For as long as I could remember, my life has revolved around art. More specifically, the medium of animation, which has interested me ever since I saw behind the scenes of the making of Shrek. This world of animation, design, and storytelling filled me with the aspirations of one day creating works that capture the attention of the next generation and inspire them to do the same. With this animation I am creating a visual representation of my grandmother’s encounter with the mythical “El Catrin.”
This legend from Mexico, is relatively unknown in comparison to tales such as “La Llorona” and “El Chupacabra.” This specific legend loosely revolves around a gentleman who loved to gamble and party late into the night. One day, his luck ran out and he had to give up all his money and land. On his way to tell his father the bad news, he was approached by the devil. The devil offered him his land and riches back and in return he would one day come to take his soul. One night El Catrin once again lost a bet. This time however, he was shot and killed for trying to run away. Unable to pay his dept to the devil, he now wanders the night presenting himself to those who are up. As the legend goes, El Catrin appears silently and when his victims look at him, they experience a great fear and anxiety. His appearance is often said to be a dark void and he often disappears quickly and without a trace.
According to my grandmother’s story one night on her way into town to process corn and wheat into flour and cornmeal, she encountered El Catrin by a stream. There, frozen in fear by his presence, she tells of experiencing a great deal of dread and anxiety. The sudden sense of fear and dread are common in the stories of those who claim to have encountered El Catrin.
Storytelling is deeply tied to Mexican culture. However, Mexico is not known for its animation. Because of that, I feel that I have the opportunity to create something that is currently underrepresented. I also feel that this is an opportunity to connect my art to my culture.
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©2020 Juan Botello, All Rights Reserved
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19 July 2022
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