Rafael Rodríguez Contreras
Rafael Rodríguez Contreras was born in Mexico City. Since he was young, his imagination has run wild with colors and shapes. Living close to the market La Lagunilla, he fueled his imagination with the works of artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo, Chucho Reyes, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Chavez Morado.
The marketplace, with its Mexican culture, the art of bargaining and all the “characters” that were the “sellers” there, marked his life and he felt inspired to express these feelings and emotions.
His has worked in an antique shop all his life in order to help support his family. However, his fertile imagination could not be silenced. Self-taught, not able to go to art school, he began with pencil drawings. For over 20 years he has created his ex-votos of thin tin. In this way, he expresses what he feels while preserving his work at the same time.
Rafael’s ex-votos are not traditional ex-votos. Rather, his are capricious paintings on sheet metal or lamina done in the style of traditional Mexican ex-votos. The traditional ex-votos are offerings to a saint or to a divinity placed in the church in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion. They usually include a pictorial image of the incident and a story across the bottom of the painting including thanks for the miracle, and an image of the Saint or Jesus in the top right or left corner. Rafael’s ex-votos tell absurd stories about fictitious encounters.
Rafael is a creative spirit, virtually unknown in the folk art world. He has been selling his work at La Lagunilla market, which has existed since the Aztec era. Many of his works have gone to other countries. In 2011 and 2012, he was invited to show his work in two calendars in Mexico, Tequilero and The Mezcalero. In 2012, he was part of the collective exhibition Favores Insolitos at the Popular Art Museum in Mexico City. In 2013, his work was sold at the López Morton auction house in Mexico City. That same year, his paintings were exhibited at the MUJAN (Mexican Museum of Old Toys).
Cerrada Gea Mza 5 Lt 3 B
Colonia Portal San Pablo II
Facebook: Rafael Rodriguez