Description n 1521, Cortes landed in Mexico, discovered the Aztec and conquered them. He initially only started with 500 soldiers, who likely could have been beaten if the Aztecs had been able to form enough alliances with other tribes. The Aztec mistakenly thought Cortes was Quetzalcoatl, the feather-serpent god mythical return of the same year.Unfortunately, the Aztecs ruled via fear, constantly capturing neighboring tribes and sacrificing the victims to the corn god. At many Aztec and even Mayan pyramids, 100s of sacrifices were made in the centuries they rules.Upon seeing the sacrifices and eventually conquering the city, Cortes and his men razed the grand pyramid in Mexico City and built a Catholic church on the remains. Many of the holy sites of former Mayan or Aztec sites were desecrated by building a Catholic church on the structures or near by, which is common theme in Christian and even Muslim conquests. Much of Aztec/Mexica cultura was lost when the Spanish melted their gold and silver artwork into Spanish dollar coins.The painting incorporates various elements including real Aztec glyphs on paper, the Mayan calendar dated April 1521 and the rack of skulls common in Aztec and Mayan architecture. There are many layers in the painting, which is also characteristic of Aztec/Mayan pyramid building with each generation building on top of the existing pyramid a new pyramid.These pyramids are all over Mexico in the 100s built by the Aztecs and even more by the Mayan. The base at the holy Teotihuacan is equal in size to the Grand Pyramid in Egypt. It is only less tall because of the different building style of the Aztec/Maya. This pyramid was built pre-Aztec and possibly pre-Mayan. The Aztec still regarded it as a holy place at the time of the conquest.
Shawn Shawn, San Francisco Member Since February 2008 Artist Statement CHILDHOOD: My earliest experiences were creating huge multi-room drawing shoot strategy games in 5th grade on graph paper and getting the game so popular it was banned in school. By Jr. High, I was stenciling all the 70s-80s bands, Led Zepellin, ACDC, Black Sabbath and popular arcade games lettering on my notebooks although I had not a dime to buy one album. Later we dove into Dungeons and Dragons, creating monster cave scenarios that lasted 2 hours minimum in high school until some kid committed suicide and my partner was forced to sell all his D&D books. In college I painted and drew and ended with a BA in History and Spanish with minors in Art History and Fine Art.
TRAVEL: Then I went to Poland, seeing the Berlin Wall fall behind the Iron Curtain. Studying abroad in Poland I was exposed to on the anti-communist, anti-fascist painting and theatre posters. Off to Spain to study Spanish in 1993-94, where I studied Spanish masters 1 year in the Prado Museum along with Spanish Islamic architecture also studied by M.C. Escher. One of my favorite pieces in the Prado is the Garden of Heavenly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch in demonic Flemish fashion capturing the madness of religious wars at the time. A close second is the Guernica by Picasso in the Modern Art Museum also in Madrid covering the first fascist bombing of a city with no military targets.
MY WORK: In my work I try to work with a craftsmanship discipline and remain fresh with various techniques. Recently, I developed my angularity style and am branching out into acrylic, which has its advantages and shortfalls to oil.