Mario E. Castillo (Chicago, USA): Death has Been Calling Us Ever Since Humans had Tails, 2008

The subject of this print was inspired by ancient stories from around the globe that recount about a time in our primordial past when humans had tails. These myths have been almost forgotten. There are few traces of ancient artworks that capture this bizarre image. One that keeps on being recycled from primeval times is no other than our Western iconic figure of the devil, a humanoid figure with a tail. The graphic style of this work is appropriated from the Maya and it deals with one of their unique aesthetic forms, the concept of “horrible beauty” which in itself seems to encompass life and death. Death has been programmed into our being as the only way to free the spirit from the material world and send it beyond the beyond. It beckons us with a hand gesture to go to her, for to die is to be born again. The central image of this print symbolizes the birth of death.

$ 250.00

1 in stock

Mario E. Castillo (b. Mexico). Castillo started drawing murals in Mexico at the age of 5 in the school where his mother, Maria Enriquez de Allen, taught. He started painting murals in 1964 at Lane Tech. In 1968 he did the first Latino mural in Chicago, the first anti-Viet Nam War mural, and the first to pay homage to Native American art. In 1969 he did the first multicultural mural, The Wall of Brotherhood, an abstract mural full of symbolism. His use of students as artists became a prototype for many future murals. In the late 60’s he started to use the “floating” face (as a mask) as the only subject for the whole pictorial field. In the early 70’s he began using Aztec & Maya imagery. Then in the 80’s he introduced into his paintings the theme of the Nagual (Nahual), the Portal of Intent, & African masks, and Huichol Art in the 90’s. In his CARA print he mixed structure (geometry) with organic forms, and world art. He is always looking for new subject matter to work with and with this print in this portfolio Castillo makes use of an ancient mythological icon that takes us back to the time when humans had tails. Here, he continues to work with the “horrible beauty” he introduced into his work since the 1960’s when he painted bones with bright colors as part of his “Death is Alive” box constructions series.
Website – &



Día de los Muertos: Common Ground




Mario E. Castillo