Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Day of the Dead Decorations

Day of the Dead Decorations

While we in Utah are busy buying candy and dressing up like Sarah Palin, our friends across the border to the south are preparing for the folk art festival from hell. Okay, from the dead would be more appropriate.

I don’t know a ton about Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), other than the skulls and the gorgeous colors (why can’t all funerals be so vivid?). So I decided to look into it and bring you guys a cultural primer on this most colorful and wonderful festival.

In many parts of Mexico, November 1 is the day for the innocents (Dia de los Inocentes), when children and babies are remembered, and November 2 is the regular old Day of the Dead. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with Halloween, other than falling right after. It is, however, related to the Catholic holidays All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Niaquiteolvidare by Posada

Niaquiteolvidare by Posada

Families visit graves, decorate them in orange and yellow marigolds (bringing  two of my favorite colors to the imagery of the celebration), leave toys, candy, favorite foods and tequila for the dead. Some people dress up as their dead relatives, in a memorial after my own heart.

Symbols include the Catrina and the calvera. The calvera is just a  skull – but you see them everywhere and on everything around Day of the Dead. The calvera was first made popular by the lithographs of Mexican artist, José Guadalupe Posada.

Sugar skulls

Sugar skulls

Some of the skulls are edible and made from sugar.

The Catrina, which means elegance, is typically a skull-faced doll of an upper-class woman. Jose Guadalupe Posada also started this tradition, in an effort to let fancy-pants ladies know that the Grim Reaper would also come for them despite their priviledges.

Calaveria by Posada

Calaveria by Posada

Our friends the Grimmleighs have a wonderful series of Catrina dolls. And their little girl, Molly, is dressing up as one for Halloween. What a bitchin’ costume!!

We’d love to invite our artduh readers to join us in another Mexican day of the dead tradition, writing short poems that mock the dead and death. Just post yours to the artduh.com facebook page, and the best one gets a prize.

Molly Catrina

Molly Catrina

Catrina Grimmleigh

Catrina Grimmleigh

And here’s some fun Day of the Dead shopping options on Etsy.com:

Wedding Cake Toppers by deadlyarts on etsy

Wedding Cake Toppers by deadlyarts on etsy

Onsie by LittlePatriot

Onsie by LittlePatriot

Pet Bed by Greenpoints on etsy

Pet Bed by Greenpoints on etsy

Catrina necklace on etsy by mcstoneworks

Catrina necklace on etsy by mcstoneworks

You may also want to celebrate with these fine folks:

nowplayingutah.com | Day of the Dead

Monster Mash Fashion Stroll Edition

Oct 29, 2010, 6 to 10 p.m.
East Broadway, between 200 and 300 E
Downtown Salt Lake City

Lindsay shows us her Fash Stroll Style

Lindsay shows us her Fash Stroll Style

For the past 4 years, I’ve been helping my friend Matt Monson to put on the Fashion Stroll two times per year. This is the lowest brow fashion show around, and is a great chance for emerging fashion designers to see and be seen.

On October 29th, we are all going to dress up as vikings, ghouls, zombies, goblins, Twilight characters and aerobics instructors, and go out on the street and – Monster Mash the shit out of the SLC. Todd’s the viking – or maybe the fox in the party – and I’m the modestly-dressed aerobics instructor from the 1980s KBYU program Hooked on Aerobics.

Transfusion Hype Director Ashlee

Transfusion Hype Director Ashlee

My friends from Transfusion Hype Dance Company are going to rock the night complete with handmade costumes, baby powder and home-mixed music. And the bands the Suicycles and the Black Arrows will also perform.

But best of all 3 young people from the Youth City Ottinger Hall program are going to make their debut as fashion designers, with 3 of their friends as models. Miriam, Paige and Onnie were all my dance students when I taught at Ottinger Hall in the Youth City Artways program. They are growing up and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’m going to get mushy for a moment, and admit that teaching these kids for 2 years has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I’m so grateful I get to continue to work with them. I’m amazed by their creativity and potential and I love them very much.

Youth City's Miriam and Paige Talking about their designs on Utahfm

Youth City's Miriam and Paige on Utahfm

On Thursday afternoon, you’ll find me at Ottinger Hall with the kids and the modeling instructor for our favorite talent agency, Wilhelmina UTG. Wilhelmina will teach the youth to strut their groove thang and project confidence on a runway, then we will stick around to discuss body image and the fact that anyone with poise and confidence can make a wonderful model.

Youth City's Own ONNIE!

Youth City's Own ONNIE!

So please come out and support “my kids” in their fashion debut on Friday night. And now a shout out to our partners in crime who make Fashion Stroll possible– the Ottinger Hall teachers Dallas Russell and Scottie, and their administrators back at the home office. My main man Toddy, who puts together our website and helps us with marketing and design. Of course, the Fashion Stroll Big Cheese and one of my very bestest friends, Fashion Stroll Director, Matt Monson. Thanks to Ashlee Prentice and her dancers from Transfusion Hype. SL Citizen and Lindsay and Bob Frendt for being our official boutique. Marcela and Kate for runway coordination. Highlife Salon for hair and make up. Wilhelmina UTG – thank you for the modeling support. And the rest of our wonderful sponsors – Henries Dry Cleaners, Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute, Downtown Alliance, Xmission, SLUG, In Magazine, City Weekly, Heidi Gress/Aperture Gallery/Marketing, Marinellos and the shops on Broadway, including Retro Rose.

Hooked on Schmears

Hooked on Schmears

 

Todd Does the Viking Mash

Zdzisław Beksiński’s Nightmare

Well, Halloween is coming, and what could be more appropriate than the fantastic artwork of Zdzisław Beksiński to help celebrate the season? This will be a hard one for me to write about. I just want to post a few hundred images, because they are so beautiful and horrible… and because the pictures speak for themselves. But I will try not to overload with images, and give a little background.

Beksiński was born February 24, 1929 in Sanok, Poland. He was ten years old as he watched Nazi Germany and their (then) Russian allies come through and completely tear apart, occupy, and later split up his country. I have read a lot about the history of World War II, and have a very hard time wrapping my mind around Nazi brutality. I can’t imagine seeing it first-hand. Later, Beksiński went on to study architecture in Kraków, and became interested in sculpture and photography, but settled into painting. His first works were very abstract, but later the surreal and fantastic became his main inspiration.

Beksiński spent most of his adult life focusing on his artwork, and became a leading figure in contemporary Polish art. He does have a huge portfolio and, even though I have looked through a lot of his work, there always seems to be more and more to see.

On February 21, 2005, Beksiński was found dead in his Warsaw flat. He’d been stabbed 17 times by a neighbor who Beksiński had refused a loan of $100.

Happy Halloween!

www.beksinski.pl

Cheap and Dirty, Just the Way We Like It

Instant Costume Refresh - Pig Goes with Everything

Bed Bugs

At artduh.com, we don’t think Halloween has to be expensive to be fun. Halloween is bigger this year than ever before, especially for grown-ups. Maybe folks need a break from the bad economic news? Or is it that just that folks want to fight for their right to party?  I’m hoping to see some hottie guys dress up as Whiplash from Iron Man II.

Here’s our guide to doing Halloween up cheap, quick and dirty. Just the way we like it:

Foamy - Cut shapes out of foam and decorating them with a little paint can make you look like almost anything – think toast, fried egg or sunshine. Just cut a hole for your head and poke it in.

Bed Bug Epidemic - Tape bugs (plastic will do) to yourself and your kids and there you go! Maybe dad could dress as the exterminator.

Twilight What Have You Done to My Life

Twilight What Have You Done to My Life

Twilight Mom – Dress up a friend as a little boy complete with a big lolly pop (or use your own little boy). Put him in a red wagon. Then do your hair into a “mom” do, put on a Twilight t-shirt from Hot Topic, and grab your Edward doll. Pull your friend around. Occasionally lick Edward.

The Devil You Know – My FAVORITE thing to do is to dress up as people I know, your husband, wife, friends and neighbors are all game. It may be as simple as putting on a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts and carrying a weed wacker everywhere to be the next door neighbor. Or put on your wife’s favorite dress. If you are brave, you could dress up as your boss. One year I worked with a group of nurses and I went to work in scrubs with an RN badge on Halloween.

Hooked on aerobics

Hooked on aerobics

Domo-oh-migoto Mister Roboto – A trend we are noticing among our friends is a desire to relive childhood by bringing back the 80s. That’s what I’m doing this year. Remember the show Hooked on Aerobics? My heroes.

Instant Refresh – Did you have a great costume last year, but money is tighter this year? Take a page out of my book and just refresh the costume by adding a pig nose to it. When I was a kid I was a ballerina one year, and a pig the next. The following year I combined the two and went as a pig ballerina. Don’t be surprised to see me next year as a pig Hooked on Aerobics instructor. I’d love to see a pig Geisha. And I have seen some for sale used starting at about $2, but I say spring for $4 for a fresh one.

Do you have cheap, quick and easy ideas to share? We’d love to hear them. Or send us a picture of your own costume. Drop us a comment or post to our Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!

The Other Art Blogger in Town

Gavin and Elmo

When we decided to start artduh.com, our first step was to meet with our buddy Gavin and get his support. After all, he was our favorite local art and culture blogger. Interestingly, though I expected a competitive relationship, Gavin and I have developed a great friendship. We toss each other information constantly and chat every few days about ideas. It doesn’t hurt that we both work in media, me on the PR side and him in early morning TV. The cool thing is that there is so much going on in the old SLC, that we have been able to refine our specialties. Gavin doesn’t often toss out a recipe or craft project. And I leave comic books, graffiti and gallery stroll to his superior knowledge. All in all, I think between the 2 of us (and Toddy’s occasional art history lesson, of course), we provide a great picture of what’s happening in our town in the alternative arts, entertainment culture scenes.

So today we wanted to talk about Gavin, promote his blog and encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. Here’s our interview with him, with of course, a Halloween twist:

The Question

1) What is your Halloween costume? Why did you choose it?

My costume this year is of The Question from DC Comics. He’s a detective who deals in a lot of conspiracy theories (or theory, singular, as he would say) and disguises himself in a faceless mask. I picked it because I dig the character and the story behind him. He’s kind of a lone gun in one of that universe’s worst cities, almost like Batman but slightly different in many ways. And he’s one of the oddest characters in their library, which makes him fun. Provided my costume is made this year, it’ll be fun running around in a faceless mask that I can see and breathe out of.

2)  What is your favorite holiday?

I really don’t have one, but I love the fall. And its not for the color of the trees. That slight warmth and chill mix before we’re pushed into winter, it reminds me of good times. Halloween falls in there, so let’s go with that.

Gavin's Collage

Gavin's Collage

3)  Tell us about your collages and art collection. What’s hanging on your walls?

I’ve been covering the scene on the blog for over 2 ½ years, and over time I end up collecting a lot of junk in my pockets. Flyers, cards, passes, tickets, etc. So I decided to take it all and start framing it. I really didn’t know what I was doing with them, at best I thought it would be something fun to hang on an empty wall. Now its going to need more space and its almost become a collective visual tome of our scene, in its own little way. Its by no means an impressive collection, and I don’t really look at them as art, its more of a record of where I’ve been and who I’ve talked to in a more colorful manner. Hopefully people get a kick out of seeing something they’ve done framed in the mess.

4) Who is your favorite local artist?

Nice Shirt!

Nice Shirt!

Oh you know I can’t answer that! I’ve covered so much and see so many various artists, there’s no way to pick a favorite. I’m not gonna say they’re all my favorite, there are some people who’s work is just bland and has no originality, but we have too great a talent pool for me to pick just one and do everyone justice. I will say that at the moment I’m loving the work by B3RG, mainly for the fact that its brief and fleeting. He’s the artist posting all the portraits of the Hungarian girl in the beret, which I didn’t know what it was until I interviewed him. And that’s the problem. Unless you’ve read my interview the chances of the average person knowing who that girl is are slim and none. So of course since she’s dressed up with a uniform and a gun, the city and uneducated people take the meaning the wrong way and are pretty damn gun-ho to mark up and rip down his works. When you can find it you should take a picture of it, because chances are it will be gone within three hours.

5)  Why are you so passionate about the local scene?

Honestly, there’s a couple of reasons, but I got into it in my teens playing in terrible bands as a drummer and going out on a regular basis. Some awesome foundation shows back then. It really instilled in me the ideal that there are some really talented people around here that could run circles around what we’d consider “mainstream” entertainment, but get overlooked daily because they’re not “mainstream”. And that stuck with me ever since. A lot of the people here do what they do because they love it, not because they woke up and thought they could make a quick buck off it, and that’s really inspiring and empowering that you can do what you want on the side and possibly make it your career for life. How can you not support that?

6) What’s your take on local media – and changes in entertainment news with the death of the DesNews features desk, cut backs at TV news etc?

I think I’ll skip out on the TV lecture for now… Radio I’m near done with because it seems no one wants to take a chance on localized music beyond block programming. Which I think is pathetic, and anyone who tells you it wouldn’t work is full of shit. There’s an AM station in Boulder and an FM in Denver who have locals playing throughout the day mixed with “popular” singles. And they’re doing absolutely fine.  The DesNews has so many factors attached to it, you wanna jump for joy a little but then you start hating everything about it. I had six friends lose their jobs over there, all because they wanted to merge with KSL and make it an LDS paper where readers could become unpaid writers. But hey, you know what? …It’s not my money going to waste. And in the meantime I believe we’d be more than happy to take whatever turned-off readers they send our way.

7)  What’s your take on the local art scene?

We’re thriving, but we seriously need a kick in the ass. Maybe a couple. We’ve got this giant sandbox for everyone to play in and others to come observe what they’ve done with it, and then we’ve got people who love to build walls in it. Like the art scene is a giant game of Risk and we’re all fighting over Kamchatka this month. It turns people off from going to galleries, makes artists rethink whether they want to display anywhere, and makes it harder for galleries to find an audience. It’s not like its big fights, just weird little in-bickering. If a number of people could get over that and just do their best, every week could be glorious in this city. Especially with all the artist we have. The print-works crowd alone could turn this city on its ear if they threw a stroll-like night at various businesses. Or the graffiti community, if they took over an abandoned building once a month and painted it from top to bottom. Or hell, let’s take over Pierpont or East Broadway and turn that into a free-display hub for just one evening. Look at what SLUG did with Craft Lake. We have the people, artists, businesses, organizations and drive to do great things in this city that would force people to take the art scene seriously and more than likely propel everyone as a whole into the greater consciousness. But that’s just me as an observer.

cityweekly.net | Gavin’s Underground

The Temptation of St. Anthony

Matthias Grünewald - 1515

Schöngauer - 1480

The story of St. Anthony the Great is certainly strange. One thing is for sure, it inspired a large number of very unique and strange paintings.

The legend of Anthony goes back almost 1700 years, and was first written down by Athanasius of Alexandria some time around 350 A.D. The book he wrote is called The Life of Anthony and it became one of the most well known stories of the Middle Ages.

Leonora Carrington - 1947

The book begins with Anthony being born into a wealthy Egyptian family. When he was 35 or so Anthony decided to follow the words of Jesus, gave away his worldly possession, and moved out into the desert to become a hermit monk. This made the Devil mad, so the Devil caused Anthony to be bored, lazy, and sent visions of phantom women. Anthony was able to overcome boredom, phantom women and the Devil through prayer. Of course, this only made the Devil even more angry, so the Devil went out into the desert and beat Anthony senseless. When Anthony recovered he moved into an old abandoned Roman fort. Well, the Devil was still pretty ticked and sent a bunch of wild animals after Anthony, but the Lord was on Anthony’s side so he just laughed. His laughter caused all of the animals to turn tail and run away. The Devil was scared off and didn’t trouble Anthony any more (well, didn’t cause as much trouble).

Dali - 1946

A very interesting story, and I can see why so many artists have drawn it over the years. It is a playground for the imagination, and many of the artists shown here have used this story to help inspire some of their most creative and bizarre artwork. For instance, why did Diego Rivera choose to portray Anthony’s Temptations the way he did (below)? I have no idea, but I know I like it!

wikipedia | Temptation of St. Anthony

Diego Rivera - 1947

Max Ernst - 1945