Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art made out paper, glue and paint. The first alebrijes originated in Mexico City out of the imagination of cartonero Pedro Linares, who would make them out of strips of paper and glue on armature, a craft known as cartonería. With time, alebrijes evolved from paper mache to miniature painted wood carvings by Oaxacan artisan Manuel Jimenez who started using copal wood, a type of wood Mayans believed to have magical powers. From mythical monsters to animal hybrids to simple common animal figures, the craft has become one of Mexico’s most recognized form of folk art.
In my visits to the Riviera Maya (Akumal, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Cobá and the island of Xolbox) I have had the opportunity to observe this unique art form and have gave it a try with my spatulas to recreate them on a two dimensional surface with a three dimensional feel. The result is what you see. A form of an art mutation that maintains its artistic and cultural DNA paying tribute to indigenous culture, utilizing the magic of color and the playful imagery of the creative mind in the final form of an oil painting. I hope you find it appealing.