I spent a semester studying propaganda and art, specifically the Mexican Muralist Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros. What prompted me to read about this artistic movement was a statement made by Rivera claiming that "if you are not an artist making propaganda, you are not an artist." I won't get into my issues with Rivera at this moment, because what I want to focus on is possibly the greatest artist from Mexico, Jose Guadalupe Posada.
I'm sure that anyone with a taste for margaritas on Cinco De Mayo has seen his work plastered all over the local taco bar. His skeletons are drawing in a style of his own, and he was not afraid to use them to criticize the politicians of the early 20th century. I'm mentioning this because propaganda and art are related, but can exist apart from each other. The semester spent on propaganda was also dedicated to painting portraits of friends and family based on how I remembered them, as opposed to how they wished to be viewed. In other words, the sitter in portraits traditionally propagates themselves to help create a flattering image for the canvas. Parade of the Dead takes this relationship between the sitter and painter, and reverses the roles of propagandist and audience. Here I have painted my friend as a float among a day of the dead parade. Why? She can't watch horror movies because she lives in the woods by herself. Completely understandable, and unforgettable. Funny thing is, I have an easier time remembering her fears than I do remembering her face.