Our top Maestros
And now let's talk about the real heros of this site, the Mexican Artisans, those who hand down from father to son the knowledge needed to create all this. Let's make this clear: the mexican artisanship is a seriuos matter, it can reach very high levels, such that may create sometimes hard difficulty in signing the border between the artisan and the Artist. Anyway we can easily identify the Real Maestros of Mexican Popular Art, Real Artists, those who give the direction, create a new style or renew and develop an existing one, the generals of the artisan's army that, spread all over the country, is responsible of popularizing the Maestro's style.
La Casa di Frida has some of these Maestro in our suppliers and we're prodly going to introduce them.
Adrian Luis Gonzalez
Born in 1939 in Metepèc, Estado de Mexico, Adrian is one of top maestros in the "tree of life" field, a mexican tradition where the artisan meets the nature, transforming the clay in rapresentations of life, death, spring, birth of Jesus, and more. He also realizes many different figures such as angels, musicians, suns, the famous calaveras (mexican death figures), family trees. His creations may be finished in the natural terracotta color or painted in natural earth colours. We love him very much, he was the first Maestro we got to know and he opened his house to us the way you do with your best friends (incredible mexicans!). His house/lab/oven seems like a fairy tale pop-up with terracotta creatures coming out from everywhere. There is an incredible family tree with all the relatives in their usual activities. He can realize any kind of customized commemorative tree. His son Miguel Angel lives and works with him.Look at all of his work
Alfonso Castillo Orta
(Izucar de Matamoros)
He is the major architect, with his wife Martha Hernandez and his sons Veronica, Marco, Patricia and Martha Angelica, of the highest level reached by the popular art from Izucar de Matamoros, in the Puebla State. While Aureliano Flores is the first artisan to create decorative objects based on Mtlazinca culture, Alfonso is the one who developes the extremely elaborate decorative style, typical of today producion. His style is accurately repeated by almost all the local artisans, many of them ex-apprentices in his laboratory. All the family is in the creation of wonderful trees of life, calaveras, Fridas, devils and more, all hand painted in this gorgeous style. Unfortunately Alfonso has left us a couple of years ago, and now is the turn of his sons to keep high the name of the Castillo family, sure that his style will be reigning for many years on Izucar de Matamoros.
José Benìtez Sanchez
He has been the most important huichol artist in the last 20 years. Born in 1938, son and grandson of shamans, his initiation as a shaman starts durind his childhood, and receives the huichol name Yucaye Kukame, 'The Silent Walker'. At 14 years anyway,he left his community for the ouside world on the mexican east cost. After many years he comes back to the community and restarts his way to become a shaman and in the 70s produces his firsts 'tablas de estambre' of a high level. In year 2000 he becomes mara'akame, shaman and decides to establish Zitak+a, a huichol community, outside Tepìc, the Nayarit State's capital, that in the following years will become a sacred site, with a 'callihuey' (a temple), schools to preserve the culture and the traditions of the huichol people, and a real traditional govern. In 2003 his artistic work gains the important Premio National de Ciencias y Artes. He has been a very much loved leader by his community and he teached his art to many young huicholes, besides the shaman way. We got to know him the year before he died, and he moved us with his gentleness, openness and energy. We talked about our desire to organize an exhibit of his works in Rome and he invited us to participate with him to the pilgrimage to Real de Catorce. Unfortunately we didn' have a second chance to meet him.
Born in 1954, son of masks maker, he his one of the top 'mascareros' in today Mexico and his masks are really valued by collectors. The Veracruz State, where he lives, has a strong tradition in masks, used in the carnival season, for the 'pastorelas' ( kind of a popular teather with religious carachter, represented during the Holy Week) and in the popular dances. Anyway Lino's masks are real masterpieces and they stand out for their expressiveness and the high level finish.
Miguel Angel Gonzalez
We are wery good friends with Miguel Angel, probably because we are the same age and we both like some kind of music (he plays guitar and sings with the Orines de Puerco). He is a super calaveras specialist, just have a look at the Albor de Muerte we have in the catalog, but he realizes all kind of figures and is our major supplier by the Gonzalez family.Look at all of his work
He is Miguel Angel's cousin and he works terracotta, is a painter, a writer, and plays drums, a complete artist. We buy his very unique terracotta masks, not really in the Metepèc style. Unfortunately he is not producing them lately.Look at all of his work