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June 30, 2017

Chalchiutlicue | Aztec Goddess of the Sea

Chalchiutlicue - Watercolor, Ink - 9 in x 6 in - Johnny Perez
Chalchiutlicue - Watercolor, Ink - 9 in x 6 in - Johnny Perez

What happens when you dive into the rabbit's hole?  You discover a massive fountain of potential inspiration perhaps?  I've been into mythology since I can remember going to the library, I mean its the closest thing to fantasy in the real world.  Ancient cultures sacrificed lives for these beings, and whatever your beliefs, the pantheon of gods in any religion was as real as night and day.

That being said, I had only ever paid attention to the Greek pantheon because that was the only book our small library had.  The internet was *gasp* not a thing in my grade school years.  But lets face it, I feel robbed.  I mean I knew of ancient cultures but where was the WEALTH of stories and information that seemed to be in abundance in the Greek mythos.  I was neck-deep in Xena: The Warrior Princess, and even comic books made reference to these gods.  That was all fine and well, but here I am thirthy-*ahem* years old and I'm just now learning of my own cultural roots!

Which brings me to my painting of Chalchiutlicue.  I've had an affinity for water since forever, and mermaids rank top of the list of favorite things to illustrate.  In recent years I've heard many references to African gods, more specificially Orishas.  I'm not near as educated in cultures of the world as I'd like, but it seemed odd to me that I'd hear this word so often in everyday conversations and in popular media.  Yes I love black culture including music and television, so this could be why.   But even when I was listening to Spanish music all day long and trying to practice my Spanish by watching novelas on Univision, I never heard any reference to anything other than Catholicism or namely La Virgen.   Of course I come to expect this from the deeply rooted seed of religion in Mexican culture.  Maybe its because I didn't grow up in Mexico, but even then, there's a passing knowledge of the pantheon, but there's no reference in popular media or entertainment.  I don't know, am I not really paying attention?

June 24, 2017

Going Home Home for Memorial Day

I traveled to my hometown to visit my family and do a little celebrating of Memorial Day.  I don't celebrate it regularly, but its hard not to when you're with family and surroundings you used to know.  Of course I took the beaux out to see the local cemetery.  Not surprised to see quite a few confederate flags there in a small row of small graves.  I'm from a small town!  The cemetery was big and full of 100s of tombstones and these (possibly racists and/or misguided) were only a small part.

Speaking of small, I found out yesterday that where I grew up is considered a ghost town!  I thought it was pretty cool. I lived in this small town called Odell for many years off and on.  I visited there a couple of years ago to get pictures of the old houses I used to live in, but they were all gone, except for two.  I lived in about 7 houses in the area and the 2 that remain are still inhabited, so I didn't wanna look like a weirdo in their front yard.  Anyway, a ghost town indeed!

I enjoyed living there as a kid, playing with the neighborhood kids and running the streets with hardly a car in sight all day.  Then we would run up to the local grocery store, Cooper Grocery run by Leoda, a little old lady who'd lived out there for years.  She looked perpetually grumpy, and the store was always warm, but we loved it.  The store has been made into something of a museum since her passing, and next door the old Post Office is now a small recording studio with a stage outside.  I heard they do "Odell Days" art and music festival, but I haven't heard if it still continues. 

Its funny to think there are parts of Vernon I have never seen, but going to explore it as an adult has proved fun on many occasions.  Things are changing here and there and some things never do.