Behind the piece:
Mictecacihuatl - Goddess of the dead in Aztec mythology. According to some of the research I did, she is wife of Mictecacihuatl, who is symbolized by spiders, bats, owls, and the eleventh hour. They reside in the Mictlampa, the region of death (the northern compass direction).
I wanted to complete this in time for Halloween, in honor of my mother who passed away several years ago. Thus, this piece means a lot to me. It's how I view death.
There are seveal meanings behind this work. On the one level, this image warns that, while there is beauty in life all around us, there are also sources of Death hidden within it too, ready to strike.
The other message in this painting is a bit more 'positive' sounding. For instance, I relate the figure of death to my mother. Mictecacihuatl, after all, is an immortal Goddess. While she is surrounded by life and death, she is above the concepts of mortality. Similiarly, when my mother passed away, she went above all levels of mortal pain and sickness. Her body died, but her essence became immortalized.
Death is still terrifying to me and some of the things that I witnessed during my mother's descent are still nightmares to me. I forced myself to witness this act of 'death' though. I wanted to be there for my mother's death the same way she was there for my birth. They are two different processes, but both are intimately connected together. My mother may have died, but she became reborn as a spirit. Conversely, the moment I was born I now stand ready to die (either by old age, disease, who knows...).
So yeah, this piece is pretty complicated. And I know some people might get uncomfortable reading this commentary. But this is the root of what this piece signifies and why I wanted to complete it in time for Day of the Dead. This is a festival that recognizes how fragile life is and how Death can strike at any moment. And yet, it is also a celebration to those who have been reborn into immortal Gods and Goddes like Mictecacihuatl and Mictecacihuatl too.
To get the expression right, I referred to my face. Mind you, this isn't a portrait, but I wanted to get a sense of expression so I posed in front of a mirror.
Lastly, some really extraordinary news. I've been invited to the Psychedelic Candy Circus here in San Antonio. This is a fundraiser event intended to raise money for a documentary film on San Antonio artists and the challenges/inspirations they faced from their neighborhoods. I'm really excited to attend this event! *_* It'll feature circus performers, flaming dancers, an assortment of awesome desserts, and, of course, major figures from San Antonio's art community. I've been personally asked to donate work to the silent auction. Proceeds will go directly to the film project. I'll be donating a fullsize print of this work at the event.