Mexican Polyester

"Immortelle", mixed media painting on 5x7" canvas

Day 239: Immortelle

I’ve got more sculpture pieces in the works, but they aren’t one-day-and-done kind of projects. So today’s piece is a mixed media mini painting. Using a clipping from an old hymnal, a bit from a vintage dictionary, sewing patterns, ribbon, candle wax, blue watercolor and some 100% polyester made-in-Mexico lace, I put the words “death and nature” together with the definition for “immortelle”. Modern definitions refer only to flowers that don’t lose their color, whereas this vintage dictionary also includes reference to a funeral wreath.

Growing up in the heavily populated SF bay area, I remember seeing lots of immortelles on roadsides, eerie silk flower tragedy markers, flooding me with a mixture of sadness, empathy and fear. It seemed to be a common practice among the Hispanic population. Even though I have Mexican heritage, I am usually unsettled by Dia de los Muertos art. I’ve always tried to avoid thinking about death, yet I sense there’s something wise in facing it the way they do. I envy artists who are able to make things that are both sad & sweet or creepy & pretty, and I feel like this piece does that. Have a great weekend, everyone!