To Contact: This artisan’s page is part of the Feria Maestros del Arte website, a non-profit organization providing a yearly venue for Mexican folk artisans to come together to sell their work. If you wish to purchase the artisans' work other than at the Feria, you MUST contact them directly.
Dr. Miguel Silva #328, Colonia
The making of folk art in Mexico is done in the homes of families and is as much a part of the daily activity as cooking a meal or walking to the market for vegetables. In most families where folkart is made, the process includes everyone from the youngest to the eldest members. A lack of ego prevails, as the process is more important than who makes each individual piece.
So is the art process in the Michoacán home of the Alvaro de la Cruz family. De la Cruz has taken the Catrina character created by José Guadalupe Posada and turned her into an art form. Catrina is a spirited skeleton dressed in elegant finery. Although most of the Catrinas are female, Alvaro gives males equal time and many of his creations are charros (Mexican cowboys), bridegrooms, or other manly figures. The detail is incredible and each is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Alvaro's sons, Juan Carlos, Daniel and Antonio are becoming well-known in their own right as well.
Jose Guadalupe Posada's (1852-1913) scathingly humorous portraits of society and political figures were never meant to last. Written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on flimsy newspaper, his satirical illustrations were read by the residents of Mexico City and then discarded. But Posada's prints did manage to survive the test of time, despite the paper they were printed on.
Posada considered all members of the community fair game for his satirical wit. His most enduring image is the calavera Catrina, dressed in elegant European finery, adorned with a wide-brimmed, feathered hat. Originally he created La Catrina to illustrate the popular song “La Cucaracha.” Later he used this image to parody overdressed Mexican women who at the time had an obsession for French culture.
At first glance many are appalled or put off with figures of skeletons dressed in outrageous clothing. In Mexican folk art, death is seen as the other half of life and is a common motif. Mexico’s more lighthearted depiction of death is a good reminder for us of the inevitable and there is no more fitting creation than the Catrinas - one of the most whimsical artforms Mexico has to offer.