The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Isidoro Cruz Hernandez 1934 - 2015

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Isidoro Cruz Hernandez, the master carver from San Martin Tilcajete, who died recently in California.  Don Isidoro was one of the most important driving forces behind what led to the golden age of alebrijes, the wood carvings for which Oaxaca is internationally famous.
He had a wonderful spirit, really quite cosmic, spiritual with a ever-present sense of humor.  He was born in San Martin and spent his whole life there, although he traveled widely.  I remember walking through the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with him and listening to his observations and opinions.  I loved the guy.
He was out there, a visionary.
This cane, one I possess, depicts the twelve Aztec kings. 
 Siempre picante!
San Martin Tilcajete is one of the most prominent carving villages and Isidoro was to a great degree responsible for this notoriety.  He worked with various arts and governmental agencies in the 60's and 70's to promote local artisans. His carvings are some of the best and most unique.  His masks are all so amazing.  This one hangs in my house in Boston.
As an artist and human being, I looked to him as a mentor and someone I hoped to emulate when I finally matured.  He was intelligent, creative and gifted with all sorts of talents.  I spent many days with him and have plants from his garden in my garden.  One time, we were sitting there and all of a sudden he asked if I knew how to play pool.  I misspent much of my youth in various pool halls, so I said, "No, but I am willing to try." a standard hustlers' line.  He brought this little flimsy table out, maybe a meter long, balls all chipped, and we began to play.  He was very competitive and it was his table, but in the end I won.....  and the prices for the pieces I was buying suddenly went up.. a lot.  That was the very last time I ever won.... I'm not a total fool.  I remember buying him new pool balls and a "taco", a cue, in Waltham. MA and the look on his face when he saw them.  As I say, a truly great man.  I loved him.
My condolences to his family.  However, Isidoro still lives... through his art and in our hearts and memories.


casitacolibri said...

Oh, no... Gonna go out and smile at my pitahaya.

itchyfeet said...

What a wonderful tribute to a talented human being. Thank you so much for taking the time to honor him.

Omar Alí Velasco Cruz said...

Thanks, He was my Grandfather

Michael Chibnik said...

A wonderful man. I always enjoyed visiting him in San Martin - gracious, smart, enormously talented. He taught me so much about carving and his community,

Bella Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bella Lisa said...

I will miss his unmatched creativity, carvings, conversations & care for those surrounding him🙏

Bella Lisa said...

I'm sorry for your loss. We shared frequent conversations on 6th St. In Berkeley, Ca., where he graced us with his presence. I am so glad & honored to have one of his peices.