Guadalupe Velázquez Galvan
Apaseo el Alto in the state of Guanajuato is home to Guadalupe Velázquez Galvan, third generation visionary woodcarver. Many artists here belong to the same families – the creation of art is passed down from one generation to another.
It is incredible what talent and patience, in the hands of an artist, can produce. There are no shortcuts in this work; the wood for sculpture must dry naturally, the lovingly executed carving takes precisely as long as is necessary. You can see in the photographs below, the caring process along with work that has been painted but not yet burnished and without gold leaving applied.
Pieces to be polychromed are carefully primed followed by the meticulous application of gold or silver leaf, which is then carefully burnished. Painting the piece follows, some of the work is so detailed the brush must be one hair's width.
Guadalupe is known for his detailed retablos. A retablo is a devotional painting or carving. They are important to Mexican folk religion because they are a physical representation of holy images such as Christ, the Virgin Mother, or one of the many thousands of saints. The way a retablo looks is entirely up to the artist designing it, so long as it contains the necessary basic elements. The most important part of the retablo is the representation of the miraculous event. That is why most artists try to use bright, vibrant colors to portray the supremacy of the event.
Guadalupe also makes nichos (shadow box) and saints or virgins to sit inside them. These make wonderfully unique and colorful household decorations and garner many comments from guests who have never seen this type of detailed work before.