Day of the Dead Art

These days, I've had the privilege of being invited to paint for some group shows exhibiting from September through November 2017. Copro Gallery, Cactus Gallery, and Splendorporium are all galleries that feature alternative, eclectic, contemporary folk art - which happens to be my specialty!

Copro Gallery has a group show this fall, showcasing Giullermo Del Toro inspired art. Normally, Del Toro creates and produces some spine-tingling stories. I loved his movie "Pan's Labyrinth." The monster (with the eyeballs on his hands?) freaked me OUT, but I suffered through to enjoy the beautiful details of that film.

My inspiration for the Del Toro art show came from the movie "The Book of Life." It's a larger-than-life animated film, bursting with color and Mexican culture. The character "La Muerta" intrigued me, and how she was so easily about to control mortals Maria and Manolo.

"PuppetMuerta" Watercolor, 2017, 10x14"

The next piece I made, is perhaps my favorite in the entire series! I painted it for Cactus Gallery's "Dia de los Muertos X" show. I loved playing with the details of this piece, and especially enjoyed researching the Day of the Dead. Every year, around Halloween (but not for Halloween) Mexican families gather to honor their deceased love-ones. They set up an alter, complete with the love-ones favorite things, as well as elements for water (pitchers of beer or water), wind (paper cut-out garlands), earth (bread), and fire (candles.) This is called "La Ofrenda."

"Love You, Eternally" Watercolor, 2017, 10x14"

The last two pieces were for Splendorporium, and their Tarot/Day of the Dead show. I was invited to submit 6 pieces, but with how busy I've been recently, I could only swing 2. I think they turned out well!

"Go with the Flow" Watercolor, 2017, 10x14"

Instead of writing in Spanish, as I did for the previous painting, the words here are in Latin. The text reads, "ventis secundis, tene cursum," which when translated to English means, "Go with the flow." Though death is inevitable for every person on earth, we will all still try to evade or deny it. It's not many who can say that they don't fear death; because death is the unknown, and most of us are fearful of the unknown events in our future. Rather than treating the end of life as something terrible or frightening, I prefer to think of it as a celebration of your time on earth. Wouldn't it be easier if we all just went with the flow?

"Therefore, I Suffer" Watercolor, 2017, 10x14"

This subject is a bit more melancholy and personal. I've found a wonderful partner in life, my husband Inwook. He's one of my greatest joys. However, I can't help but feel a faint foreboding, a far-away gnawing that our love is not eternal, and that one day, one of us will leave the other (in old age, I'm praying, and not any sooner!) My life with Inwook is wonderful, but as happy as I am with him, I know it will come to an end eventually. The latin phrase, "Cogito ergo deleo," means, "I think, therefore I am in pain (I suffer)." The more aware I become of life's twists and turns, the easier it is to become depressed about the pain. I didn't mean to make a piece of art that sounds so emo! Rather, it's memorializing my realization - life is short, love the one you're with.

I ADORE painting Day of the Dead themed art! I think I've really found my niche here. It's exactly what I love: bright colors, skeletons looking lovely, green leafy vines, and stuffing tons of details into one painting.

Marni Manning - Artist

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