The Art of Alebrijes
Jacobo Angeles, Mexican Alebrijes Folk Artist, will visit No Mas! Hacienda and Cantina March 27, 2015. Jacobo and his wife Maria are world renowned master artisans from the small Oaxaca village of San Martin Tilcajete, located about 25km south of Oaxaca. The village is known for its Alebrijes: colorful, whimsical, hand painted wood animals.
No Mas! Visits the Artist’s Studio in Oaxaca
The owners of No Mas! in Atlanta, GA, recently made the trip to Oaxaca to visit the artists’ shop. Their trips to Mexico are frequent and this one was a part of their discovery of Mexican Artisans in the southern region.
“From the moment our eyes saw the work in progress, we knew Jacobo was a maestro of Mexican Alebrijes folk art. The shop was bustling with activity. It was obvious that this shop was professional and that Jacobo took good care of his people. There was a cook preparing food, beautiful grounds with flowers and green plants, healthy animals playing…. Lots of the staff wore traditional guayabera shirts or colorful embroidered blouses from their indigenous neighboring villages. Alebrije painters noticed our unannounced entry and called for someone, who promptly greeted us. We explained that we just “happened to be
in the area” and wanted to say hi to Jacobo, whom we knew was going to Atlanta soon. The young man who greeted us was very kind and offered to give us a tour since Jacobo was not there. Our guide started with a presentation about the type of wood used to create the Alebrijes: “Copal”. He explained how long it takes to grow; how they often prune the tree so the growth will result in more interesting, twisted wood, which is great for making Alebrijes; and how they plant 5,000 trees a year so that they have a
sustainable supply. We then went to see the wood carving area, where at least 10 people were busily carving. The inspiration for the resulting creatures comes from the artist studying the branches and following the natural form throughout the process. One master carver explained his vision of the wood he was carving, relative to a photograph he was working from. It was a custom project for a (very lucky) client. There were two shelves above, lining the u-shape walls in this part of the workshop, filled with the hand carved wood shapes. The top shelf was for work that was already sold and the bottom shelf was available work, separated by type of animal. Some had pencil marks with numbers in square patterns, to give an estimate to a client, based on the square centimeters, of work that would be required to paint the detailed patterns.”
Meet the Artist in Atlanta at No Mas!, March 27th
Jacobo Angeles will be visiting Atlanta, Georgia on March 27, 2015, to share his traditional Zapotec art. His generous teachings help people appreciate this medium, the Alebrijes sculptures, and the Zapotec culture. His visit is made possible by Danceando Promotions, Oaxaca Government, Westminster Schools of Atlanta, Alma de mi Tierra Cooking Classes, and the Instituto Oaxaqueno de las Artesanias. Chef Nora Valencia will be working with No Mas! Cantina to create a traditional dish for the event. This event is open to the public, admission gratis.