Saturday, November 17, 2012

Oaxaca Dia de Los Muertos Dia Tres

Today was Saturday, October 27, and it is the first day of class in the DeMeng De Los Muertos End of the World workshop led by Michael de Meng

It appears that I am the early riser in the group as each day I am pretty much done with my breakfast buffet before anyone else shows up.  Today I took advantage of the fact that we did not have a morning excursion to do some work on my laptop.  I also was able to Skype with Denice for the first time.  Skype sure does cut down the miles between two people separated by my art interests and her working at home to pay for the trip. 

Class started at 10 a.m. sharp with the usual fun and games coming out of our fearless leader, Michael de Meng.  The more grounded of the leaders is Colleen Darling who always made sure we always knew what was going on even if we did not speak the language.

The idea behind DeMeng De Los Muertos is for all of us to build a time capsule that can be left behind just in case the Mayans got it right and the world is coming to an end this year.  Here is Michael's own example of what we should be aiming for; it is a metronome and a time capsule.  Yes, two, two, two things in one.

Initially I thought that it was going to be hard to get engaged in the project with the city of Oaxaca sitting right outside the window but I found that not to be true.  One of the things that makes these remote workshops a challenge is I cannot bring a van full of crap like I like to do:  people who have been with me in a workshop will not believe what my desk top looked like at the start of this one.

I decided that my time capsule was going to be this children's metal bank with a door.  It is about 4" tall, 3" wide and 2" deep.  Again, people who have worked with me in workshops before will know I do not normally work this small.  But, considering all this stuff had to fit into one suitcase, I went petite. 

I sat in the back row of the workshop with my companions in the rear echelon:  Marilyn Werst, Kristy (kd) Duncan, my chair, Vickie Trancho, Lois Inman Engle, and Jessie McNally.

Lunch every day of the workshop is on Colleen who selects the places where we will eat.  The food is all pre-ordered so when our big group shows up, the waiters all start throwing food at us and we dig right in.  The first two days we went to this art filled restaurant called Maria Bonita. 

After lunch, a few of us headed out into the streets for much needed supplies.  We hit a very cool antique store where I scored four tiny wood table legs, two casters, and a ex voto, then a catch all store we called the tea pot store because of its sign where I bought a number of (but not enough) tin figures and some milagros.  I would not have been able to do any of this without the help of "kd" who, although claiming to speak only restaurant Spanish, managed to get me through all my shopping experiences with some semblance of dignity. 

While walking the streets of Oaxaca, it is not possible to go very far without seeing art.

We finished at the Frida Kahlo art supply store where, on my own, I practiced my pigeon Spanlish and hand gestures in order to buy three tubes of acrylic paint and two brushes for a whopping 7 pesos. No offense to "kd," but at some point I had to try this and see if I could survive.  In Oaxaca, even the shops, like Frida Kahlo, are gorgeous works of art.

Back in the workshop, I set the bank aside and my initial first project was to make a mask from Aves Apoxie Sculpt so that I could paint it in the style of the the Angeles, the Zapotecan figure carvers and painters of the alebrije.  I brought the teeth and the rusty flower from home but the crown came from the religious store and the skull from Colleen's goody bag she gave each participant. 

Next up: tongue.

Each night it was hard to think about staying in the workshop and working even thought the room was available until midnight.  Instead, there was the call of the zocalo which was reached by walking up the Alcala.  Here is the gang headed to the square for a night of fun, fun, fun:

In Oaxaca, there is, for lack of better words, a prodigious amount of wall art.  Some of it is political, some of it is fine art and some of it is tagging.  It is endless, relentless, and made me wonder if home and business owners were concerned, pissed or compliant in the whole process.   Any way, I could not stop shooting this stuff.

Dinner tonight was at La Grantorta Pozoleria.  Each night around the table there would be table talk dealing with all sorts of subjects.  Here is a rare picture of Andrea Matus de Meng actually hearing a Michael de Meng story for the first time:

After dinner it was back out on the streets for more stimulation. 

You can see the full set of photos from this trip at