Sunday, February 5, 2012

DexMex: Mexican Art by Michael Dexter

Hello everyone!  Today I will be featuring an Etsy artist that I am so impressed with that this will likely be the longest feature I have done on any other Etsy artist.  I just have so much to share, so let's get started.  The artist I am writing about is a man named Michael Dexter who owns the Etsy shop "DexMex".  When I first came across this shop the thing that really struck me was Michael's profile.  For me personally, it is the best profile I can ever remember coming across on Etsy.  It probably clicked well with me because there were parts I identified with but beyond that it was very intriguing in a way that made me very interested in his art.  I could go on about it further but instead, let me just share it with you here. This is directly from DexMex's (Michael Dexter) Etsy shop profile :
  
"Hola and welcome. You can enter my shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DexMex

I’ve never known much about my Mexican origins, despite growing up in San Diego, California. As a child I have warm memories of my grandmother and mother preparing meals in the kitchen while speaking in Spanish so I wouldn't know what mischief my grandfather was up to.

My fathers family name is Dexter of English origin and my mothers side is Mexican, so DexMex just seemed the perfect fit.

I want to reconnect with my past and learn about my heritage. With my lifelong passion as an artist, I have merged my love for design, animals and anything a little offbeat with the influence of Mexican traditions.

Exploring a small part of my culture through my art, brings me a little closer to my past.

A 1976 graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I have been in the graphic design profession for more than 35 years in Columbus, Ohio. I have received many local and national design awards. I am involved with dog rescue organizations, an avid outdoorsman, painter and musician. I am married to my beautiful wife Barb and a resident of Grandview Heights, Ohio.

Please check out my website: http://www.dexmexgraficos.com"

It is interesting & very sincere, which is why I am posting it here today.  If you feel in any way like I felt after reading that, I'm certain you are curious to see some of his artwork. You should also know that even his frames are unique; each one "has individually handcrafted clay symbols or metal studs with gold embellishments" and like his prints, no two are alike.
Browse and shop at DexMex on Etsy:

Michael Dexter can also be found at:
http://www.dexmexgraficos.com/

Here are some of my favorites:
As a night owl myself, I couldn't resist putting this one first


This is a Wizard of Oz/Wicked inspired print.  I always enjoy seeing something that I am familiar with but because it isn't in English, it is new to me.



I would love to put this on my wall.  One of my cats is a big girl. :)



I found out in Michael's listing description that this print is inspired by a Mexican game of chance called LoterÌa, meaning lottery for use English speakers. The print itself  reads "LA MANO" which is Spanish for hand.


How romantic.  I love the frame with this one too.


Rosarito Ensenada is a fifty mile bike ride along the Pacific Coast.



He offers several prints that are available in both English and Mexican. Obviously both of these are in English but what I find most interesting about the two above is that they are the same illustration but with different words that make each of the prints have a completely different feeling.  When I think of camping in America, I think leisurely visits to state parks and BBQ but when I think of going camping in Mexico I think adventure. 


This print from Michael’s shop is the only piece listed that is not a Michael Dexter original design, it is a print by Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).  An artist that Michael also credits as one of his greatest influences.  Below is a picture of Posada.


 Take a good look at Michael's work and then google "José Guadalupe Posada". You will instantly see how strong this influence truly is. I knew very little about Posada but after seeing Michael's work I decided to do a little research on him and what I found left me intrigued and surprised to the point where I am a bit stuck on Posada myself at the moment. The artist's work is chiefly associated with "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) because it often depicts "calaveras" (animated skeletons).

Here are a few examples of this work:  




 I really enjoyed browsing through Posada's artwork and I think what struck me the most was that it seemed quite a bit ahead of its time.  I admit that I know very little about Mexican art but I just couldn't get my brain around the fact that these pieces were created in the 1800s.  I am familiar with (or thought I was) art of this time period and though it was a diverse stage in art history, Posada's work stands out in a unique way even when you put it up against designs within the same genre of print work. I even went back to his Wikipedia page to make sure I was getting Posada's timeline correct.  If I had to of placed it just by guessing, I would have put it in the late 1920s early 30s, years after Posada's death.  I love when art baffles me.  I still can't get my brain around it and I'm very impressed.  This makes me even more sad to have read on Wikipedia that the artist was basically forgotten about at the end of his life

For more information and further links on José Guadalupe Posada:

Here is an example of Papel Picado (cut paper) a Mexican Folk Art worth mentioning before I sign off as Michael also mentions this as an inspiration for his art. The craft is traditionally made with tissue paper as this one shown here is and is used as decorations for many holidays. 


Here is an example of one of Michael's prints where his inspiration from Papel Picado surfaces strongly.

For more information and further links on Papel Picado:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papel_picado


Thank you so much for reading my blogpost and muchas gracias to Michael Dexter for allowing me to share his art with on my blog.
<3 Jesse
Again, don't forget to check out Michael's work for yourself:
Browse and shop at DexMex on Etsy:

Michael Dexter can also be found at:


Have a nice day!

5 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of his shop. I'll have to check out Posado's work too.

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  2. Jesse,
    You got it right about the profile and this was a very interesting blog. Great job.

    Marley

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  3. very creative...found you through the Etsy blogging team! Hope you have a fantastic week!

    enjoy *~*

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  4. I really like wicked, so i think the wizard of oz/wicked inspired one is really cool!!!!!

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  5. Great Blog! I am going to check out the shop now!

    CJ

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