Featured Artist: Fiona Wilson: Ground Floor Gallery

4 - 26 November 2022

The Death of Us

"In this world, nothing can be certain, except death and taxes." Benjamin Franklin


"The word 'calavera' simply means skull in Spanish, but in Mexico and around the world it has come to mean so much more. In pre-Columbian times, images of skulls were used in artworks to signify rebirth into the next stage of life. The 'calavera', as we know it today, became globally popular in the 20th century after the political caricaturist, Jose Guadalupe created his character La Calavera Catrina. She wears a large flowered hat and french style dress typical of the time, and was created to satirise the Mexican natives who aspired to adopt European aristocratic traditions and wore heavy makeup to make their faces paler. During the Mexican revolution beginning in 1910, Posada created a raft of illustrations for political papers and used the skeleton characters to portray the struggles of the poor and to poke fun at the vain and wealthy who oppressed them.


Fast forward to modern days and the tradition of the calavera is now infused in latin culture, with parades of people dressing up with white painted faces, especially during the festival of the Day of the Dead in October and November. The skull characters have partly lost their impact and are now seen as fun objects around the time of Halloween but, for me, the skull is a symbol of our most basic human form. It is universal and so versatile for telling tales of caution and of joy.


I have taken the idea of La Calavera Catrina and applied it to depict modern desires, in a macabre but sometimes humorous way. Some heads are a commentary on our lives today and others are a fond looking back at the icons of my childhood.




Each monotype is produced by rolling or painting ink onto a perspex plate which is then passed through a high pressure press. Many of the prints are worked on over multiple passes letting each layer dry before applying more. There is a great deal of trial and error in the process and there are a lot more prints that are pronounced 'dead' than make the cut!  Each one has unique qualities that take advantage of these unexpected results that could not be achieved by direct drawing or painting alone."


Fiona Wilson is a Scottish abstract painter and experimental printmaker. She works as an artist, portrait painter, printmaker and printmaking tutor based in Glasgow. Her work is based largely upon her experiences during worldwide travels and of simple observations of human life and interaction nearer to home in Scotland.


After graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1991, she enjoyed a thirteen year career teaching Art, Design and Computer Animation in universities and colleges in the UK. In 2004 she left the comfort of a full time job to pursue her dream and passion of being a dedicated painter and printmaker.


Fiona has pieces in private collections across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and has works in the prestigious public UK Art Fund. She has exhibited at the RSA open, RGI, PAI and was pre-selected for the prestigious BP Portrait prize in 2016.