The epic tale of the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse Printmaking Program. The Printmaking program is directed by Joel Elgin and features the odd collection of the many PrintFools who enroll, print and exist from semester to semester in the Shop of Tears.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A SCARY Clean Week with Jose Guadalupe Posada

Some scenes from last week:


The Shop of Tears/Love and Blood sparkled like a salmon, thanks to Sassalyn and the labor crews...


Very Cool Important people came to lay eggs in the souls of the PrintFools, and the fools celebrated with extraordinary treats.
(lay down your links if you have pictures from the Great Day and click the title post to read lots about Posada)

Can it get any better? Can more inspiration happen? Can the Shop always sparkle? How Scary will Wed and Thursday Halloween Days be?...

33 comments:

Maddy Grimmer said...

The link is forbidden...

profJ said...

Your Forbidden...

MaddyGrimmer, Try again.

Maddy Grimmer said...

Maybe i'm computer stupid and that's why the link didn't work....or maybe it wasn't me....

When the article said that "many illiterate citizens relied upon Posada's artistic renderings of current events and political messages to gauge the sociopolitical climate of their era" i was amazed at what a great impact Jose had on his people! For them to rely on his etchings as a source of news is truly astounding. And not to mention 15,000 images is simply mind blowing. I like the wide range of issues that he addressed and that he found that fine line between harsh and light-hearted, that i find is so crucial with work that covers such a wide variety of just and unjust topics.

I only knew a small bit about Day of the Dead but i like their idea that death is a smiling figure which is something to be embraced rather than feared. I really liked his etching, especially the ones where the skeletons are dancing.

We should have more guest printmakers....just a thought...

Lisa Ulik said...

Katherine-Great talks about Barga Video

pics from K-the greats visit

Posada is one of my favorites. Ditto Maddy Grimmer;)

Olivia said...

When I first saw the images on the blog, before I clicked on the link I couldn't figure out why they looked so familiar. Then after reading about his work and how is it used as a symbol for dia de los muertos it all made sense.

I took Spanish from kindergarten until my junior year of high school and a few of his images are ones that we looked at as we learned about this Mexican celebration. His print entitled "Queen of the Calaveras" is one that I have seen for years. It is on the link, and it is of a older woman's skeleton the print shows from her shoulders up and she is wearing a large decorative hat. The women although dead seems to have so much expression and life about her. Her hat looks like one you would see a wealthy lady wearing at a race track. His prints have really helped to teach people about the Mexican culture. It has been almost 100 years since his death and his work is still being shown and exhibited today.

Fantastic!

Jessalyn said...

Maddy, your not crazy, it was forbidden to my computer too.

I love how his prints hit a nerve not one with Hispanics that have lived through the events that he portrays but also others from other cultures that are moved by his work.
Like Olivia, I have also seen his work that is so closely tied to the Day of the Dead. I was always creeped out by it, to be honest. A skeleton smiling, doesn't really look any happier to me. It looks like an evil smile. But I did appreciate the work, I just always thought it was darker then it actually was.

Jaime said...

El dia de los Muertos is something that I fell in love with when I was in spanish class. Thinking about a day where we celebrate our lost loved ones instead of forgeting or mourning them just made more sense to me. It is crazy to find out that the man behind the smiling skeltons death was unnoticed considering what he did for el dia de los muertos. His work puts a liveliness behind the usual scary skelton figures.

Nate S said...

I love the theme that posada developed with the skeletons. It's satirical and a bit disturbing...but not so much that you don't want to look at his work. When we read the book "animal farm" in high school we talked about how putting a human situation in animal terms made it so much easier to understand. I think that Posada kind of applied this technique; using surreal images with sort of quirks to tackle real social issues. Impressive when one can tackle an entire social issue with one image which speaks to thousands of people. Much props.

Cedarose said...

An interesting printmaker, becoming fully appreciated after his life. He had a lot of drive and dedication to his 'calling.' I appreciate the way he pays equal attention to life and death, as we tend to only tink of life when deathis its constant companion and other. Death is all around us and in us in every moment. The stripping down of the human to a skeleton exhibits his concern with equanimity and brings the reality of death to the forefront. His art is everyday made to be seen in a very different way.

zoe said...

its pretty awesome how big of an impact this guy had on the people of mexico... its interesting to think about illiterate people relying on pictures to get a feel for what is going on in the world. I doubt that the photos in most newspapers today portray the feeling of the nation as well as a work of art could.

Some of those calaveras prints brought me right back to high school spanish.. especially La Catrina

Mark K said...

I'm in the same boat as a lot of others. The imagery reminds me of high school Spanish videos about the day of the dead and the fiestas and whatnot we'd have in class. It's awesome that Posada's smiling skeletons keeps resounding in Mexican culture even so long after he's been dead and how, even when he was alive, he was very widely known throughout Mexico. The "Remate de Calaveras' La Catrina" print, same as Olivia, really looked familiar when I saw it.

Sarahhigley said...

I thought it very interesting that this artist concentrated on depicting the world around him, however he didn't strive to be known as an individual. He let his artwork speak for him. His images are so powerful that he is able to send visual messages to make a statement. The fact that he produced over fifteen thousand prints during his lifetime is astounding. It shows is dedication to the medium and also that there are endless possibilites within printmaking.

Mallory_Heesch said...

AAaaaahhh!!! I LOOOOOOVE the skeletal imagery of Dia de Los Muertos!! I think we should get a road trip planned so we can see some of his prints in person. Austin, Texas... February 2–August 1, 2010 (we could go during Spring Break or something!)

I think it's incredible that it was his artwork that popularized the calaveras (skeletal imagery) of dia de los muertos. Super cool stuff :)

Toni said...

Excellent Halloween selection, Joel. I like how he kind of has his own style on the skeletons. They are not 100% anatomically correct of course, with a mix between cartoony and realistic. Sometimes it's so hard to make difficult yet common images your own. I don't really know anything about the Mexican Day of the Dead, but I like how he decides to mix most of his skeleton images with that of what the living would do, as though they have their own world that is just as grand as that of the living.

chels said...

Yes! highschool spanish class has finally proven itself worthy!

La Catrina was a spanish soap that we used to watch (which is also the name of one of Jose's Calavera prints). Posada's prints would always begin and end the show credits and comercial breaks. Interesting. kindof. I think they belittled them with the unbelievably terrible acting.. However, they blended quite well with the show because it was all about political scandal and dead great aunts.
One of Posada's prints that I found interesting is Manifestacion antireeleccionista. This is a print about the former Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz and political corruption along with the no-reelection campaign. I also thought it was fascinating that Posada had a major influence on diego Rivera's work.
thats all.

ellen said...

some really fantastical prints, some of which i have seen before in lesser classes as well. hope everyone's ready for a spooky holloween!

Rebecky said...

Kind of ironic that you put these prints up because I am incorporating skeletal images into my series ... which really makes me disappointed that I didn't check the blog before class like I was suppose to... oops. I like that these skeletons put more of an importance on expressive qualities than anatomically correct qualities (like toni mentioned). This really gives me some great ideas on how to create my skeletons in order to express my content.

Britt Vogt said...

I like the cultural symbolism and how his work came to be identified by so many people. I am working with the idea of putting symbolism like that in my final problem, things that are instantly recognizable as representing a country/people/place.

Posada is another talented printmaker, and I like how the skeletons resemble stamps, maybe thats the woodcut influence? I also like how his skeletons have a sense of movement, like they are dancing, or even primal, more like animals than humans.

Mingo said...

I love Halloween!! So these prints just tickel my fancy. His prints are funny yet scary all in one, which is hard to do with content without being cliche. But I really like the depth of his lines. I tend to default to them when printmaking, and he uses them very efficiently.

Jess said...

I also watched the soap and read the novel La Catrina in my Spanish class! It’s neat to think that I have been looking at prints for years and never knowing they were prints. Being new to the printmaking experience I am really coming to appreciate the prints and process it takes. Now looking at these images like others have said that are closely related to the day of the dead it really makes me take a deeper look at not just the images but techniques used. I keep hearing about woodcuts and would really like to know more about them?

willison said...

yep yep, high school spanish classes. good stuff, gotta love festive skeletons

Ben Clark said...

Cool stuff. Hard to imagine that throughout a career that included such a wide array of prints, he always stayed in the local print shops to work. I like his idea of making death smile, a symbol of "death being an extension of life". Definitely a neat philosophy to have in life.

Kaitlynn said...

well...dancing skeletons. my favorite for sure... since backpacking in mexico and guatemala, i have a special little corner in my heart that just overflows every time i see an artist like this. art like posada's was everywhere in Mexico, and it's 2008...guy must have done something right. i don't think about the fact that not everyone is literate, and the art i create has a lot to do with being able to read the titles. i think maybe i need to work on incorporating something else that works with the piece...stronger image...sound...something.

Bethany said...

OH man oh man! These prints are terrifying. Since I have to miss the Halloween Shop Party I guess I'm going to have to sent you guys a photo of me celebrating alone...

sarah mc said...

i LOVE this time of year so i was very interested to see a skeleton party goin down in these prints. Day of the Dead is such an interesting celebration that was the first thing I thought about looking at the prints. he does a great job of giving the skeletons life which is what day of the dead is all about anyway. very cool. can't wait to see peoples costumes!

Anonymous said...

His works have an amusing sense with the very light hearted depiction of skeletons. kind of reminds me of some of Roma's skeleton. Love the expressions and playfulness of the fullness of life the skeleton's seem to have. Eating, drinking, dancing, and everyday life, he definitely gives sense to death being only a small part to another life.

Jon Vitkus said...

his prints remind of the grateful dead. the skeletons are comical when you look at them but really represent a deeper meaning. i love the grainyness that you can see in his prints.

Gunbarrel City said...

These are some interesting lithographs. I never studied spanish in school but the theme of these pieces is familiar to me. The Día de los Muertos imagery in rather interesting, but the fact that he created an estimated 15,000 prints is ridiculous!

Joanne said...

pasada's prints are pretty neat. i have also seen his work in my high school spanish class before, i just never really knew that they were prints until now. The skeletons he portrays have a very lighthearted feel to them. they all display movement and seem very fluid even though they are skeletons.

the Sheriff said...

pasada's prints are remarkable...the detail.. just blows my mind. his appeal to those who can not read inspires me. I strive for visual communication in my work. He is inspiration for me to reach that truly intimate level between viewer and artist..

Ali said...

Really great prints, Really great themes and ideas, awesome inspiration. Hey- Cappuccino Ali is famous in Barga Italy now, thanks Lisa for taking the video!

ps: I am not dressing up- lo siento.

Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnson said...

I thought these prints were really neat, the detail is awesome, and I'm always fascintated with drawings and sketches of skeletons...sweet theme for halloween