Two Latinos celebrate Día de los Muertos with NFT art

The Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos is usually celebrated with colorful ofrendas or altars that families create to honor their deceased loved ones. But two Latinos decided to mark – and market – the celebration in a new way.

With the boom in cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens or NFTs – unique digital assets that look like trading cards – avid crypto investor David Galan, 40, saw a unique opportunity a few months ago to fill the NFT space with meaningful art inspired by Day of the Dead.

A Day of the Dead NFT artwork inspired by La Catrina, an Aztec urban legend.Armando Parrilla

“We really wanted to do something that was different,” Galan said. “The reason we choose the Day of the Dead is because it means something to all of us.”

When Galan was 21, his father, Fernando Galan, died at the age of 50.

“What it means to be a Mexican American was always very important to my father,” Galan said. “He’s always been there for me, no matter, ever since.”

Galan co-founded the Day of the Dead NFT project, a collection of 7,777 NFTs. The digital assets of the project include art strongly inspired by La Catrina, an Aztec urban legend – the skull image is popular in everything from food to clothing – which is prominent during the Día de los Muertos festivities.

He collaborated with Armando Parrilla, 42, a graphic designer whose art is influenced by street culture from his upbringing in Southern California.

NFTs give users verifiable ownership of items such as videos, images, music and more. They are powered by blockchain technology, a database that records data in blocks and links them together, making it difficult to change.

The ability to inject part of his Mexican heritage into this newer space attracted Parrilla to work with Galan and the rest of the team.

“Seeing people with our culture in this NFT space … it’s like, it’s a chance. Does it break a barrier? Will it open doors for other artists from our culture?” said Parrilla.

Parrilla said their Día de los Muertos digital art has attracted a strong, growing following within their Discord community ahead of the NFTs’ unveiling on Monday and Tuesday.

A Day of the Dead NFT artwork inspired by La Catrina, an Aztec urban legend.Armando Parrilla

Those who celebrate Día de los Muertos believe that at midnight on October 31st, the souls of all deceased children come down from heaven and are reunited with their families on November 1st, and the souls of deceased adults visit on November 2nd.

The Día de los Muertos NFTs are just the first phase in what Galan, Parrilla and the rest of their team plan to create: an augmented reality world where users can visit virtual cemeteries that they can customize to honor their Dear.

“This whole process has been really, really exciting,” Galan said. “It is the influence and the fact that we are able to bring this culture, this beautiful thing that is part of our heritage, to the whole world.”

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