"Calaveritas" Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) Portraits project video thumbnail
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$1,240 pledged of $5,000 goal
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By Maryann Luera
$1,240 pledged of $5,000 goal
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About

     The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) on November 2nd, is a joyous occasion when the memory of loved ones and the continuity of life is celebrated. It is believed that the souls of the departed return to visit the living on this day. It is not a time of mourning since “the path back to the living world must not be made slippery by tears”. Originating in ancient Mexico, the Day of the Dead is celebrated in many North, Central, and South American countries. It is a mixture of indigenous and Catholic traditions and includes gathering at cemeteries for the clearing and decoration of gravesites, and the constructing of altars to the deceased. These altars consist of items favored by the departed, such as a favorite drink or a favorite meal. Special skull shaped candies and breads are also made for the occasion. Central to the celebration is the skull or skeleton. It is the predominant symbol in the Days of the Dead, but it is not presented to frighten. Instead, the calavera represents the playfulness of the dead, as they mimic the living and frolic amongst us.

     In some parts of Mexico during the celebrations of the Day of the Dead, it's traditional for people to paint their faces like skeletons to both be in solidarity with the departed and in celebration. In this project I will create portraits of people with their faces painted, following in this tradition. It is my goal to have the paintings differ from the usual day of the dead artwork by making them more ethereal rather than frightening or overtly sexual, as is the case with a lot of the day of the dead artwork I’ve seen out there.

     I start these paintings in acrylic paint, establishing the image in black and white. Once dry, I add color with oil paints, giving the images a richer texture. The use of both mediums makes the painting process take longer, but the results are worth the effort.

In the spirit of community prevalent in Mexican celebrations, I'm encouraging the public's participation by creating some of the portraits for this project from photos sent to me by interested people, as you can see in some of the rewards.
Ultimately, I would like to mount an exhibit of this body of work to coincide with the celebrations of the Day of the Dead in October/November 2012. I would like the exhibit to be open to the public, to allow for the maximum number of people to see it, as educating others about this Mexican holiday is one of my main goals.

   

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A 2.5 inch button bearing the image of "Mia", the first portrait in the series.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A digital copy of the project's catalog, once all the paintings are finished.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    One 8 x 10 laser print of one of the images of your choice from the project's catalog, mounted and ready for framing, Plus a digital copy of the project's catalog.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Three 8 x 10 laser prints of three of the images of your choice from the project's catalog, mounted and ready for framing, Plus a digital copy of the project's catalog.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A complete set of laser prints (5 x 7) of all the pieces in the project, mounted, plus a digital copy of the project's catalog. We're currently projecting there will be between 25 -30 portraits.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    One 9 x 12 canvas print of one of the images of your choice from the project's catalog. These are digitally printed on archival quality canvas, each hand-stretched and individually enhanced by the artist. Plus a digital copy of the project's catalog.

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    One original 9 x 12 Day of the Dead "line drawing" portrait, drawn in ink, mounted, done from a photograph provided by you. Please note, a full painting won't be done from this photograph.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    One 14x16 canvas print of an original Day of the Dead painting from a photograph provided by you. These are laser printed on archival quality canvas, each hand-stretched and individually enhanced by the artist.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    One original 9x12 Day of the Dead painting from a photograph provided by you. Painted in Acrylic on Canvas and finished in oil.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    One original 16x20 Day of the Dead painting from a photograph provided by you. Painted in Acrylic on Canvas and finished in oil.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    One original 24x30 Day of the Dead painting from a photograph provided by you. Painted in Acrylic on Canvas and finished in oil.

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Funding period

- (60 days)