La Ultima Fiesta [x-posted from]

[as listed on etsy]:

Ultima Fiesta - shadowbox Ultima Fiesta - shadowbox

the print used for this piece has a very interesting story to it. scroll to the bottom for an explanation.

for this piece, i wanted to create a feel of an antique spanish colonial artifact. i stumbled on an interesting development involving the e-6000 bonding glue. if you have any experience with this stuff, you know that (1) it's awesome; and (2) it's messy ... strands of this stuff go everywhere, it's so gooey. i used this to my advantage and created a sort of cowbeb inside the box, which adds another element of dimension to what's behind the glass.

i mounted the sealed print on the back board that was painted in gold metallic paint, then added bits of gold leaf surrounding it.

the face of the box is covered in copper paint to which a patina has been added, creating a look of weathered goodness. wooden ornamentations were also added, but i wanted to bring some of the color from the print inside to the outside, so these were painted in bright hues of blues and reds, which were then treated with translucent layers of other colors to create the illusion of being old and weathered.

a wooden spire on top has been treated with an iron oxide and is naturally rusting. the back of the box features a fushia covering, also treated with paint for an aged look and feel. there are two hanging units for easy installation.

the glass has been treated both inside [with acrylic wash] and outside [with enamel paint in pewter]. two copper bits adorn the two outside columns and hold a bunch of complimenting feathers. on close inspection, you'll notice flashes of subtle color in the patina'd exterior. a hand made polymer clay ornament adorns the bottom front.

Ultima Fiesta - shadowbox Ultima Fiesta - shadowbox

box by itself is 6 x 6 inches, with a depth of 1.5 inches
the spire adds just over an inch to the height
[the feathers obviously add a little more]
the wooden ornamentations on the front add another inch to the depth


- shadowbox
- glass
- wooden ornamentational dowels [2] and caps [4]
- wooden scroll facing
- wooden spire
- copper
- feathers
- acrylic paint
- metallic paint
- enamel paint
- print
- gold leaf
- e-6000 bonding agent
- liquid nails
- craft stick bits
- tissue paper
- papier mache
- antiquing solutions
- hanging hardware
- wire
- nail brads
- mod podge
- glazing

to view the progression of this piece, go here.



a while back, i was asked to participate in an exhibit called "The Tea Party" put together by Pig and Pepper. obviously, this was an Alice In Wonderland themed show, and the curator, knowing at the time that i was focused mainly on mexican folk inspired work, he was curious to see what i would come up with as a result. i surprised even myself when i came up with this.

the show was right around easter, so i believe that was another thing that played into this creation. the original piece is no longer with me, but i found the concept so wonderful that i recreated it in an ACEO using markers and ink.

it is called "La Ultima Fiesta", or "the last party". it was a play on several things:

Christianity -- The Last Supper
Alice in Wonderland -- The Tea Party
Mexican Culture -- familiar icons

Frida Kahlo, here shown as a young girl, plays the role of both Alice and Christ. the chair behind her is aptly structured so that it seems she has a halo, and the flowers and the style of her hair are such that they are reminiscent of Alice.

El Muerto, is a familiar icon in the mexican culture. the beauty of the muerto is that in this culture, it is usually portrayed in a benevolent manner, not threating or morbid. he holds a mask [also used in mexican ceremonies] in the shape of a rabbit. as you may have guessed ... The March Hare. and its ties to christianity, St. Peter, it was a stretch, but i felt if anyone would be invited to a party with christ, it would probably be his beloved disciple, peter [simon]

Emiliano Zapata, the mexican revolutionary is most identifiable by his large sombrero, and thus, makes a wonderful Mad Hatter, and, considering the similarities as powerful figures of rebellion and strong sense of justice, John The Baptist. both were central figures in their history, being passionate in their beliefs, with the ability to sway the masses. both were also slain because of these things.

. . .

a few things about the painting that i'd like to point out that may not be very obvious:

- the fish that sits before "alice" is a dead one. it seemed only fitting that this feast, which i wanted to reflect a sort of "ofrenda" or day of the dead offering, have these sort of reminders. you'll see there is a grinning sugar skull on the table mixed in with pan muerto and pan dulce. fish and loaves, you see?

- the roasted pig, a common delicacy in mexican food, is also offered up for the feast. keeping with the Alice theme, i thought of the babe that turned into a pig and ran away. [er, this didn't really fit well in tune with the christian theme as, at the time, pork was believed to be unclean and so they were not allowed to eat of it.]

- the "papel picado", the rows of decorative paper hanging above them, very often seen and associated with fiestas, if you look closely at the one directly above her head, has the faint markings of a dove ... the holy spirit. an animal in the sky that blends in with its surroundings ... the cheshire cat.

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