* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The Eastern and Western classics are full of gods, saints, and heroes, all striving against life’s odds and overcoming them with perseverance, courage, energy and hope as well as help from some sort of divine energy. Unlike the gods, the saints, gurus, and heroes are humanized in creative works. Otherwise, we would find it difficult to accept them, relate to them or look up to them for inspiration and courage. It is the humanization of the subject that makes the supernatural sometimes feel real. And sometimes makes the impossible seem reachable and achievable. The classic writings all contain humanized heroes, saints and gods. The characters in these books are so humanized that the courage and inspiration we get from their endurance in overcoming life’s challenges will keep on inspiring readers forever. Because of this we can aspire to their accomplishments. If we too are able to create meaningful works providing timeless inspiration to help others, our work will live on.
Samuel Odoquei in Origin of Inspiration: Seven Short Essays for Creative People
Comments are welcome!
Q: Would you talk about how the Judas figures you depict in your pastel paintings function in Mexico?
A: Here’s a good explanation from a website called “Mexican Folk Art Guide”:
“La quema de Judas or the Judas burning in Mexico is a celebration held on Sabado de Gloria (Holy Saturday). Papier mache figures symbolizing Judas Iscariot stuffed with fireworks are exploded in local plazas in front of cheerful spectators.
The Judases exploded in public spaces can measure up to 5 meters, while 30 cm ones can be found with a firework in their back to explode at home.
In Mexico la quema de Judas dates from the beginning of the Spanish colony when the Judas effigies were made with hay and rags and burned. Later as paper became available and the fireworks techniques arrived, thanks to the Spanish commerce route from the Philippines, the Judases were made out of cardboard, stuffed with fireworks, and exploded.
After the Independence War the celebration lost its religious character and became a secular activity. The Judas effigies were stuffed with candies, bread, and cigarettes to attract the crowds into the business [establishment] that sponsored the Judas.
Judas was then depicted as a devil and identified with a corrupt official, or any character that would harm people. In 1849 a new law stipulated that it was forbidden to relate a Judas effigy with any person by putting a name on it or dressing it in a certain way to be identified with a particular person.”
This is why whenever I bring home a Judas figure from Mexico, I feel like I have rescued it from a fire-y death!
Comments are welcome!