José Antonio García, San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Ocotlán, Oaxaca
Gifted with a singular talent, since he was a child José Antonio García has made ceramic horses and giraffes, surprising both friends and strangers with his extraordinary ability to handle clay. He never had a teacher and at the age of 7 he discovered his ability to work with clay. He admits that his greatest inspiration is bringing mermaids to life, the beauty of a woman emerging together with a creature of nature has always fascinated José. It seems that the heart of the artisans of Oaxaca is made of clay. Their emotions, intuition, joy, fears and fantasies flow through their veins until they reach their hands that mold the clay and as if by magic transform it into beautiful pieces of pottery. The great masters of popular art
José García Antonio was born on 10 August 1947. He is originally from San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Ocotlán, Oaxaca. Passionate about his work, the beauty of Oaxaca, its people and especially his beautiful wife are his inspiration. He constantly sculpts his wife with braids and shawls. José says, “The woman has always been beautiful. She attracts beauty to everything. So when they buy a piece that represents her, they are taking a small part of the beauty of the master's wife”.
The master José Antonio García has a sight problem and is almost blind. One would think that the art of this intelligent and humble man would be lost. But no, José continues to work with clay, the memory of what he wants to create goes out of his hands into the clay. He faces the inevitable blindness with maturity and continues to devote all his time to creating with his hands. He sees through his fingers. He comments: The truth is that I love my work and I cannot give it up.
His village, San Antonino, near Ocotlán, is the cradle of notable and diverse artists of different types of folk art. José specializes in the evergreen floral technique. He began many years ago making incense burners, which he decorated with numerous figures of spirits for the festivities of the Day of the Dead, but his most exemplary pieces are his large mermaids and other monumental figures. For the traditional market, he makes all kinds of pots, molded and unmolded, all finished in natural colors. For the Day of the Dead he makes candelabras and skulls. During the Christmas season he makes ornaments.
Don José works with a special clay obtained in the area. He prepares it following the traditional technique he inherited, pulverizing it to a fine powder and then sifting it. When it is clean and free of impurities, he moistens it, covers it with plastic and leaves it to rest in a dry place. Then he takes portions according to the piece he is working on, kneading it and adding water until he achieves the desired consistency. For some of his large pieces, Don José combines various techniques such as
Don José works with a special mud obtained in the area. He prepares it following the traditional technique he inherited, pulverizing it into a fine powder and then sifting it. When it is clean and free of impurities, he moistens it, covers it with plastic and leaves it to rest in a dry place. Then he takes portions according to the piece he is working on, kneading it and adding water until he achieves the desired consistency. For some of his large pieces, Don José combines various techniques such as molding, modelling, graffito and pastillage.
The latter technique, in which he is an expert, consists of adding hand-molded elements to the finished pieces, such as flowers. He surrounds his famous mermaids with dense foliage and adds a sun, moon, stars and other such figures with wire. He then polishes the pieces with a stone, a rag or a corn, keeping them moist. After polishing, the pieces are left to dry slowly in the shade and then moved to the sun to dry. They are baked for a long time and left to rest until they cool down.
Don José's wife, Santa Teresita Mendoza Reyna Sánchez, was born in 1961 in the village of San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Ocotlán, Oaxaca. She and Don José married in 1987, when she realized her husband's deep love for the figures and their clay mermaids. Their faces represent the Tehuanas, from the coastal area, Tuxtepec, Mixtecs and other areas of Oaxaca. She has worked with her husband and it fills her with joy that her children continue the tradition of pottery.
José García Antonio
951 539 6473 or 951 219 4485 cel