5Qs with… is a reoccurring segment here on Dead Deco where we take the opportunity to talk to artist about their personal relationship to the Day of the Dead tradition. Daniel Esparza is an artist whose work includes dramatic depictions of La Calavera Catrina. Daniel was kind enough to take time during his recent holiday to answer our five questions.
Dead Deco: How did you first learn about the Day of the Dead holiday?
Daniel Esparza: My relatives are a major reason I know of the holiday. I’ve always seen and heard about it growing up, but sketched a few drawings of sugar skulls for the first time in the 8th grade when I was going to Davis Middle school in Compton.
DD: What is your favorite Day of the Dead tradition?
DE: I love the fact that families will leave a favorite food or drink that the deceased enjoyed in their life time. It is used in a way that it would attract their spirits, and after I’m gone i would definitely appreciate it if my family left a bottle of my favorite tequila next to my grave during the holiday, and also a chile relleno to go with it, lol!
DD: How does your community respond to Day of the Dead?
DE: My community loves it! Even if people don’t always necessarily celebrate it in my area, you’ll still see the style worn on t-shirts, talked about, and its also a popular Halloween costume.
DD: Do you have a particular Day of the Dead artist whose work you admire?
DE: I admire lots of artist, i don’t think i have one per say. Many of my friends are tattoo artist and I’ve always been a big fan of their day of the dead art that they’ve done in tattoos! Rich Martinez is one of my friends who tatts. You can see his work by looking up Ghost Town Tattoo. Spider is another great artist, he’s got a nice shop that goes by, Mi Familia Tattoo.
DD: Is there anything else about Day of the Dead that you would like to share?
DE: I’m happy to be painting an interpretation of my idealistic versions of Day of the Dead women. I’ve always been a big fan of a woman’s beautiful face. A woman’s natural beauty to me is an art in itself. So being able to combine my favorite holiday with a beautiful face is self rewarding.
DD: Thank you for that personal insight into your work and the Day of the Dead. To learn more about Daniel and his work visit the Brainstorm Gallery.