Jerry Vigil
About the artist:

  • Born in Denver, Colorado, in 1961
  • Known as Denver’s “Dean of the Dead”
  • Main subjects/themes of his art:
    • - Saints (Santos)
    • -Dia de los Muertos art
    • - Skeletons (Calaveras)
  • Vigil chose these themes as a statement of Chicano culture
    • - “The two styles are opposite ends of a cultural spectrum that gives a defining character and an openness of interpretation.” ~Vigil
  • His artwork has appeared:
    • - On the cover of “Marketing Review”
    • - On the cover of Denver’s “Westword”
    • - At the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago
    • - Inside “Lowrider Arte Magazine,” “Denver Magazine,” and “5280 Magazine”
(“Artist Profile: Jerry Vigil.” Denver Artists. 2011. Web. 19 Oct 2011. <http://denverartists.com/Members/DisplayArtistSingle.asp?ArtistID=488>.)

Chicano artist Jerry Vigil (Photos courtesy“Denver Artists”)
Chicano artist Jerry Vigil (Photos courtesy“Denver Artists”)
“El Pachuco” wood sculpture by Jerry Vigil. This image represents the controversial character El Pachuco in the film “Zoot Suit.”
“El Pachuco” wood sculpture by Jerry Vigil. This image represents the controversial character El Pachuco in the film “Zoot Suit.”
“Palatero Man” (2006) wood sculpture by Jerry Vigil (Photos courtesy “Denver Artists”)
“Palatero Man” (2006) wood sculpture by Jerry Vigil (Photos courtesy “Denver Artists”)
“Our Lady of Revolution” mixed media on board by Vigil
“Our Lady of Revolution” mixed media on board by Vigil

  • His Santos art, (Retablos, Reredos, Bultos) utilizes wood and clay.
    • - “Power carving, hand carving and sculpting in clay give unique elements to a historic style of art while paying respect to the art form.” (Vigil)
  • Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday which takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 2
    • Celebrated mostly in Mexico and Central American - and some areas of U.S.
    • Participants celebrate the memories of their dead loved ones
    • Altars (offerings for the dead) are created in honor of the dead loved ones and include papelpicado (tissue paper banners), candles, incense, bread and sometimes photos of the departed and flowers.
  • Calaveras, which are humorous representations of skeletons, are the most popular figures seen during the event
    • - Originated in the early 1800s
  • The skeleton form represents the god of death
  • Vigil uses his Dia de los Muertos art (in the form of mixed media, digital art, tattoos, sculpture and more) to make a statement and to put a modern spin on a classic medium