Solana Beach artist creates altar of love and spirit

Artist Todd Swenke stands with his Dia de los Muertos installation at Leaping Lotus in Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District. Photo: Claire Harlin

By Claire Harlin

editor@delmartimes.net

Between now and Nov. 7, guests of Leaping Lotus in Solana Beach can enjoy more than the thousands of trinkets and pieces of art for sale in the shop, but they can relish a culturally educational exhibit that’s not only extravagant, but particularly special to the man who made it.

Artist Todd Swenke, who specializes in painting the colorfully-adorned skeletons that characterize Dia de los Muertos, has erected three large and elaborate altars at the entrance of the shop, which not only bring attention to the Latino holiday, but also pay homage to his own family members who have passed on.

As tradition has it, Dia De Los Muertos is a time when the dead return home to visit loved ones, feast on their favorite foods and listen to their favorite music. Swenke has traditionally honored deceased family members in his own home, and for the past to years, he has brought his altars, which tower at least six feet in height and have multiple tiers filled with offerings, two Leaping Lotus.

Swenke isn’t Hispanic, but he said “the altars can transcend any culture.

“It’s about paying homage to those you respect,” he said. “It’s a beautiful way to honor family members who are deceased.”

Dia de los Muertos starts on Nov. 1, a day that is dedicated to the children and infants, and ends on Nov. 2, the day that is dedicated to deceased adults.

A Montana native, Swenke’s altars contain black-and-white photos of his Western great grandparents, and items from his wife’s family are also featured on the colorful, hand-painted altar shelves. He included a bottle of Kahlua — his grandmother’s favorite spirit — many flowers and jewels, artificial foods and a number of hand-painted Dia de los Muertos skeletal figures and skulls. Also included are colorful soaps, water and a towel — so the dead can be cleansed after their journey.

Similarly themed paintings hang throughout the shop and altar display, one of which was the collaborative effort of Swenke and his 18-year-old daughter, Tiffany, who is pursuing a fine arts degree. The painting, titled “Transision,” illustrates the transition from past life to post-mortem, and shows a woman (painted by Tiffany), who is half skeleton (painted by Swenke).

Artist Todd Swenke’s Dia de los Muertos altar installation at Leaping Lotus in Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District. Photo: Claire Harlin

“It gives you so much fulfillment as a parent to create something with your child,” Swenke said.

The exhibition also features an altar created by Maya Ramirez, from Aguascaliente, Mexico, which shares relics from her family in Mexico. Three-dimensional art by Cesar Castaneda is also on display —including two tree stumps that have been transformed into ornate and organic feathered animal heads, one of which is suspended high above the ground. Also on view (and on sale from almost $900) is a boxed spring bed that was used as the palette for a large, detailed Dia de los Muertos-themed painting.

Leaping Lotus is located at 240 S. Cedros Ave. For more information call (858) 720-8283.

Related posts:

  1. Solana Beach creates housing authority
  2. Solana Beach fine artist sponsors ocean art contest for kids to help homeless children
  3. Friends of the Solana Beach Library to present award-winning author
  4. Solana Beach: Restaurants set scene for music, laughter in ‘Five Course Love’
  5. Del Mar, Solana Beach home to top chocolatiers

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=28644

Posted by Staff on Oct 27, 2011. Filed under Del Mar, News, Solana Beach. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RSS LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Is Impact Investing the Way of the Future?
    By Chris L. Meacham, CPA, Cornerstone Wealth Management The next generation of investors is estimated to inherit $41 trillion from the baby boomers, and trends are revealing that impact investing will not only be part of mainstream wealth management, but it may become the core-portfolio. With that in mind, some of the biggest names in […]
  • Jerome Strack named General Manager of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
    Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, has named Jerome Strack general manager for The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, the historic hotel located near San Diego. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is part of Benchmark Hospitality’s Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels brand collection. Greg Champion, executive vice presiden […]
  • ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ fashion show in Rancho Santa Fe to benefit Mitchell Thorp fund
    The Pillars of Hope Under the Tuscan Sun Charity Fashion Show, benefiting the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, will be held “under the stars, al fresco” from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at Cielo Village, 18029 Calle Ambiente, Rancho Santa Fe. The event will include the Pillar of Hope Awards presentation, Tuscan cuisine, wine and beer tasting, a Couture Men a […]