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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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  • Stamped patch for IDLE NO MORE MKE January 2013

Celeste Contreras

artist bio

Milwaukee Artist.
Founder of Dia de los Muertos Parade Project.
Full time student at Alverno College. B.A. Art Education

Milwaukee High School of the Arts 2001 Alumni. Internship Milwaukee Art Museum 2000-2001 in the Education Department. Studied culture and arts and lived abroad in Thailand 2001-2001. Lived in Mexico 2003-2004.
Co-Chair for Visual Arts Committee for Experience Art River Walk 2005.
Assistant Art Teacher for Milwaukee Art Museum Art Aloud! 2007. Worked with the Latino Arts Inc. since 2007 creating ofrendas/altars. Created Pachamama, Day of the Dead art business 2009. Co-Founder of The Milwaukee Mijas.
Founder of the Día De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead Parade Project Milwaukee 2010 and 2011 and 2012. Guest speaker at RedLine Milwaukee, 2012. Riverwest Art Association Raise Your Voice! show, 2013.
I organize workshops for the community to teach about the traditions of El Dia de los Muertos. Cardinal Stritch University 2014. US Grant School, 2014. RedLine Milwaukee, printing workshop, 2014. Milwaukee Art Museum Family Sundays, Dia de los Muertos celebration, 2006-2014, guest artist.

artist statement

My work of art reflects myself through self-portraits and shrines. My reflections come from past experiences that were life altering and sometimes difficult. A big theme is death, rebirth, and family. Some of my biggest influences have been living abroad in other countries, my family history, and folk art from different cultures. While I was living in Thailand I experienced a death of my ‘Host’ Sister from the family I was living with. Her eight-day funeral taught me a lot about death, culture, and tradition. After this experience I moved to México to find my roots. Running on mountains, touching the land of my ancestors and experiencing El Día de los Muertos, has formed and shaped the artist I am and hope to become. My work is a reflection of myself through three-dimensional shrines and self-portraits drawings and paintings. In my shrines I use found objects, hand made wood pieces, and mixed media. In my self-portraits I tend to use ink, paint, charcoal, paper, board, and canvas. Using a mixture of materials and mixed media truly reflects the way my hands and heart let me create art in this world.

Founder of Día De Los Muertos Parade Project Milwaukee
2010 to present · Milwaukee, Wisconsin