Exactly one week ago, on September 19, 2017, I wrote a new blog entry. I started to write late that morning, and because I wanted to focus 100%, I stayed away from my social media, phone notifications, etc. A couple of hours later, I was done but before posting it, I decided to finally start checking on notifications from my social media. Almost immediately, I started to see trending topics about a Mexican earthquake. At first, I thought this trending was due to the anniversary of Mexico's earthquake of 1985, from exactly 32 years ago. However, it didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't any anniversary or remembrance news, but in fact, Mexico City had experienced a new devastating earthquake.
Out of respect, I decided not to post my blog entry at that moment, but instead to wait for a better time. Mexico's situation was unraveling right in front of the world to witness, and needless to say, the first days proved to be very hectic (to say the very least).
Here I am, one week later, ready to post what I wrote, hoping that the country where I was born and raised will keep healing. Oddly enough, what I wrote a week ago, even though I was unaware of what was going on in Mexico at that moment, is still relevant. In fact, it is more relevant than what I expected when I finished writing. I expressed my opinion about what it is to be Mexican and our character duality, that distinctive quality present as a common denominator all across the country. Seeing how Mexico reacted to this horrific chapter of our history ("it's time to help, anything else can wait"), and to realize the similarity of how it reacted 32 years ago, makes me feel more convinced of why Mexico is part of me... and I'll always be part of Mexico.
Below, my original post from one week ago. Thanks again for reading this. ¡Viva México!
Joy is a fundamental part of the idea of being Mexican, something that can be seen from an inside and outside point of view. The history of Mexico, as I mentioned, has been painful in many aspects from the very beginning. However, the attitude we as Mexicans have towards a harsh situation, is usually a very lighthearted one. Sometimes cynical, sometimes naive, sometimes optimistic, and sometimes witty, Mexicans ability to see the fun (and often funny) side of every situation might be our best surviving tool. Unfortunately, that same tool has been one of our biggest limitations, but that's a topic for another time.
This lighthearted attitude that I mentioned, takes me to the reason why I decided to render a second image this year. Remember I told you I would go back to explain it? Did you think I would forget? :) After I finished Lisa's image, I felt it really portrayed a lot of the feelings of pride (and pain) that have been embedded in Mexican culture for a very long time now. This painting in fact focused on that aspect and that aspect only, under a somehow dark tint (again, to reflect my vision of the current situation). But, what about that attribute of joy mentioned previously, which in my opinion is often a crucial part of being Mexican? I'm talking about that irreverent trait, always looking for the fun/funny aspect in our lives. I felt that I needed to portray that as well, because now more than ever, this surviving tool that I mentioned, is extremely necessary, to keep the spirits up. In a way, I needed some kind of balance regarding my portrayal of how I view my culture, my raising. That's the reason why I rendered a second image, the other side of the mirror.
So, for the second pin-up, I ended up rendering a very lighthearted image, that reflected many aspects of the culture: from the traditional elements of the "fiesta", like the piñata and the Mexican hat, as well as a mischievous Mexican model, Fernanda. And why is mischievous an important factor? Because that's a fundamental part of the Mexican culture anywhere, that irreverent trait that I mentioned before: the play on words, the double meaning, the intended puns, the self-poking fun, etc. Again: mischievousness (or "picardía" to stay true to the Mexican meaning).
I see the second pin-up as a contrast, as a mirror view of the first one. Not necessarily as a light and dark aspect, but I guess more like a Ying Yang concept. When it comes to describing the Mexican culture (as a whole notion, not individually), it can be done by the factors of pain/pride and joy/mischievousness. I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to illustrate, not only on concept, but also technique. What can I say? I see myself as the Mexican I am, and that makes me want to keep pushing forward... which reflects directly on my artwork. It's worth noting that for years now, the Mexican Independence Day pin-up has been the spearhead when it comes to the improvement of my artwork. Every year I try to walk the extra mile rendering this image, and that sets the pace for subsequent work... until the next year. This year was not the exception.
Thank you for reading this rambling of mine. I hope it allows you to see a bit more of what's inside this scrambled mind of mine. As always, I invite you to leave your comment and/or your Like. The Mexican Independence Day pin-up... well, pin-ups, for this year are finished, and that itself is a reason to celebrate.... while still pushing forward, of course. See you next time!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.