This year, the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin hosted its first annual Catrina Ball, a black tie masquerade concept event in celebration of Mexico’s beloved La Catrina. La Calavera Catrina (“The Elegant Skull”) is a 1913 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada and is most often incorporated into artistic manifestations of el Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). I had the honor of painting the face of my friend Jessica for the event, which she wanted to coordinate visually with her partner Alex Freeman’s amazing art mask.
To achieve this intricate sugar skull makeup, I used Mehron Paradise Paint and an arsenal of blending sponges and fine-tip brushes. The entire design was drawn free-hand with a black eyeliner pencil first, then filled in and colored with the water-based paint. We stuck with black, white, and red hues, adding silver (Mehron metallic powder mixed with barrier spray) for metallic accents.
We finished off the look with a pair of dramatic lashes embellished with a silver glitter strip. What a difference this step made! The contrast of the silver against the black eye paint really pulled the whole thing together and made Jess’s eyes pop.
Jessica pulled this look off beautifully with her own black ball gown and some personalized adornments custom-made by me. I created her rose crown and hand-painted ribbon choked to mimic the details of Alex’s mask design.
Dia de los Muertos, an annual holiday honoring the dead, is most strongly associated with Mexico – where it originated – but is celebrated throughout Latin America. Dia de los Muertos is actually Dias de los Muertos; the holiday is spread over two days. November 1 is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. Graves are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2 is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, whose graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds.
Mexic-Arte’s Gala de Museo / Catrina Ball looks like it was a magical evening a huge success, raising funds for educational and exhibition resources. I’m beyond thrilled to have had an opportunity to contribute to the event in my own little way. Here’s to the museum’s continued prosperity!