Elvis, as reflected in Mexican Folk Art, on velvet.....and beyond

The genre known as Mexican Folk Art is a little known form of artistry which is rich in Elvis symbolism and direct reflection. The genre is eclectic and not easy to define as it takes on a myriad of forms which are very popular in Mexico. These include:

  • paintings
  • pottery
  • mask art
  • "day of the dead"
  • Papier-mâché
  • Christmas
  • wood carvings
  • tin work, and more.

The indigenous genre is characterised by a heady mix of the prosaic, basic and simple, mixed with ornate and colorful symbolism. The artworks utilise iconic symbols important to the Mexican culture. While there is a visual simplicity to them, on closer inspection they are actually quite complex and resonate on a much deeper level.

As folk art, it is an art of the common people......one which expresses their loves, fears, desires and dreams. The images often reflect things from their daily lives, their religions, their enduring myths and their imaginations.

And for some reason the number of Mexican Folk Art pieces with an Elvis theme continues to grow each year. Prices for Mexican Folk Art Elvis pieces range from US$5.00 to more than $300.00!

What follows are a number of these unusual, intriguing and often visually resplendid works.

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead):

Many Mexican Elvis artworks are categorised as Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This is an artform which pays homage and celebrates the life of those who have died.  is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage (and others) living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died.

A "day of the dead" depiction

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)


Above: Elvis Day of the Dead (box)

Above: Elvis Day of the Dead (Shadow box)

Non Mexican Elvis Folk Artworks:

Of course Elvis as folk art is not limited to Mexico. A Chicago Art Museum holds this piece:

Elvis is Love Mosaic Mirror, 2003

And then there is US artist, Willard J., who has produced a significant body of Elvis Folk Art, including these 3 pieces:

Another artist, Chris Clarke, expresses his Elvis as:

Meanwhile, artist Grace Kelly captures her King:

Elvis on Velvet:

One particular genre of Elvis artworks is Elvis on Velvet. Many of the velvet artworks originated in Mexico before becoming a shortlived phenomenon in the USA and throughout Europe. The genre inspired the great tribute song, Elvis on Velvet, by rockabilly legends, the Stray Cats.

Here are several Elvis on Velvet images:

"Blue Elvis" by entertainer Rolf Harris

Visit EIN's "Elvis Art Archives" for more articles and visuals of Elvis in Art

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