Filed under: Bloggidy Blog | Tags: alfonso castillo, mexican folk art, warning labels
Do you know what I have to do? Get some damn work done. Except I can’t stop thinking about stuff I saw in Mexico. I took about 175 pictures. That’s a lot of blogs worth. Here’s another one:
I didn’t buy any gifty items on the trip…except a carton of cigarettes for my pal Sean. Cigarettes were so cheap there–only $2.40/a pack in the duty free store at the Cancun airport. The warnings on the packages are more in your face than usual:
Geez, I’m trying to be on vacation here. Lighten up.
So, in the giant shopping district in Playa del Carmen was a lot of junky stuff and a lot of really good art all kinda mixed up together. Shopping turned out to be stressful, too, with the vendors constantly vying for the attention of Senor Whiskers. It was very sensory overload and since I had no idea what I was looking at or what anything was truly worth I ended up buying nothing. I also ended up not taking pictures of any art pieces. It always kind of bugged me when people would come into my store and photograph things without buying anything so I tried not to do that in Mexico. Also I did not know how to say “Can I take a picture of this piece so I can research it on the internet and then maybe buy it later from a gallery in America” en Espanol. Anyway, I couldn’t get this one piece that I found out of my head so I found a pic of something similar on the web:
It was a skull really similar to this one. Exactly like it, really, except without the caterpillars. One of the gals in our group had been eyeing it the last two times she was in Playa. She was told by the shop owner that the whole thing is carved wood though artist who made the above piece, Alfonso Castillo, works with clay. Castillo is a pretty big wheel in the Mexican folk art world. Whether it was Castillo or someone else they wanted $500. American dollars for the one we saw, the one without the caterpillars. Had I anticipated seeing something this cool, and had I not just bought a new camera, I might have brought that skull home. I’ve been looking for Castillo’s work on the web and I can’t find any skulls for sale anywhere. Now I really want one.
A lot of places were selling these beaded masks. They are paper mache coated with wax into which beads are embedded. All of the beads are hole side up and the designs are very symbol-rich. Mother! Those look like a lot of work. Some of these masks are huge. They really knock your socks off, color wise though, nothing is ever going to trump butterfly skull. Man I want that butterfly skull.
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