With Halloween right around the corner, when’s a better time than now to pay homage to the dead?
The Folk Tree in Pasadena is hosting its annual Day of the Dead Altars and Ephemera exhibition, now through November 2. For 31 years Rocky Behr, the owner of The Folk Tree, has hosted the Day of the Dead exhibit commemorating the Mexican Holiday Día De Los Muertos.
The exhibit located in the far back room of the store features a variety of artwork by 42 different local artists. The room is filled with paintings, sculptures, hand carved jewelry boxes, head scarfs and altars, all displayed with a mix of vibrant and dark colors honoring the deceased.
Here patrons can take a look at the “Altar to the Holy Trinity of the 27 CLUB,” an altar paying homage to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. This display features portraits and huge records of the three musicians on the wall. Right below, a table is designed with items like candles, DEATH tarot cards, Janis Joplin’s “PEARL” album and a book of poetry by Jim Morrison titled “The Lords and the New Creatures.” Matt DeHaven, the artist of this altar, does not sell any of his work-it is simply for display in the exhibit.
A large gold mosaic skull is covered in dark beads and jewels and equipped with huge porcelain teeth that look like Chiclets. A couple smaller mosaic skulls sit beside the golden one and another is covered in white mosaics and beautiful hues of blue, orange and red.
The other is a clay skull darker than night, painted all black with a matte finish and covered in black maggots and bugs. This artist Mary Clark-Camargo teaches mosaic classes in the area. Two of her mosaic skulls were not on the display because they were being used for a television production.
Mexican blankets, flowers, banners, candles, and artwork fill every wall, every corner, every altar. Peppermint candies and chocolate kisses are up for grabs in certain altars, giving patrons a taste of the favorite candy of the dead. A couple altars offer onlookers participation, equipped with tiny pieces of scrap paper patrons are allowed to write down a little message for a certain loved one they wish to honor. Many artists created altars that pay homage to loved ones who have passed, real photographs, possessions and letters from those deceased are on display.
The artists will be at the exhibit on Nov. 1 and patrons will get a chance to talk to the artists, chat up other onlookers over refreshments and even get their face painted. In past years there has been live music and folklorico groups performing at the exhibit.
The Folk Tree is located a few blocks off of Old Town Pasadena across from the Central Park and carries a collection of Mexican Folk Art the owner has collected from shop tours and traveling the globe. Admission to the exhibit is free.