Monday, February 9, 2015

Día De Los Muertos (The day of the dead)


Last November I received a message from my good friend Rick Muñoz, who is an amazing air brush artist; where he asked me if I could be a model for a face painting project during an art show that he was going to be hosting. I replied with a big "yes", of course! ;-) 

Rick is the amazing artist who painted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department logo on my boobs back in 2013. Perhaps you've seen that picture? LOL! I used that very provocative photo for a blog post where I wrote about the corrupted deputies working at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, who were referring bail leads directly to the Bail Hotline Bail Bonds. (It's illegal for the cops to refer bail leads "directly" to any bail bond company, just in case you were wondering). If you haven't read that blog post yet, here's the link: Things that make you go Hmmm?


My ex-husband Javier (LASD deputy) told me in 2008 when he left me in the street: "You have 'tits and ass', you'll figure it out" I'm pretty sure this is NOT what he had in mind! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! 


The Rick Muñoz Art show was held November 22, 2014 in Whittier, CA. Rick asked me to show up without any make up on; that way, the face painting artists could do her job a lot easier. I don't usually wear a lot of make up; so, that was not a problem for me. 

Shortly after my arrival, I met the face painting and make up artist, Ericka Agosto. Ericka and Rick had a brief conversation about what Rick wanted to be featured on film. I was like, "What? Film? Did you say, 'film?'" I turned around and the camera crew was already setting up. Lol! Thanks for telling me, Rick! -Rick told Ericka that he wanted to demonstrate really beautiful and bold colors for this face painting project; so, Ericka suggested "Día de los Muertos" make up. ;-)



Fíambre

At the time of this event, I didn't know anything about "Día de los Muertos" face painting. I've seen it before; but, I never asked anyone what's the meaning of this tradition. This is a Mexican custom and as you probably know, I was born in Guatemala. In Guatemala, we also celebrate the "Día de los Muertos" on November 1st. But, my family's tradition was to go to the cemetery and pay our respects to the family members who had passed away; and then, go back home and eat "Fíambre" (a traditional Guatemalan plate) with the rest of our family. That was it! And if I remember correctly, "Día de los Muertos" in Guatemala is a national holiday. 

I did a little research about the meaning of Día de los Muertos face painting and this is what I found... 


"The Day of the Dead tradition is a mixture of Catholic beliefs with the religions of indigenous Mexican people.The most common design for Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead), is to paint the face to resemble a skull. For people not familiar with Latin American culture and the celebration of the day of the dead, this might seem strange and even scary. However, the skull has a uniquely positive meaning in Dia de los Muertos, very different from the skeletons and ghosts of Halloween. 
Skulls – known as Calaveras or Calacas in Mexico – are an essential part of the symbolism of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. They are used not only as the basis for painting faces, but also are the shape of candy such as sugar skulls and for many skeleton-inspired decorations. 

The day of the dead in Mexico is a fascinating mixture of Spanish Catholic and native Aztec traditions and beliefs. Skulls and skeletons were an important part of All Saints Day festivals in medieval Europe, especially since the Black Death ravaged the population of Europe in the 1300s. Across Europe artists, playwrights and poets mused on the theme of 'memento mori' (remember death) and the 'dance of the dead'. Many artworks and books from the time depict dancing skeletons, or portraits with a skull to 'remember death'. 

At the same time, in Mexico, the Aztec culture believed life on earth to be something of an illusion – death was a positive step forward into a higher level of conscience. For the Aztecs skulls were a positive symbol, not only of death but also of rebirth.
People in Mexico wear traditional skull masks, and the tradition of painting faces to look like a skull has grown up as a variation to this. The wearing of masks has been a powerful symbol throughout traditional cultures, of the ability of humans to get in touch with their darker, chaotic side. Face-painting as skulls is a chance to overcome fear of death, act recklessly and get up to the mischief that is forbidden at other times of the year!" -Marie McKeown


Wow! In my opinion the Mexican version of "Día de los Muertos" is pretty awesome!!! ;-) 


I had a chance to talk to Ericka while she was doing my "Día de los Muertos" face painting. I asked her how did she decide to become a make up artist.  Ericka told me that she works at the same hospital where they filmed the show "Grey's Anatomy." One Halloween, she did her own make up and showed up to work like that. She received so many compliments from the crew, patients and other people working at the hospital about how awesome her make up looked. That she decided to pursuit her passion and that's how she became a make-up artist! Aww! -I love when I meet people who create their own dreams! ;-)  


I took a picture almost step-by-step of this beautiful face painting process because I wanted to share it with you. This was an awesome and very special experience for me. I got to meet Ericka who's a very talented, gorgeous and humble woman. And I would like to thank Rick Muñoz for including me and letting me be part of his art show. I had a lot fun; but most importantly, I learned something new! Thank you Rick! ;-) 


























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