The first piece, “Dia De Los Mouseos, Execution Uno”, was more on the approach as ‘a study on skulls’. This piece, entitled “Dia De Los Mouseos, Execution Dos”, was far more intricate in detail, and as my hand got used to the drawing and redrawing of the skulls, the individual pieces became more complex along the way. I decided to get some inspiration on where I first learned of “Dia De Los Muertos” (Day of The Dead), and traveled 381 miles North to San Francisco to focus heavily on this painting, and how I could make it more balanced. You would think that I would be traveling to the border instead, but I’ve found that most Day of the Dead art was more heavily saturated in San Francisco. I may say this because SF is far more compact and therefore visually saturated than any Californian city, but I digress… I just traveled to where this holiday and cultural tradition would make sense from a nostalgic standpoint, as well a well connected cultural reference point for the piece.
When I had first moved from San Francisco from Georgia (and my eleven month stay in Philadelphia), I had little to no education on Mexican culture. In fact, being raised in Georgia, which was predominantly African-American and Caucasian, I had very little contact and information of Mexican or any other race out there. When I had moved to SF, I was heavily saturated in Mexican , Chinese, Russian, and Japanese culture upon impact. My lack of knowledge left me feeling quite uneducated and insecure, so I sought to educate myself on other races and their traditions.
In the first week of November, the Dia De Los Muertos festival began in the Mission district of San Francisco. The streets glittered with decorated skulls, stilt walkers, coffins, and people dressed with sugar skull make up on their faces. November 1st was the first day, which is entitled as “Dia De Los Angelitos” (Day of the Little Angels) or more commonly “Dia De Los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocents) which honors the children and infants who have deceased. November 2nd is Dia De Los Muertos, which celebrates and honors the adults who have passed away. Music blared all through the night while parades of costumes flamboyantly danced around the main drag of the district. I was transfixed and overwhelmed with the beautiful process. I had never seen something so elaborately done for most of my life and my normal tepid southern white upbringing. Comparatively my mediocre caucasian traditions paled to anything as eccentric and homage filled as I was seeing. And from that year on, I made a concerted effort to continue to watch from the side lines this incredible parade pass by.
So four years later since living in Los Angeles, I sought to return to my Californian stomping grounds and remember first hand about that time and the art that surrounds the city over this incredible holiday.
I carried this piece around all over San Francisco. This was drawn at:
8th and Natoma, South of Market
Sparky’s Diner, Church St
Columbus and Greene: Little Italy
22nd and Valencia: Mission District
19th and Mission: Mission District
Union Square Park
J train (MUNI) to Dolores Park
M train (MUNI) to Castro
South San Francisco train (BART) to 24th and Mission
This painting belongs to the “Around The World” sector, and focuses itself as an homage to Mexico and its culture/traditions. Each skull is decorated like a traditional Day Of the Dead Calavera (Sugar Skull), and EACH one has a tiny story and personality attached to it. Put together, all of these tiny pieces come together in one massive story and collection to form Mickey Mouse’s face.