Mexican Folk Art: Sugar Skulls

By: Jasmine James

Background Information

Mexican Folk Art is largely displayed and created during the Day of the Dead. The graves of loved ones are decorated and special festivities are held to honor and remember them. Sugar Skulls are one of the most popular examples of Mexican Folk Art. Sugar production was abundant in Mexico during the 18th century. Sugar skulls are made to honor the dead and are popular during celebrations. Sometimes sugar skulls are eaten but most are preserved. People spend months on end trying to create the most decorative sugar skull. They can also be made out of chocolate and be a sweet treat!

My Inspiration

I created this project because I wanted to express myself using certain colors. My colors were inspired by the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is about honoring loved ones who passed away and celebrating their lives. I created a paper mache’ sugar skull to represent the actual sugar skulls that are used in the celebrations. I used pink, purple, yellow, and white in my background and on my skull. On my skull, I created dots to give it texture and used purple as my background to give it balance. The shape of my skull helped to make it more realistic. On my backboard, I painted pink, purple, and yellow stripes going diagonally. They form a pattern going all across the whole board. I painted white lines going horizontally. My lines help to make my backboard more unified. The white stands out on its own. I placed my skull diagonally across my backboard. I chose to do this because it contrasted against my lines and made the composition of my skull more focused as a part of the painting rather than the center. I chose to not make my skull the center because i wanted to show how all the items in my piece were unified. I also wanted to show how repetition played a factor in the direction of my lines. I was inspired by the colors that are depicted in sugar skulls. The bright, sensational colors that represent love and happiness. I wanted to recreate that same happiness in my own sculpture and to incorporate my own style within it.