Artists in Pueblos West of Oaxaca City

Santa Maria Atzompa
Terracotta, Green-Glazed & Multi Color-Glazed Ceramics

Barely 15 minutes’ drive from Oaxaca City is the pueblo of Santa María Atzompa whose elevated terrain affords expansive vistas of the valley below. A friendly sign greets the visitor: “Bienvenidos a Sta. María Atzompa” (welcome to Santa María Atzompa). This pueblo is home to various types of ceramic work, roughly classified as terracotta, green-glazed, and multi-color-glazed. Many families of great talent carry on their longstanding traditions, and others introduce remarkably sophisticated innovations.

This pueblo has a very pleasant “plazuela” (centrally-located market) where approximately 20 artist families display their work. While worth a visit to appreciate the more traditional, utilitarian, commercial, and inexpensive types of work produced in this pueblo, if time is limited, visits to artists’ home are – with some exceptions—more memorable. Because some homes are difficult to reach or are not easily visible, they choose to display works in this more accessible and frequented market.

Sampler of excellent artists:

Terracotta Ceramic Figures

The Blanco Family

– Luís García Blanco
[Avenida Libertad #502]
– Irma García Blanco
(sister of Luis) [Avenida Juárez #302]
– Alicia Leticia García Blanco
(sister of Luis) [Avenida Juárez #109]
– Fernando Felix Peguero García
(son of Alicia Leticia) [Avenida Juárez #109]
– Faustino Avelino Blanco Nuñez
(uncle of Luis, Irma and Alicia Leticia) [Avenida Libertad #408]


The Vasquez Family

– Angélica Vásquez Cruz [Avenida Independencia #337]
– Enedina Vásquez Cruz (sister of Angélica) [Avenida Libertad sin número]
– Verónica Mariana Velasco Vásquez (daughter of Enedina) [Avenida Libertad sin número]
– Vilma Sandra Velasco Vásquez (daughter of Enedina) [Avenida Libertad sin número]
– Delfina Cruz Díaz & Ernesto Vásquez Reyes (mother and father of Angélica & Enedina) [Avenida Libertad #102]

Green-Glazed Ceramics

Teresa & Juana Lorenza Reyes Aguilar [Corregidora #301]

Martín Mario Enríquez López & Family [Avenida Independencia #510]

Terracotta and Green-Glazed Ceramics
(including miniatures)

Family of Manuela Villanueva Vásquez & (the late) Joel Velasco Lara
[Avenida Juárez #100]

Multi-Color-Glazed Ceramics

The Regino Porras Family

– Dolores Porras [Avenida Hidalgo #502]
– Rolando Regino Porras (son of Dolores) [Avenida Hidalgo #502]
– Aurelia Regino Porras (daughter of Dolores) [Avenida Libertad #619]
– Norberto Regino Porras & wife Rosa Elena García
(son and daughter-in-law of Dolores) [Avenida Libertad #622]

San Antonio Arrazola
(more common known simply as Arrazola)
Decoratively-Painted Woodcarved Figures

San Antonio Arrazola, located approximately 20 kilometers (30 minutes) from Oaxaca, is the pueblo where (the late) Manuel Jiménez Ramírez was among the first to introduce the art form of decoratively-painted, woodcarved figures. It is estimated that eighty families are currently involved in it, only some of whom produce outstanding work. The approach to Arrazola features an abandoned hacienda, a small town square with a well-tended gazebo, and a market of “artesanías” (handicrafts) initiated by government officials. Arrazola is quite hilly, offering expansive vistas, including brightly painted houses and traditional scenes, such as oxen bearing heavy wooden yolks while pulling carts bursting with produce and supplies. The awe-inspiring archaeological site of Monte Albán is visible at a distance.

Sampler of excellent artists:

The Jiménez Aragón Family

– Armando Jiménez Aragón [Independencia #1]
– Moíses Jiménez Aragón (brother of Armando) [Tabasco #1]

Family of (the late) Manuel Jiménez Ramírez

– Angélico Jiménez Hernández (son of Manuel) [Álvaro Obregón #1]
– Isaías Jiménez Hernández (son of Manuel) [Álvaro Obregón #1]

The Mandarín Family

– Antonio Mandarín [Álvaro Obregón #20]
René Mandarín Ramírez (son of Antonio) [Álvaro Obregón #20]

The Santiago Family

– José (Pepe) Santiago Ibañez [Álvaro Obregón #12]
– Magdalena Santiago Ramírez (daughter of José) & husband Orlando Mandarín Ramírez [Álvaro Obregón #12]

Eleazar Morales Ramírez [Benito Juárez #4]

Vito Gil Santiago Hernández [Plan de Ayala, corner of Independencia #7]


Artemio Raymundo Ibañez Ramírez [Venustiano Carranza #25]

Gabriel Eduardo Morales Antonio [Plan de San Luis #5]

Mario Castellanos [Revolución #35]

Narciso González Ramírez & wife Ruby Hernández Pinos [Venustiano Carranza #26]

José Hernández [Venustiano Carranza #23]

Arsenio Morales [Álvaro Obregón #14]

Francisco Ojeda Morales & wife Lucía Trinidad Santiago [Plan de Ayala #8]

Gerardo Ramírez [Álvaro Obregón #15]


Miniature Woodcarved Figures

Antonio Aragón Ramírez [Álvaro Obregón #24]


La Union Tejalapam
Decoratively-Painted Woodcarved Figures

The trip to La Unión Tejalapam, a more remote woodcarving pueblo, is fascinating and extremely rewarding. It affords the visitor a chance to find extraordinary artists, as well as to recapture the sense of remoteness and primitivity of woodcarving at its inception and to enjoy magnificent vistas. Artists in La Unión do not use the now more typical acrylic paints seen in San Martín and Arrazola, but rather the unglossy aniline variety that was customary in those pueblos decades ago. Approximately 18 families work in woodcarving, and approximately five produce outstanding work.

Although only 25 kilometers from Oaxaca City, this is a destination in its own right. The journey requires nearly an hour because the highway can be rocky and is best undertaken in a sports utility vehicle or truck. Obligatory ascents and descents to artists’ homes through cornfields require that the visitor travel on foot. A guide is recommended here, since roads are typically unmarked and finding the correct paths is the province of the well-initiated.

Sampler of excellent artists:

The Santiago Family

– Martín Santiago Cruz [Cañada Cera]
– Quirino Santiago Cruz (brother of Martín) [Domicilio Conocido]
– Plácido Santiago Cruz (brother of Martín) [Independencia]
– Francisco Santiago Cruz (brother of Martín) [Domicilio Conocido]
– Jaime Santiago Morales (son of Martín) [Domicilio Conocido]
– Maximino Santiago García (nephew of Martín, Quirino, Francisco, Plácido) [Domicilio Conocido]

– Calixto Santiago López (son of Plácido) [Domicilio Conocido]
– Eloy Santiago Cruz (son of Plácido) [Independencia]

Gabino Reyes [Domicilio Conocido]

Ángel Cruz Solis [Zona del Arroyo S/N]

Sergio Santos [Zona del Arroyo S/N]

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