The death of our favorite artists is always so heartbreaking. We were devastated when Juan Gabriel passed away, and so sad when David Bowie died. It is through their music that they continue to live on in our lives. A Mexican artist feels the same way as us, which is why he is bringing these heroes back to life one sculpture at a time.
Ruben Orozco Loza is a surrealist artist from Jalisco. He sculpts the most insane, yet realistic, art of iconic people.
That’s artist Ruben standing next to his creation of Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco. Here are more creations below from the University of Guadalajara graduate.
His David Bowie is so real it might haunt your dreams for the rest fo your life.
Part of the excitement is watching Ruben create these realistic depictions. It is not an easy or short process. He really takes the time to make the sculptures so realistic that it borders on creepy.
Obviously, he had to give us another moment to fawn over Frida Kahlo.
One of the most stunning moments of Ruben’s work is in the eyes of his subjects. That is what looks the most realistic, but when he inserts them into the face and fudges with them is the part that is so weird. It’s almost like he is doing surgery.
Juan Gabriel was given a second life with the artist’s take on the late singer.
In this video, you can see Ruben is working while looking at a picture of JuanGa. He is constantly looking at the real Juan Gabriel and back at his subject to make sure it looks identical.
Even Pope Francis is a subject that the sculptor couldn’t resist.
We love seeing Ruben brush the hair of the Pope. It’s so cool and realistic. Ruben really gives you a good look at what it takes to create truly stunning works of art.
Guillermo Del Toro would be so pleased with this amazing sculpture.
For his artwork of Del Toro, Ruben also becomes a hairdresser. Did you see how long his hair was in the start of the video? He has to get each piece perfect, even the beard. Stunning!
The Spanish Inquisition and imperialism may have catalyzed a Roman-Catholic dominant Latino community, but it’s wrong to assume we’re all Catholic (or recovering Catholics). Just as Latinos can be every shade of skin color, we can also be practitioners of every major religion. While the number of Latino Jews living in the United States is minuscule, there are thriving Jewish communities living throughout Latin America, with as many as 300,000 Latino Jews living in Argentina alone. It’s important to underscore that the majority of Latino Jews’ ancestors immigrated to Latin America to escape religious persecution and rising anti-Semitism in Europe during the Holocaust. Of course, if you go back far enough, you’ll find that the first Spanish-speaking Jews to immigrate to Latin America did so during the Spanish Inquisition when they were either forced to convert to Catholicism or be expatriated. Many traveled to Italy where they were able to arrive by boat to “The New World.”
Immigration, courage, and identity in the diaspora is a part of Latino Jewish stories, which is why we feel it’s so important to honor those stories. Next time someone makes an assumption about Latino identity, rattle off this list of proud Latino Jews who made their mark on the world.
1. Frida Kahlo
That’s right! Frida Kahlo is beloved in both Latino communities and Jewish communities because Kahlo advocated for her full identity, even when it was dangerous to do so. Kahlo may have been just 47 years old when she died, but she spent the last couple of decades of her life shouting from rooftops her pride in her Jewish ancestry. She did so during an unspeakable time when 6 million European Jews were mass murdered. Kahlo has claimed that her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was a Hungarian Jew who immigrated to Mexico in 1891 but letters from her father himself claim that he comes from a long line of Lutherans. Historians are torn over the truth of the statement given that the stain of Nazi Germany caused so many fear-based lies about family origins.
2. Joaquin Phoenix
While we typically associate Joaquin Phoenix’s religion with the religious cult he was raised in, his mother is actually Jewish. Phoenix was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a mother of Russian and Hungarian Jewish descent. When his mother, Arlyn, moved to California and met Phoenix’s father (while hitchhiking), the two would later marry and join religious cult Children of God. Phoenix spent the early years of his childhood traveling around South America with their cult until they left Venezuela for the U.S. mainland when Phoenix was 4 years old. “My parents believed in God. I’m Jewish, my mom’s Jewish, but she believes in Jesus, she felt a connection to that. But they were never religious. I don’t remember going to church, maybe a couple of times,” Phoenix said during an interview with Buzz.ieon his role as Jesus in “Mary Magdalene” (2018).
3. Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky is best known as the young intern that President Bill Clinton sexually pursued while he was in office, she’s gone on to use her experience as a nationwide cyberbullying survivor to advocate against cyberbullying. Once you look more closely into her ancestral history, it’s easy to see how surviving persecution is ingrained in Lewinsky. Her father, Bernard Lewinsky, was born in El Salvador after his parents escaped Nazi-Germany. When he was 14 years old, the Lewinsky family moved to the United States.
4. Bruno Mars
While Bruno Mars has referred to his identity as a “gray zone” of ethnicity, the Hawaiin born singer is Latino, Jewish, Filipino and Hawaiian. His father is Puerto Rican and Ashkenazi Jewish and his mother is Filipino.
5. Sammy Davis Jr.
The infamous singer, comedian and television personality Sammy Davis Jr. found the Jewish faith later in life. He was born in 1925 in Harlem to Elvera Sanchez, a Cuban-American tap dancer and stage performer. Davis had a near-death experience during a terrible car crash in San Bernadino, California. His friend and fellow comedian Eddie Cantor had given Davis a mezuzah the year prior. Davis wore it around his neck every day for good luck and says the only day he forgot to wear it was the night of the accident. In the hospital, Cantor and Davis had a lively discussion about the similarities between Jewish and Black cultures. Years later, he converted to Judaism and practiced its faith until his death.
Christmastime is the one time a year that we can truly let our crafty side show. You can decorate your house however you please and no one can say a negative thing about it because it’s the holidays. The only issue is picking out a theme or opting to go with whatever you see at Target. Either way is fine, but why not show off the love you have for your Latin culture?
This year instead of just doing the basic green and red ornament styles that everyone seems to go for, choose some of these lovely Latin-themed ornaments that will definitely get the attention of your family and friends. We’ve searched the interwebs for the best Latin styled ornaments that you can either purchase or make yourself. Enjoy!
A little Frida fun for the holidays.
You cannot go wrong with these festive Frida Kahlo dolls for $13 on Etsy. They’re so cute, and perfect to have as decoration all year round.
A disco Latin-themed Christmas tree.
For those that have more eclectic taste and want to set a sophisticated tone, while also paying homage to your Latin heritage, we highly suggest these shiny retro ornaments from DirectfromMexico for $75.
A cactus kind of Christmas.
If you have some time to spare, or would like to make a crafty side project with your friends and kids, these DIY cactuses are the cutest things to add to your tree. Need some help? Go to Mypoppet for instructions.
Nothing says Christmas more than a star. It represents so much and they’re so beautiful as well. These estrellas that can also double as piñatas are perfect for your tree. Get them at Crafttel.
Tamales to eat and to decorate.
While you and your family IS gathered around the table making tamales, be sure to save some of those smallish corn husks. As you can see from the picture above, they can make great ornaments as well, and you don’t need much material either.
Colorful yarn to spread around.
For a more intricate kind of DIY fun, these MexicanBeautyShop ornaments are simply delightful. And we should add again that they’re perfect wall decor even when it’s not the holidays.
Merry Christmas maracas.
The MexicanBeautyShop also sells these maracas that look great on Christmas trees. But if you want to access this look easier, just head out to any party store and purchase maracas and then tie them to a string to hang on your tree. Pretty easy.
The Loteria cards can go a long way.
We love Loteria more than anything else, so why not celebrate that during Christmas time? For this idea, just buy a Loteria game that you won’t mind cutting up. Laminate each card that you wish to have on your tree, and that’s it!
Dolls for days!
These Latin dolls, sold at Buganvillaimports, are perfectly festive for Christmas. You can also give them away as Christmas favors. People will love them.
A piñata for everyone!
You can get these mini piñatas at any bodega, party store, or Latin store. Buganvillaimports sells them too. If you put candy in them, you can hand these out to family and friends as well.
Ornaments with a twist of fun.
If you have Loteria cards to spare, gluing them to old ornaments works just as well. All you need is glue and glitter and you’re set.
Day of the Dead, Christmas-Style
Who says Day of the Dead can’t be celebrated at Christmas. Bring out your Dia de los Muertos decor and place it on your tree. So inventive and resourceful.
A real fiesta Christmas.
While these paper ornaments are a bit more detailed and complicated to make at home, you can purchase them on Etsy.
Mexi-Galore glam for the holidays.
We can certainly bet you have a lot of Latin trinkets at home. If you have super tiny stuff, you can plop them in your tree, just stuff them in there, and your tree will be instantly Latin-themed.
Tender and sweet, Latin Christmas tree.
These amazing colorful ornaments made of plush and yarn would make any humdrum tree a beautiful one.
Ranchera holiday-themed tree.
For Tex-Mex folks or lovers of Texas-style, we highly recommend these plush ornaments on Etsy.