Interview with Rhode Montijo
We are extremely honored to share our short interview with the wonderful artist Rhode Montijo (www.rhodemontijo.com) – the creator of the beautiful Halloween flag that sells out super quick, among a ton of other great artwork – and we are pleased to know the love of Halloween is definitely shared and genuine.
If you could ask Rhode one question, what would it be?
Here are ours:
1. Where and when did your love of Halloween begin?
I have always been drawn to Halloween. I love the colors, the scents, the community it creates, the creativity, and the mystery behind Halloween! My earliest memory is trick-or-treating with my younger brother in Stockton, California. I think I was Dracula that year. I have a vague memory that my dad crafted a spooky ghost by draping a sheet over a balloon and hanging the ghost our walnut tree in the front yard. We walked past the ghost on our night out and giggled to ourselves as trick-or-treaters walked to our front door. We trick-or-treated around the block and then came upon a garage door that was open with a long curtain with loud cackling coming from behind. We were momentarily paralyzed wondering what could be behind the curtain. Our imagination ran wild. Soon after, the curtain was drawn and there stood a flimsy Jack-O’-Lantern man in the center of the garage with overly animated flailing arms and a strobe light flickering. We were spooked! But then we saw two long haired teens at each end pulling on strings making the arms move! We got our candy and walked away filled with wonder. To me, Halloween is wondering what is behind that curtain.
2. How was Halloween celebrated in your house as a child, and do you carry any traditions with you now?
Ever since the 5th grade I started putting together a haunted yard. The first “haunt” was just a dolly stacked with boxes and a plastic mask placed at the top. There was also a doll that my grandmother bought from a thrift store for me to use- that I dressed like a witch, and a small Shogun Godzilla toy that I turned into a ghost. It was very simple and innocent, but it sparked a 30 year tradition. Fast forward many years, the haunted yard has become more elaborate. My entire family is involved and has almost become one of the most important holidays for them as well. The haunted yard has grown so much that there’s even traffic control on our street. It’s crazy! It has become a fun tradition and we joke that we get together more for Halloween than for Christmas- we feel almost like the Addams family!
3. As an artist, what do you think is the quintessential Halloween symbol?
For me, I think it’s a pumpkin! It’s that burst of orange color just waiting to get a face and breathe life!
4. What was your favorite costume as a child?
I think it was the Dracula costume when I was little- I was maybe around first or second grade and my parents painted a widows peak in my hair. I had plastic fangs, a cape and and fake blood. I felt like I WAS Dracula!
5. What is your favorite memory involving Halloween?
For me it was the cackling from behind the curtain, but another close one is the memory of witnessing a scarecrow parade at my elementary school. Students competed in making their best scarecrow and then paraded them on the playground while wearing their costumes. The scarecrows seemed to dance in slow motion as they floated across the playground- it was a delightfully surreal!