Jesús Canseco Zárate is a visual artist living and working in Oaxaca, Mexico. Born in 1989, he has dedicated himself to the art of Papier-mâché calacas, or traditional skeleton figures, for the past eight years. His calacas, however, are characterized by a modern twist: they parade around in everyday clothing, wear distinctive hairstyles and are obsessively detailed from head (freckles) to toe (nail polish). Imbued with life, these skeletons walk the threshold between the living and the dead; a cheeky reminder of what awaits us all.
His work has been showcased in local, national and international galleries and venues, including the Yucatán and New York City. In 2008, he was awarded first prize by FOFA (Friends of International Folk Art) in their Young Artist’s Competition for his Papier-mâché version of the Mexican catrina. In 2013, Cinco Puntos Press published “My Skeleton Family” a bilingual children’s book featuring a family of 50’s-inspired calacas illustrated by Jesús and written by Cynthia Weill. Known for his painstaking realism, he specializes in commissions that bring real-life people to… well, death! Indeed, death is represented by Jesús as just another welcomed rite of passage in life. Each calaca is wholly original, signed and given a serial number, deserving of a special place in private collections.
Currently, Jesús works as a artistic photographer in the Oaxaca and Mexico City area. Employing the pseudonym Chucho Caza, his varied work can be seen online at http://chuchocaza.wordpress.com/.