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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The art of artists

I have had the rare opportunity of working with Arnulfo Mendoza, the most famous weaver from Teotitlan del Valle, as he prepares a book celebrating the *twenty-fifth anniversary of his Oaxacan store/gallery, Mano Magica.
I have been photographing paintings and other pieces of art for the publication.  However, the most exciting and interesting aspect of the project is that he wants current candid shots of as many of the featured artists as we can find.  Many live within a few kilometers of the city, but some are in outlying villages..  Arnulfo has been driving and half the time we are in areas I have never been before.  It's an adventure.  We have visited just under half of people on his list and we are not talkin' about just visiting.  No, food, drink, talk are all plentiful at each home.  I don't know about you, but a large glass of mezcal at ten in the morning for me, a non-drinker, is a hell of a way to start the day.  Still, each of these artists has a fascinating story.  Some are world famous with all the notoriety and wealth that comes with the territory. We are talkin' very heavy hitters.  Others, come from more humble workspaces.  Yet all possess that spark, that aura, that surrounds creative people doing what they love.
Reuben Leyva
 Luis Zárate
 Fernando Olivera (h/t Joan)
Alejandro Santiago
 Eddie Martinez
 Felipe Morales
Eight more artists to go.  Each one a blessing and teacher for me.  I doubt that these are the shots for the book as there so many to go through.  I just grabbed some that grabbed my eye.
*Check out the comments.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Always nice to see the artist and their environment!!!I would love to ear from that book when it came out!!!
Antonin Gallant(Montreal)

Judith Haden said...

Hey, great shots. Souns like fun!

Judith Haden said...

Hey, great portraits. Looks like fun!

Anonymous said...

It is Fernando Olivera.

It looks like a great project. I can't wait for the book.


Christopher Stowens said...

Hola Joan, gracias. I knew that! I blame it on.... Rio? mezcal? fatigue? stupidity? All of the above?
Fixed it anyway.

Anonymous said...

La Mano Magica was originally owned by Rocky Behr of the Folk Tree in Pasadena, California and Mary Jane Gaginer de Mendoza. Mary Jane gave up the ownership of La Mano Magica due to the break up of her marriage to Arnulfo.
So it's incorrect to state the Arnulfo is celebrating the 25th anniversary of La Mano Magica.

Christopher Stowens said...

As for the 25th anniversary, duly noted. Not my fault. I can only pass on what Arnulfo tells me. Maybe you should contact him.