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SPANISH HEARTS March 15 2019, 0 Comments

I've just returned from Mexico to Canada. In Mexico City I moved through history every day, on the streets and in the museums and the galleries. There are extraordinary works of art in Mexico, ancient and modern. Strangers smiled and warmly greeted me. Food invited me. There were earthquakes somewhere, but they were far away.

In Mexico, colour expresses itself everywhere. And it made me feel happy.

Colour is in the streets, in mercados, the food and in love potions, the clothing (ask Frida), fine art, and folk art,  ceramics in dance, and in Day of the Dead celebrations. The  Museo de Arte Polular is an especially joyous colour riot.

I brought some of Mexico's colour back with me. I've arranged many colourful hand-painted mirrored tin hearts on my wall. I see them first thing in the morning, then I look out my window, and look back to the colourful wall.

 

 I leave you with this song about the Spanish Heart by Chick Corea.

Hasta luego amigos.

Val

 


TIN HEARTS FROM A WARM CLIMATE February 21 2019, 0 Comments

I’m going down to Mexico City soon, with side trips to Zacatecas and Puebla. I’m looking forward to seeing again the fabulous art and architecture, ancient and modern, the food of course, and the music.

One of Mexico’s most appealing expressions of its culture is its folk art.

         

Although I love all Mexican folk art, my favourite is the hojalata (in English tin), the colourful charming tin art. Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead  and  Christmas with tin folk art.

In Mexico, the hojalata goes back to the 16th century to Spanish colonial times. Today, in Mexico, many people have tin folk art displayed in their homes, while other places such as cathedrals have symbolic religious tin art displayed.

Sheets of tin are cut, shaped and embossed with a pattern, then bright lacquer and enamel paint is applied. All tin folk art is handmade by Mexican artisans and craftsmen and craftswomen, who create with a sense of humour and imagination.

 

The mirrored tin heart is my favourite. Here are some hearts I brought back when I last visited Mexico.

I'll be wandering through mercados looking for more tin hearts. They'll soon be available on my website for your enjoyment and purchase. They are joyful things.

 

Hasta luego,

Val

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


VANITY VANITAS July 25 2018, 0 Comments

SKULLS IN ART

          
        Symbolism of Chance (Fortuna's Wheel)                      16th-17th French ivory pendant
Skull symbolism is the the attachment of symbolic meaning to the human skull. The most common symbolic use of the skull is as a representation of death and mortality. This iconic image populates the history of art.

      

        

ivory Renaissance memento mori                                    ancient Tibetan citipati skull mask

In many countries memento mori is an object which serves as a warning or reminder of death. Images of death are portrayed in all cultures through the ages, from classic antiquity, medieval Europe, the Victorian era, Buddhism, Japanese Zen, Tibet, and in Native American culture.

   

      18th century was tableau Queen Elizabeth                                        early 20th century postcard

Anika Burgess in her article introduces us to some masterpieces of memento moriMenachem Wecker's article suggests that memento mori is one of art history's spookiest and misunderstood genre.

In the fashion industry today, skull imagery is glorified, and this has been the case since ancient times when people wore bone necklaces to show respect and as signs of power. Today we find skull imagery on jewellery, clothing, ceramics, home furnishings, on stationery, baby clothes, even doggie clothes. The skull also makes its appearance on outlaw biker gear, on vehicles, and in tattoos.

     

Sugar skulls appear all over Mexico for Day of the Dead celebrations. Mexican folk art abounds with fantastical images of the skull. 

Death was once defined as the cessation of heartbeat. But now without a functioning heart or lungs, life can sometimes be sustained with a combination of life support devices, organ transplants and pacemakers. My emergency trips to the hospital for heart complications have saved my life. Early detection and state-of-the-art treatment for cancer have saved many lives. My life was one of them.

I know a truth: No matter one's station in life, the Dance Macabre unites all.

My near death experiences have inspired me to explore the symbolic depictions of death in art. My skull art collection had begun.

Hasta luego amigos.

Val


Amo México - Walking in Colour July 11 2018, 0 Comments

I’m inspired to create by what I see around me, and what's inside me. Exciting colours and complex patterns motivate me to explore. Artists, past and contemporary, influence my creations. I don't feel alone when I’m in unknown territory.

I see a lot while I'm walking though Mexican cities and villages. A spiraling Mexican cactus at the side of the road and colourful paper cutouts overhead in the mercado stay in my memory sketch book.

An ancient gold Aztec lip plug in the shape of a serpent's head offers the opportunity to explore mystery and the dark side. I believe that ancient creations have inspired many modern jewellery creations.

 

Rambling through the bohemian quarter in Condesa in Mexico City with all the  colourful casas simply makes me happy and playful. And I like to recreate those feelings in my own creations.

 
You'll find some of my creations on Society6. There's a colourful skull to tell you the time and a pillow to help you dream. And there's more....

While you here, you can visit my website to see some new card designs.

Hasta luego amigos,

Val