Señora De Las Sombras

So I finally finished the Narcocorrido poster on almost two weeks ago and I've just been too lazy to finish this blog entry for some reason. Might have been a little Halloween distracted as well...
The painting is pretty large so I didn't get a chance to scan it and all I have for now are these kind of crappy photos. At least you can make out the design though:
Yeah...not a good photo. Anyway, Ryan Prows who is the director of this short film, contacted me months and months ago about doing this poster and after a lot of back and forth we got a good solid idea about what the poster should include. Here's a synopsis of the film from Ryan's site:

The narcocorrido, a drug ballad in the Mexican folk-music tradition, mythicizes seedy border tales of the modern west: drug lords, human trafficking, arrests, betrayals, shootouts and murder. Naija Dillion is a Yuma county Sheriff’s deputy, an outsider and minority in her own community. Gravely ill, and disillusioned in the wake of the new Arizona racial profiling law, Naija robs a drug cartel shipment of contraband in a last-ditch scramble for personal survival.
With blood and fire loosed in the territory, Naija finds herself caught up in a narcocorrido made real. Can she recognize her shared desperation with the traffickers, men with families in danger if they don’t succeed in their delivery? Or will she suppress her humanity to achieve her own wellbeing?

Ryan wanted to integrate some Santa Muerte imagery since the cult is popular in the world of drug trafficking (though it's not at all exclusive to that and is very popular). It's an interesting intersection of what some believe to be pre christian death cult ideas and Catholic Saint worship. I like how it's a cult born from a need, where people on the margins of society saw something lacking in Catholicism and created a figure that served their spiritual needs. The Catholic church in Mexico does not acknowledge the saint or the practice and considers it a form of "devil-worship" but that doesn't have any affect on the popularity of the cult and many people consider themselves devout Catholics but still worship Santa Muerte along with the other saints.
The painting is based off of the statues of the figures which are usually dressed in satin and lace dresses and decorated with beads and jewelry and little figures on the necklace are milagros. I thought the saint and milagro imagery were appropriate for a film with two characters whose lives are desperate and in need of intervention.

This project presented me with a real challenge since Ryan really wanted the two main characters to be on the poster. It's been years since I did any real portrait work and when I did it was always in much more forgiving mediums like oil paints and charcoals. Oddly I hated the drawing of Naija but thought it came out better when painted and had the opposite experience with the portrait of the male character, Hector, that I thought looked much better in the drawing stage:
It doesn't help that both actors look attractive and happy in all their publicity photos but totally hard in the movie, so I didn't have a lot of reference to work with. I would say I did a serviceable job and that the style they're done in fits pretty well with the hand painted style of the rest.

I don't know, there's a lot of symbolism here and I'm feeling more than a little lazy about spelling it all out so hopefully it comes through and the poster works!

Halloween was good but I've been sick so I laid low on the actual day and like last year carved a few samhnag (three turnips and two acorn squash), drank hot cider in my cold backyard and watched them glow for a while.
I also whipped together a pretty good Psychomania costume for a couple parties:
There was a Halloween opening for the Autumn Spell show I'm in and there will be another this Friday for First Friday. Check it out!!


Dilek Baykara said...

Jesus Christ, this is absolutely gorgeous.

wandering genie said...

Thanks, lady!