I grew up conservative Catholic. As a matter of fact, my great uncle, was commended by the Vatican for his work in Jocoro, (Zoila's hometown) for his floats and shrines he would do for the local church. It is basically a diploma from the Pope. I now own it if you want me to show it to ya. Anyways, I grew up being surrounded by photos and statues of men and women with robes of different colors and meanings. On specific saint days, Zoila would make a baby shrine with coordinating flowers and candles. She always stands or kneels by it and does a rosario for blessings and thanks yous. Growing up as the neighbor of Hudson County, was a whole other experience of shrines. There are shrines everywhere, in the bodega, in front of houses, there may even be one in Robert's on 59th. There is also Botanicas. Botanicas run Hudson County, (its close runner up is definitely Noches de Colombia ) you'll know if you are near one, either you smell the incense from a block away, or you can't help it but look through and wtf at all these brand new saints you've never heard or seen.
The concept of worship generates very differently for me. I am not a Catholic, nor do I "belong" to any other religion. For Theodore Valentino, I wanted to shove all this imagery I got bombarded with constantly in the past 25 years and throw it up in a completely different way.
I sold my soul to Rock n' Roll at the tender age of 5, when I stayed up late to watch PBS paid programming and was exposed to the Rock n' Roll devil, Little Richard. After that, I could not be saved, in the last 20 years my hair grew curlier and my hips shook more and more. The shrine for the zine is an ode to the (some of) people who made that happen. I created the shrine with 15 dollars. I copped some paper products and candles from the 99 cent store, used Brett's Christmas lights, and bought flowers from the flower cart guy on Montgomery. Took a while to create it, as I went back to basic in shrine making. I placed the candles in used liquor bottles, added tinsel and una calavera for legitimacy. Above are test polaroids Brett and I took.
The shrine includes;
The final photo will be in the zine, of course.