We, at Dead Deco, love to hear different experiences and opinions related to the Day of the Dead. Every week, we offer a segment called 5Qs in which we take the opportunity to share some insight into an artists opinions of Muerte Art, Calavera Culture and Dia de los Muertes. This week we have a special guest from the world of sculpture: Tamra Kohl of Clay Lindo.
Dead Deco: Thank you for taking a moment during this exceptionally busy time of year to answer our five questions. Before we begin, Tamra, we would like to first say that we appreciate your wonderful talent and the way you are contributing to this longstanding Day of the Dead sculptor tradition. How did you first learn about the Day of the Dead?
Tamra Kohl: I spent all of my childhood summers in a trailer park near Ensenada in Baja California. I spent many hours in the gift shop at the end of the road admiring the colorful Mexican arts and crafts. My favorites were the miniature figurines, especially the Day of the Dead dioramas. Although I didn’t know the significance of the holiday at that time, I thought it was funny and cool how they depicted the skeletons in a bar, in the barber shop, at a funeral, just going about their business. I’ve tried to continue that lighthearted attitude in my dioramas.
DD: What is your favorite Day of the Dead tradition?
TK: One of my favorite traditions of Day of the Dead is to cook the favorite meals of deceased loved ones. The smell and taste of certain foods brings back such good memories. One year we cooked a whole meal of southern classics, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, okra, in honor of my mom who cooked them so well! Then at dinner with family and friends we shared stories about her. I think it’s a great way to honor someone’s memory.
DD: How does your community respond to Day of the Dead?
TK: In my town, Sacramento, California, there are several galleries and community organizations that sponsor events for Day of the Dead. From sugar skull and mask workshops to a huge open air display of personal and community altars which is really wonderful to see.
DD: Do you have a particular Day of the Dead artist whose work you admire?
TK: I love the work of Peruvian sculptor Claudio Jiminez. His Day of the Dead figurines and retablos are so incredibly detailed and colorful.
DD: Is there anything else about Day of the Dead that you would like to share?
TK: After losing several close relatives, it’s become important to me and my family to have this time that is dedicated to remembering our loved ones. I think it’s a wonderful tradition to have this day that is all about death, but not in a sad or morbid way. The Day of the Dead is about celebrating and keeping alive our memories of those who have passed.