This being November 2—Día de los Muertos—I thought it only proper to celebrate the work of one of my all-time, very favorite artists, printermakers and general smarty-pants/clever guy—Señor José Guadalupe Posada (click). I've been writing this post in my brain for a week, but alas, this one will be painfully brief.
I think everyone is familiar with his work—whether they know it or not. Known as, The Father of Mexican Printmaking, he was born in 1852. At the age of 16, he begain his apprenticeship with local printer, José Trinidad Pedroza. It is here where he learned to create his first lithographic prints. He later moved on to specialize in engravings, and finished his career/life working with his publisher, Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, (click to see images of Posada's work used on his Galería de Teatro Infantil pamphlets) until his death in 1913.
Aside from his technique, what drew me to his work was the fact that he really was the first one to create such imagery. The ubiquitous Calaveras (skulls) that I remember from my super-early days in Southern California, were all created by him. His imagery was political, smart and flat-out cheeky. I'm citing this web page (click) with this blurb:
Diego who? I know—not cool as without Diego, I would not have learned about Frida Kahlo (click).
I have been thinking a lot about Posada's work, lately. I think all citizens can admit that the current political climate is both exciting, and maddening—all rolled-up into one. I think that We as a people have made so much progress, and then I look at this man's work brilliant work, and I consider that perhaps we have not:
Here is an image of the Don Quixote Calavera engraving done around 1905. The tireless Calavera represents the poor while storming through the minority of the wealthy. Sound familiar?
So, tonight, Sr. Posada, I will light a candle in your honor. Respectfully yours, Victoria