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Death and the Sweetness of Remembering 

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

Mission and the Legend of Timeless Love , 2015

by Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on glass, 8.5" x 11"

If you know me, you know how I feel about sugar skulls and skeletons (calaveras) in my artwork. I'll spare you the lengthy art school dissertation about the prominence of those visual elements in Latin American art. Perhaps, I will share a little about the source of my fascination with the symbolism since it's been a common theme throughout my years as a painter.

I will tell you that it's less about my teenage heavy metal aesthetic and listening to Dio and Iron Maiden, but more about the satirical and spiritual push and pull of our meaning of existence, threading together subjects of love, politics, loss and remembrance and celebration. Creating a patch work of moments that make up a life that in turn blankets our fragile bones from Jose Guadalupe Posada and the decades of calaveras he did that served to critique culture and politics in the late 1800's to the vivid contemporary exhibits at the Mexican Museum of Design (MUMDI).

Wait, did I just reference Ronnie James Dio, Iron Maiden, late 19th century Mexican political satire and quilting in one paragraph??

Calavera de la Catrina, 1910

by Jose Guadalupe Posada

Serial Block Print

Anyhow, "La Catrina" is commonly affiliated with sugar skulls celebrating Dia de la Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Her inception is from the ancient Aztec Goddess of Death (Mictecahuatl). She is to honor and watch over those who have passed on.

The Messenger, 2011

by Jose Raul Cruz Juarez

So with my painting "Mission and the Legend of Timeless Love", (which sounds like a Danielle Steele novel) I'm imagining perhaps long lost great grandparents who had some everlasting love but it's more about my life, my marriage is the stuff of legends.

Kisses for Mama, 2011

by Felipe Mendiola Velasquez

Flawed, dented, and weathered but tried and true and tempered by love and devotion. Shannon and I weren't married in a church, we had a civil ceremony in a beautiful sunken garden officiated by the Mayor at that time 23 years ago. All that we are... all the joy, loss, anger, passion, successes, are stones and mortar. The understanding and patience are the windows for which we see out of. The laughter and tears are the bells that chime throughout our dominion.

Our church is slowly being built everyday with every passing moment and emotion that moves us. Hopefully when we're done, a temple will stand as a testament and will be held fondly in the hearts of future generations.

Artist are acutely aware of their mortality. While our children are better examples of who we are, better physical versions of ourselves that carry our DNA further down the road, artists also hope to leave a body of work behind that proves their brief intellectual existence on this planet. Their attempt to share the ideals and feelings that formed them and visually describe their feelings that shaped a lifetime.

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