The artist uses his art to teach Dia de los Muertos


POMONA, Calif .– Artist Judith Bautista, also known as Kahlovera, turns her sugar skull model to honor deceased loved ones with every brushstroke.

Often during the transformation she said that people start to open up and talk about loved ones they have lost.

What would you like to know

  • Judith Bautista started face painting as a teenager but has been an artist her entire life
  • She is known as Kahlovera
  • She uses her art to teach clients Dia de Los Muertos
  • She heard about Dia de Los Muertos from her mother

“It’s an intimate experience, they share something that is meaningful to them and I feel that what I do is meaningful to me so I share what I do with them,” said Bautista.

She started makeup as a teenager, but has been an artist her entire life. Bautista started drawing while growing up in Boyle Heights.

His name is a mixture of the Kahlo surname of his favorite artists Frida Kahlo and Calavera, which means skull in Spanish.

His mother was also an artist, so you could say that Bautista’s talent was inherited.

Bautista said his mother “loved art; she could do anything in art, so she still inspires me daily ”.

Her mother passed away four years ago. It was thanks to her mother that she heard about Dia de Los Muertos. The two-day vacation in November is mostly seen in Mexico, when families remember their dead and celebrate their lives.

For Bautista, the months before Dia de los Muertos are her busiest as she turns people into sugar skulls at local festivals. While painting faces, she also teaches and shares her knowledge about the Day of the Dead.

When not turning people into sugar skulls, she also works as a makeup artist for birthday parties, which she says she really enjoys. She also designs jewelry.

Jaymi Manzo, who has posed several times for Bautista, said she grew up seeing people painted as sugar skulls for Halloween over the years.

“At one point I remember not seeing anything wrong. I was pretty naive and when I started talking to Judith more about it you shouldn’t even be wearing sugar skull makeup and l ‘Incorporate into Halloween makeup,’ Manzo said.

Bautista said that while it’s something she tries not to do, it really starts off as a conversation between herself and the person sitting in her chair.

“It is an opportunity for everyone to grow but yes it is definitely not a lesson and it is not compulsory and there is no cost,” said Bautista.

By sharing her knowledge, she helped raise awareness so that more people would learn that Dia de los Muertos is not a dark occasion but a celebration of loved ones.

To learn more about his art, visit


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