Pinata: Party Favor or Art? Its makers preserve the craft. | Wender Mind Kids

 Pinata: Party Favor or Art?  Its makers preserve the craft.

Lower the racquet, remove the blindfold, and admire the artistry of the piñata—a form dating back hundreds of years. Pinata makers are pushing the boundaries of party favors, creating sculptures out of wood, foam, wire, and clay that are displayed in art galleries.

Third-generation maker Yesenia Prieto grew up making piñatas whose modest selling price belies the hours of manual work. While she and her team still make fragile piñatas for parties, her individual, complex pieces reflect the artistic potential of the craft. They have had two installations at a local gallery in Los Angeles and have an upcoming show in San Diego.

Why we wrote this

What we are willing to spend on something becomes a message of value that is closely linked to the creator of the object. By expanding their art, piñata makers are asking viewers to reconsider these traditional art objects—and the people who make them.

“We’re trying to show you what they would look like if they were valued more,” says Ms. Prieto. “If [people] understand how it’s made, they know it’s not machines that just crank these things up like that.” She and other makers hope to create both art and more of a craft long thought of as cheap and disposable bestow respect and dignity.

“There’s a shift happening,” she adds. She often sees pinatas in galleries. But there is [still] a necessity for us to fight hard to survive.”

Dallas

Would you bring a sledgehammer to David? A flamethrower for the Mona Lisa? A shredder for the latest Banksy? (Actually scratch the last one.)

Then why, some people ask, would you want to pulverize a piñata?

Alfonso Hernandez, for example, wants you to lower the bat and remove the blindfold and appreciate the artistry of a form that dates back hundreds of years.

Why we wrote this

What we are willing to spend on something becomes a message of value that is closely linked to the creator of the object. By expanding their art, piñata makers are asking viewers to reconsider these traditional art objects—and the people who make them.

The Dallas-based artist has created life-size piñata sculptures of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández and Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. He wants the public to help turn an industry into art.

“Piñata makers have never treated it as an art form,” he says. “You are taught to do it quickly. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, just hurry up because they’re going to break it.”