Join Ernesto Sanchez, multi-media and multicultural artist, as he discusses his creative path as a ceremonial and visual artist during his virtual art reception. This online event, organized by the Dance Palace Art Committee, will feature a conversation with the artist discussing several pieces, followed by a Q&A session.
Ernesto Sanchez’s work is mixed media and multicultural, incorporating influences from his Southern California childhood, his Mexican-American upbringing, his artistic studies in Asia and Indonesia, and his many years performing, teaching, and collaborating with artists throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Ernesto has been living and making art in West Marin for over four decades.
Working with symbolism, myths, stories from ancient cultures, his art blends these into a new expression of old and new, east and west. His goal is to create pieces that act as portals for the spirit and vehicles for personal discovery.
Ernesto Sanchez is on Facebook
“Spirits of the Underworld”
Though many cultures throughout history have spoken of the underworld and the mythical energies that one may find there, this series represents my own personal exploration of symbols, images, and spirits of the underworld. In my view, the underworld is a place of personal growth. It can be dark, hard to navigate and difficult to see the light on the horizon but, ultimately, it’s where transformation occurs. I started in 2016 and have made more than 30 sculptures in the series.
There was a time in my life when, for various personal reasons, I felt I was on an odyssey through the underworld. Curiously, during this time most of my works had heavenly imagery. I began making these angels then, in what I now call my “Angelic Period.”
This Angel is fierce, she is powerful., she’s defended. She hold her wings in a hovering stance, ready to embrace and protect those around her. Like an African fetish sculpture, the nails on her body are for protection and power against those who would attempt to impose their will on her.
This angel’s body and wings, like so many landscapes on our planet, is ripped, tattered. She is crying for the earth. Her tears are bleeding hearts that will fall to the ground to regenerate and reinvigorate. The rays around her head represent the angels awareness of the higher realms, towards which her arms are reaching as she ascends.
When I started to create a series based on the goddess archetype I entered an energetic world of the divine feminine. This energy is timeless and it exists all around us. These are some of the goddesses that I met as I sculpted them.
“I have seen many things in my life. I have walked a parched, destroyed land. I have lived. Survived. Persevered. Yet I still carry peace and love in my heart. I have something to tell you. Please listen to my silence.”
The land seen through Ilola’s eyes has been ravaged, her life difficult. Yet she holds her body with bearing, her head high with strength. Her body is a roadmap of experience, the glistening snake the presence of other life forms, the rays a level of divine awareness, and the flowers a reminder of the continual rebirthing of beauty and life.
“Adorn me with your cast-off glass, tossed in the sea, broken and polished. Color me in swirls of currents, in reds and pinks, in colors cool and soothing. Remember me as you walk on the earth, for I am but a moment of transition between land and sea.”
Cuauhtémoc was the Aztec’s last emperor. On the left is a plant form representing Occidental mind which has taken over and is blocking the sunlight. The people are sending a snake to crawl across the sky and kiss the sun to stimulate the sunlight, thus dissipating the shadows that have covered the land.
I sculpted this piece in June of 2020, when it looked like the COVID-19 pandemic was coming to a close. After 15 months of being locked down, I wanted to capture the collective experience of seeing the world anew. Using pre-Columbian iconography, I sculpted a human face emerging from a snake, representing rebirth and shedding the skin of the old. The multiple eyes represent all the new visions one may have, new possibilities, after being “locked down” for so many months. The sea represents the constant flow of the “tides of change” while the turtle is a reminder that with every new vision one must stay steady and persevere, as new realities take time to materialize. The bird is the universal symbol of “peace,” wishing one “peace on your journey.”
Throughout the ages people have sought ways to unlock and understand the mysteries of life. Many cultures share the same metaphoric images to explain this quest. In this piece, the snake, representing the transformative power of nature, crawls up a book of ancient text, a gateway to higher understanding. The two figures, whose backs we see as they move forward, are entering a state of higher understanding. The eye in triangle, the “Eye of Providence,” has represented all-seeing knowledge to groups as diverse in time and place as the Egyptians, the Freemasons and the founders of our country (see the dollar bill). This piece came out of my “Vision” series, works I created when dealing with a loss of sight in one eye, and my thoughts about different ways of “seeing.”
Combining symbolism from Mesoamerican, ancient Greek and Christian cultures, the overall shape of this piece is a cross, but a cross that’s in the process of transforming into a higher state. The intertwined snakes, the caduceus, represent life, death and rebirth. They also are a representation of sexuality; they enclose a yoni, the passageway through which we all enter life. The enlightened eye at the top oversees all. The half circle surrounding the eye represents harmony, completion, the whole; and the multilayered nature of the rays symbolizes the complexity of life.
Journey of 1,000 Moons
If you count the moon cycles you will experience in your lifetime, by the time you reach 77 years of age you will have experienced one thousand.
To honor the inspirational force that the moon has on my life, I began an art project called The Journey of 1,000 Moons. The goal is simple: to make 1,000 moons. Each of the moons are cast in gypsum and hand-painted. They are 3 inches in diameter.
Below is a brief video of Ernesto discussing his creation of a mirrored mosaic commissioned for Airbnb’s new offices in San Francisco.