Night of Mourning (Noche de Duelo) Designs’ mastermind Angie Wood discusses Guatemala, Buddy Holly, her grandmother, and her artistic aspirations.
Interview: Divertida Devitchka Photographs: courtesy of Angie Wood
You state in your Myspace profile that you were “raised to embrace (your) culture even though at times (you) didn’t.” How and when did you not embrace your culture, and what brought about your decision to begin incorporating it into your art?
My mom, brother and I were all born in Guatemala. I wasn’t raised there as they were. Going back to visit wasn’t a big deal for me until after high school. I didn’t remember those people so to me it wasn’t like I was missing anything. By that time it had been two years since I’d been back and by then my grandmother had passed away. I have great memories of her – staying up late, eating candy and decorating for the holidays. My first taste of tequila was with her in Guatemala City. Maybe it’s just a lot of guilt for not really caring about my heritage growing up, but every time I craft or decorate it’s like I’m young again, getting ready for the holidays.
From what influences do you draw to create your art? It’s apparent that el Día de los Muertos is a big factor.
Life experiences and remembering history. My most recent shrine was of Buddy Holly after a night of listening to my Crickets record. So much history and ideology comes to my head when I hear his music. Lots of beauty and irony.
Your profile also says that you honor life and death and that they are the only things that are certain. Is your art your way of honoring life and death?
I think it is. There’s always some theme or idea behind my work, or at least I try to have one. Last year I did an altar honoring my mother who is living and my grandmother who is not. Almost always I’ll try to have it balanced – yin and yang.
How long have you been creating art and jewelry?
About 2 years as a seller on Etsy. Even if I sell 3 things a year to me it’s meditation and to someone else it might be art or a new favorite item.
Tell me more about your creations. Do you primarily create shrines and altars? What made you decide that there was a market for that type of art?
I make more jewelry throughout the year; more folks seem interested in a one of a kind necklace they can wear out. I don’t think Dallas has a market for shrines/altars just yet. Most people forget about Day of the Dead until the month of. Right now I’m working with small coffin boxes and zebra print. All items are one of a kind, and if there is a duplicate I have it but it will never be exactly the same. For Christmas and birthdays I do custom work.
Any big developments or events on the horizon for you and/or your art?
Doing more shows! I’ve done a few hot rod shows and did a burlesque show. I participated with my husband in two Day of the Dead art shows last year and I’m hoping for the opportunity to do it again this year.
What are your aspirations as an artist?
To make beautiful items that people will not want to throw away when they have to move, haha. Right now I just do it for fun. I try to keep a nostalgic feel to the necklaces I make. I’d eventually like to have my own line of jewelry picked up by Daddy-O’s, Sourpuss or Pinup Girl Clothing.
Anything you’d like to add?
Thanks a lot for checking out my stuff. I look forward to meeting more people who share the passion of doing it yourself. Without Discrimination Death Takes Us All.