If the name Guillermo del Toro doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you might recognize the acclaimed filmmaker, author, actor and special effects makeup artist from films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, or The Shape of Water, for which he won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. Born in Guadalajara, our state capital, he developed an affinity for fairy tales and horror at an early age, as evidenced in many of his films, particularly comic book adaptations such as Blade II and Hellboy.
An avid collector, he owns two houses devoted exclusively to his collection of books, poster artwork and other belongings pertaining to his work. In a 2011 interview for Time, he explained, “As a kid, I dreamed of having a house with secret passages and a room where it rained 24 hours a day. The point of being over 40 is to fulfill the desires you’ve been harboring since you were 7.”
In 2016, Del Toro created an itinerant exhibition titled Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters, featuring his collection of paintings, drawings, maquettes, artifacts, and concept film art—an eponymous coffee table book is available through Amazon. The exhibition traveled to several cities in the US and Canada to inspire moviegoers and young students to pursue careers in creative fields. Much to our delight, the exhibition (called in Spanish, En Casa Con Mis Monstruos), is now installed at Guadalajara University’s Art Museum in our state capital through the summer. The exhibition opened last month and this is the only venue in all of Mexico where his private collection of artwork, sketches, sculptures and much more, will be presented before returning to his Bleak House in Los Angeles.
What can you expect? To set the mood, you enter the exhibition in almost complete darkness, roving eyes on the walls staring. There is a reception area where you can purchase souvenirs and wait for your turn to enjoy the exhibition which is displayed in eight halls: ‘Childhood and Innocence’ pays homage to his childhood and to Pan’s Labyrinth. ‘Rain Room’ is a faithful reproduction of his Bleak House where the constant sound of rain hitting the windows brings inspiration to the artist.
‘Victorian,’ the third hall, references Del Toro’s fascination with the gothic romanticism of the 19th century, while ‘Magic and the Occult’ is a tribute to the supernatural. On a lighter tone, ‘Movies, Comics and Pop’ features a unique collection of wrestling masks that once belonged to Mexico’s most legendary luchador: El Santo (or, ‘The Saint’).
The final three halls, ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘The Others/Ourselves/The Monsters,’ and ‘Death and Beyond,’ seem to have a common thread: Del Toro’s fascination with outcasts, particularly those regarded for their humane qualities.
Aside from gifting us with a glimpse into his private world of fantasy and creativity, Del Toro is hoping to inspire younger generations. In a press conference, he assured that if only a handful of young students were moved by the exhibition and decided to dedicate their professional lives to creativity, he would be satisfied. His commitment is evidenced by a recent incident in which he sponsored expenses for a team of young math students headed for Lima, Peru to compete in the Central America Mathematics Olympiad when the Mexican government failed to sponsor them—the students came back with the gold.
Del Toro’s exhibition makes a short trip to Guadalajara more than worthwhile. Learn more about En Casa Con Mis Monstruos by visiting the website, www.encasaconmismonstruos.com, in Spanish. Tickets are $180 pesos per person and can be purchased in advance at Ticketmaster booths throughout the country (there is one in Puerto Vallarta at Liverpool).