.
 So needless to say I started emulating this style, mostly just dancing skeletons and sugar skulls. I also started painting my face and going to the parade every year. I go bringing something from the people I lost over the previous year. I also started memorializing those I lost in pictures of them as if painted to march in the parade with me. It was the best way I knew to honor them.

  In all the people I have loved and lost there was one that took her life. This left me reeling for far longer than I thought it should have. I drew her in my grief. The thing that struck me the most was how much she loved my art and how the best illustration of her I ever made she would never see. This rolled in my mind over and over mixed with other thoughts and beliefs of life. Previous to having lost her I had been trying to make it a point in my life to tell those around me how much they mean to me before I loose them. She knew I thought she was amazing but is not the point. It struck me that there was no reason that I could not celebrate those around me in life and draw them now and not have this amazing illustration project I started become something driven only of grief as that is the opposite of how the calaca is typically seen. It is lighthearted, fun. I started to think of it more as painting the faces of my friends as if going to the parade with me in life. People loved it. I do still draw memorial calacas for those I have lost but it is in celebration of the life they lived and how awesome they are.

  So yes it kills me when people come in and start saying these are scary.
These are my friends, family, my trolls, my fans, these are people I love, like, respect. 

That is why I draw them as skulls. They ask for it as they want to symbolically dance with death with me. Not because we are death obsessed, evil or any other nonsense. 
Because fun. A better reason than because potato.