DOWNEY – Martin Sanchez, a well known Southern California “found art” sculptor, will be a star attraction at the third annual Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival, scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Downy Civic Theater and adjacent civic center.
Last year's festival featured "Seeing the World," Sanchez's 22-ft. high "skeleton riding a bike" sculpture.
This year‘s festival will exhibit three large pieces, including a return of the “bike” plus a “Husband & Wife” couple. Approximately 20-ft. high, the skeleton couples are donned in fancy hats wearing clothes made from layered tin can lids.
Sanchez’s works exude a childlike wonder and delight, which he says is a response to his harsh childhood in Mexico. His mission is to bring joy into the world.
Martinez's studio is a lush compound in downtown Riverside, that includes his family residence and a patio restaurant, all awash in Sanchez’s over-sized, stylized, whimsical, mythic, urban creations that cover the walls, floors, roofs, and doors, in addition to permanent structures that include a chapel made of bottle caps.
His work, all made from the discards and detritus of modern day urban Southern California, integrates Mexican and American pop culture, Mexican myths and symbolism, and his own positive, artistic world view and desire to create works of art that incite joy in the viewer.
His work has been displayed at the Riverside Art Museum, the Pomona Art Museum, and at the longstanding Riverside Dia de Los Muertos Festival.
The Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival is a joint venture between the Downey Theatre and the city of Downey, created to showcase Latin American arts that are integral to Dia de Los Muertos, a centuries old Mexican and a Latin American tradition that honors the deceased through rituals and symbols, including the building of altars, that range from simple to elaborate.
The free all-day festival attracts almost 15,000 people. Sponsors include CareMore, Downey Federal Credit Union, del Angel Funeraria, El Super grocery chain, Ford, and the Stonewood Center.