Day of the Dead 2009 Print

I finished my Day of the Dead print last night and am pleased with it. It looks better than I’d anticipated, and my last-minute, gut instinct decisions about color worked.

Creating this print was not an easy project for me. In the beginning, every time I started sketching, I heard Tim Gunn’s voice in my head, saying, “You don’t want the judges to say you’re a one-note.” I’m not kidding. I’ve been drawing shoes and purses and animals for so long that I wasn’t sure I could do something using someone else’s theme. And yet, I wanted my work to look like “me,” so I decided to forgo the skeleton imagery and try to capture death and peace.

A little about Day of the Dead – in the West, it’s a holiday celebrated primarily in Mexico. It was celebrated long before the Spaniards arrived and Christianized the holiday. It then somehow made its way to the Philippines – probably thanks to those same Catholic missionaries – where it is one of the big, religious holidays. Much of the symbolism is the same – according to my mom, skulls, orange flowers, and shrines to deceased loved ones dominate.

So, in a way, this is a little shrine to my grandmother. Any of my cousins who see this may notice that the image doesn’t look much like Lola. But I tried to capture her spirit a bit, as well as her love of color (and the way she always parted her hair).

I’ll drop the print off at the gallery tomorrow. My only regret is that I didn’t give myself more time to experiment with the printing. But now I know that I can do something a little different than my usual, and I’ll make the time to experiment more in the future.

More info about the show can be found here.

40 thoughts on “Day of the Dead 2009 Print”

  1. Jen, are you part Filipina? This was a lovely post! So cool that you exchanged ornaments with me because I just moved back to the Philippines from a long spell in the US. Reading your blog today, as the ornament spurred my curiosity. Such great work you do! I’m a fan!

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