meet the artists / woodcarving / woodcarving page 2

WOODCARVING

[San Antonio Arrazola]
The Jiménez Family

  • Angélico Jiménez Hernández
  • Isaías Jiménez Hernández
  • Roque Manuel Jiménez Carrillo
  • Armando Jiménez Aragón
  • Alejandro Jiménez Carrillo

René Mandarín Ramírez
Eleazar Morales Ramírez
The Ojeda Family

  • Claudio Ojeda Morales and his wife, Teresa González Marín
  • Alexis Ojeda González
  • Claudio Alberto Ojeda González

Nelly Ramírez Ruíz
Vito Gil Santiago Hernández
The Santiago Family

  • José (Pepe) Santiago Ibañez
  • Nicole Santiago Cruz
  • Magdalena Marisela Santiago Ramírez

[San Martín Tilcajete]
Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda and María del Carmen Mendoza
Francisca Calvo
The Calvo Fabián Family

  • Gaspar Calvo Fabián
  • José Calvo Fabián

San Antonio Arrazola

The Jiménez Family

(The late) Manuel Jiménez Ramírez

An introduction to this talented carving family must begin with the patriarch, Manuel Jiménez Ramírez, who lived into his 80’s until his death in 2005.  He is credited as the originator of this genre of folk art in Arrazola, and derived great satisfaction from his popularity with collectors all over the world.  Dignified, hard-working and proud, Manuel was best known for his animals, angels, shepherds, kings and Christ figures, pieces bold in shape, size and painting style. To distinguish himself from the carvers who came after him, his later work was in the finer Guatemalan cedar, rather than local copal wood.

Angélico and Isaías, Manuel’s sons, continue his fine carving tradition in the family compound. Behind wrought iron doors, a lush garden and creative mosaic paths weave through the multiple work areas of the family’s compound. Angélico and Isaías share all styles with their father. Unlike many carvers, they generally do the painting themselves, their wives rarely contributing to their art. Angélico favors blue and Isaías prefers a combination of colors, in contrast to their father whose favorite colors were yellow and rose. 

 

Angélico Jiménez Hernández

 

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Álvaro Obregón #1
alebrijesjimenez@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1293
Cell: 011-52-1-951-135-2880
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1293
Landline to Cell: 044-951-135-2880
Cell to Cell: 951-135-2880


Isaías Jiménez Hernández

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #32.jpg
 

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Álvaro Obregón #1
Isaiasjimenez.c@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1293
Cell: 011-52-1-951-322-2505
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1293
Landline to Cell: 044-951-322-2505/ Cell to Cell: 951-322-2505


Roque Manuel Jiménez Carrillo (son of Angélico and grandson of Manuel) 
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2011 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #34.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Álvaro Obregón #1
roquem.jimenez@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1293
Cell: 011-52-1-951-117-1367
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1293
Landline to Cell: 044-951-117-1367
Cell to Cell: 951-117-1367

Roque began carving at the age of 12 in his grandfather’s workshop and with his help. He has never studied art formally, but instead regards it as an empirical process of trial and error. Nor had Roque entered a competition on his own prior to his participation in FOFA’s 2011 young artists’ competition, at age 24, in which he was awarded honorable mention. Roque explained that his piece is a nahual, a mystical Oaxacan animal spirit believed in his pueblo to protect each child from birth. He enjoys carving because he can create things that he does not see around him, and “bring each piece alive” by painting it.


Armando Jiménez Aragón (grandson of Manuel)

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #35.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #36.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Independencia #1 (corner of Tabasco)   
armandojimenez1967@yahoo.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1356
Cell: 011-52-1-951-131-9386
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1356
Landline to Cell: 044-951-131-9386
Cell to Cell: 951-131-9386

In the shelter of a natural awning created by shady trees, Armando carves and, with the help of his wife, paints wooden figures that make significant statements.  His pieces are prominent, both in size and hue.  Armando specializes in many varieties of animals -- both ones that do not inhabit Oaxaca, such as flamingos, otters and bears, as well as those one see in daily life, such as rabbits and frogs.  They are decorated with vibrant colors, two favorites being colonial blue and yellow.  Armando is receptive to new designs inspired by photographs that prospective clients provide.


Alejandro Jiménez Carrillo (son of Armando) 
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #37.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #38.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Independencia #1 (corner of Tabasco)
armandojimenez1967@yahoo.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1356
Cell: 011-52-1-951-131-9386
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1356
Landline to Cell: 044-951-131-9386
Cell to Cell: 951-131-9386

A third generation folk artist, Alejandro learned to carve wood from his father and to paint from his mother. He enjoys making a strong statement with the fantastical images he creates, such as dragons, and paints them in bright colors to convey his whimsy and happiness. The images on this dragon’s two massive wings reflect Alejandro’s heritage and dreams. On one wing, he has painted his great grandfather (the late Manuel Jiménez cited above) in the act of carving, and also a wooden frog -- his family’s trademark piece. On the other wing, Alejandro portrays hands reaching towards an armadillo, his favorite figure to carve and paint, to represent his own dreams. 


René Mandarín Ramírez
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013 contests] 

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Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #40.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola      
Álvaro Obregón #20
renemanda45@live.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-2738
Cell: 011-52-1-951-161-0499
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-2738
Landline to Cell: 044-951-161-0499
Cell to Cell: 951-161-0499

René comes from a well-known woodcarving family headed by his father,  Antonio Mandarín. All members of his family -- Rene, his father, mother and brother -– engage in painting, which in many carving families is the sole artistic domain of women. Sitting in his windowed workshop overlooking a beautiful garden and his town of Arrazola, René explained that his family has always had a strong connection to the natural world. This is evident in his carved piece composed of many symbolic elements. The serpent represents knowledge and the beginning of life; the head of a peacock displays its natural beauty while wings convey freedom. To symbolize his honor of his ancestors, René has incorporated an ear of corn in which every kernel – every offspring -- conveys the plant’s own history.


Eleazar Morales Ramírez

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #41.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #42.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Benito Juárez #4
eleazar_art@hotmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-169-6751
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-169-6751
Cell to Cell: 951-169-6751
 

Eleazar began woodcarving within the bosom of his family, and in this art he has found a form of self-expression that gives him great satisfaction. This piece was featured as an example of master woodcarving in FOFA’s 2008 catalog. Eleazar portrays the 19th century president, Oaxacan Zapotec native Benito Juárez, one of the most important figures in Mexican history. Eleazar uses it to critique contemporary politics. He expresses his sentiment that in Oaxaca there is neither respect for the rights of others, nor peace — in contrast to Juárez’s famous saying, “Respect for the rights of others is peace.” Eleazar explained that the frail eagle and the disfigured roots of the bust contrast with the strength of Mexican culture, and the seven leaves of the national shield (the seven regions of the state of Oaxaca), which are placed directly on the heart. 


The Ojeda Family

 

Claudio Ojeda Morales and his wife, Teresa González Marín

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #43.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Emiliano Zapata #16
claudiozapotec@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1438
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1438

At the head of the Ojeda family is Claudio, who creates wood-carved figures distinguished by their extraordinary stature and texture. He is a highly articulate man who uses his art to delve into the philosophical and sensual dimensions of his inner world. He and his wife Teresita collaborate on and co-sign their pieces. Claudio does the carving and Teresita the painting, which is considered as integral to their artistry as the carving. They both regard Teresita’s special techniques as an inheritance to be passed along to their two sons. The couple’s figures include jaguars, armadillos, nahuales (figures combining human and animal features), peacocks, toucans, parrots, and iguanas.


Alexis Ojeda González (son of Claudio and Teresita)

San Antonio Arrazola
Emiliano Zapata #16
don_claux@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1438
Cell: 011-52-1-951-221-8556
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1438
Landline to Cell: 044-951-221-8556
Cell to Cell: 951-221-8556

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #45.jpg

Claudio Alberto Ojeda González (son of Claudio and Teresita)
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013 contest]

San Antonio Arrazola
Emiliano Zapata #16
don_claux@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1438
Cell: 011-52-1-951-221-8556
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1438
Landline to Cell: 044-951-221-8556
Cell to Cell: 951-221-8556
 

The two Ojeda González brothers share responsibility for continuing the family’s work. In 2013 they submitted a jointly carved and painted piece. Building on their family legacy, with Alexis transforming Claudio's drawing -- a blueprint -- into a powerful carved figure of a pregnant woman. Her belly is a globe of the world, reminding us that the land and all living creatures are children of Mother Nature. Claudio explained that he chose bright and exciting colors, primarily rich blues and greens, over somber ones because, as the title of their work conveys, this is a vision of Mother Nature in all her splendor without sadness or misery.


Nelly Ramírez Ruíz
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2011 contest] 

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #47.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #48.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Álvaro Obregón #15
tallerygaleriafranco@gmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-322-8937
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-322-8937
Cell to Cell: 951-322-8937

 

Nelly is a member of a large family of woodcarvers. She began painting when she was eight years old, learning from her parents as did her older siblings. This piece, carved by her brother-in-law, portrays a dog that was attacked by a cobra. Nelly explained that as it “pulls to the side with all its might,” the cobra tries to squeeze the life out of the dog. Although she does not consider herself a pessimist, Nelly says, “that’s how it is in the world – the most powerful in society always win.” As is their custom, she and her brother-in-law had a dialogue about the spirit of the decorative painting, but he does not dictate the colors or style.


Vito Gil Santiago Hernández
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013 contests] 

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #49.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #50.jpg

San Antonio Arrazola                          
Plan de Ayala (corner Independencia #7)

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-2818
Cell: 011-52-1-951-194-5473
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-2818
Landline to Cell: 044-951-194-4373
Cell to Cell: 951-194-4373

Vito Gil began carving at age 16, stimulated and encouraged by his father Miguel Santiago, a well-known woodcarver. In addition to showing him techniques and interpretive style, at times when Gil was self-critical, his father encouraged him to proceed. Gil has learned to be satisfied with the results. The octopus inspires him “because of its strength and ability to survive, despite not having bones.” He feels that each piece he carves is a part of him, and he is sad to let it go. Gil hopes that everyone who sees his carving will experience the animal’s presence in an emotional way. Concerned about the environment, he belongs to a group called Eco-alebrijes, an association charged with reforestation of the copal tree, the wood with which he works. 


The Santiago Family

 

José (Pepe) Santiago Ibañez    

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #51.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #52.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Álvaro Obregón #12
arte-pepesantiago@outlook.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1394
Cell: 011-52-1-951-509-2859
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1394
Landline to Cell: 044-951-509-2859
Cell to Cell: 951-509-2859

José Santiago Ibañez (nicknamed Pepe) carves wooden figures, as does his large extended family. They specialize in native animals such as armadillos and iguanas, fantasy figures such as winged horses, two-headed serpents (alebrijes) and mermaids.  In addition, they create masks that derive from the tradition of Pepe’s parents, who produced an unpainted variety.  Some of his work leans to the commercial side, including boxes and picture frames. The combination of good quality and reasonable prices provides the buyer with an alternative to the higher prices of some other artists in this pueblo.


Nicole Santiago Cruz
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2011 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #53.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Álvaro Obregón #12
nicol.santi.mjn@gmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1394
Cell: 011-52-1-951-209-8060
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1394
Landline to Cell: 044-951-209-8060
Cell to Cell: 951-209-8060  

Nicole began painting woodcarvings at age 14, beginning with simple alebrijes, and eventually moving on to finer work. Her older sister Magdalena, who has also entered FOFA young artist’s competitions, paints as well but in a very different style. Although she has studied tourism, Nicole intends to continue painting. She entered this frog to honor her father who carved it. She has painted many frogs but felt especially satisfied with the way this frog’s design emerged as she painted it.


Magdalena Marisela Santiago Ramírez
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013 contests]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #55.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #56.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Venustiano Carranza #26
orlagmanda@hotmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-119-9041
(In US) Landline to Cell: 044-951-119-9041
Cell to Cell: 951-119-9041

Having learned from her father, Magdalena began to carve at age 15. She explains that now her greatest inspirations are her husband, and children, Anthony and Alexa. This piece was painted by Magdalena after it was carved by her husband, Orlando Mandarín Ramírez. This type of carved figure is unusual for artisans from their pueblo. It is distinguished from traditional Catrinas by the fine delineation of its waist, breasts and buttocks, and its beautiful accessories, such as her dress and parasol. Painting the diamond shapes presented a challenge to Magdalena, who had never before experimented with this type of decoration. She is gratified that her work is appreciated, explaining that it motivates her to improve every day.


San Martín Tilcajete

Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda and María del Carmen Mendoza

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #57.JPG
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #58.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Callejón del Olvido #9
angeles@tilcajete.org

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9027
Cell: 011-52-1-951-116-1508
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9027
Landline to Cell: 044-951-116-1508
Cell to Cell: 951-116-1508

Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda and his wife, María del Carmen Mendoza collaborate in creating pieces, primarily animals, that are remarkable both in dimension and in their distinctive, finely detailed Zapotec painting style. Jacobo’s work reflects his belief that every person resembles an animal in some respects.  This is a variant of the nahual, the traditional belief in his pueblo that humans transform into animal spirits at night. According to Jacobo, a woodcarver’s work is limited only by his imagination, as exemplified by his carving of a tortoise with a human face. He and María host a large workshop of young family members and villagers who carve and decoratively paint pieces that are more affordable (although still of excellent quality) than those carved by Jacobo and painted by María themselves.


Francisca Calvo (sister of Jesús Sosa Calvo, listed below)

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Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #60.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Nicolas Bravo s/n
francisca72@gmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-291-3714
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-291-3714
Cell to Cell: 951-291-3714

Francisca is one of the few women carvers in Oaxaca. She creates large, striking pieces that combine human and animal features, such as a butterfly with a woman’s body and a peacock with a male torso. She also loves to create religious icons that are revered throughout Mexico, such the Virgin of Guadalupe with Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzín. Francisca’s pieces are collectors’ items of museum quality, because of both her remarkable mastery of human anatomy and her superb decorative painting. 


The Calvo Fabián Family

 

Gaspar Calvo Fabián [Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 contests]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #61.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #62.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Libres #1
gaspar_1424@hotmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-222-6472
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-222-6472
Cell to Cell: 951-222-6472

Gaspar learned to carve from his parents and other relatives, beginning at 12 years of age, and continues to develop as an artist. His father was a significant creative influence, followed by his father-in-law, Isidoro Cruz Hernández, a pioneer in woodcarving in this pueblo – comparable in stature to Manuel Jimenez’s stature in San Antonio Arrazola. Gaspar has won honorable mention in all four of FOFA’s young artists’ competition, creating both figures that are beautifully painted and those with great detail in natural wood. He is an enthusiastic promoter of his pueblo’s annual day of reforestation in which townspeople plant new copal trees to promote sustainability. In The God of Corn, he conveys that Mexico is the culture of corn. Other symbols depict the clash of cultures that occurred when the Spanish conquest imposed the Catholic religion.  


José Calvo Fabián (Gaspar’s brother)
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013, 2016 contests]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #63.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Constitución s/n
pemakev11@gmail.com

(From US): Landline: 011-52-951-524-9108
Cell: 011-52-1-951-439-6264
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9108
Landline to Cell: 044-951-439-6264
Cell to Cell: 951-439-6264    

José, who began to paint at 12 years of age, tells visitors that he was influenced by his grandparents and parents, as well as by music, selected books, his girlfriend, life itself, and nature and the abundant vegetation around his pueblo. He enjoys carving horses, although they are not part of the pre-Hispanic roots that José celebrates. He divides the painting of this piece into four quadrants; he uses a variety of colors to depict different aspects of the horse’s personality -- yellow for bravery and strength, and blue for its need for companionship. José explains that color also conveys the horse’s intelligence; by painting them the head (brain) and feet the same color, he emphasizes their connection. “While humans may trip on the same rock many times, the horse learns not to do so after only one such experience.”