Huichol (Wixarika) Yarn Paintings
Excelente Castro is a Mexican artist. He comes from a mixed background of Wixarika (Huichol) from his father, and Nahuatl from his mother. He learned the craft from his father, where he started working at a very young age. Thus, Excelente sold his first yarn paintings at the age of 12. He has also participated in several contests such as the Gran Concurso National de Arte Popular.
Excelente’s art is a blend of surrealism with the classic style of Wixarika (Huichol) art. His artwork adopts the old symbols and portrays them in new ways. For example, his series of fractal surrealism shows the way in which peyote guides the shaman towards enlightenment.
This is an extraordinary yarn painting by Justo Benitez. Justo learned his trade from his father Jose Benitez Sanchez. The foremost master of the yarn painting and has a style that reflects his teacher’s classic style although he has his own distinct color combinations and super crisp definition. This piece reminds us of the old days when the yarn paintings were not as stylized and were more about the vision rather than the symbols.
Jose Luis castro
Jose Luis Castro is a fifth generation Wixarika (Huichol) artist. He comes from the ceremonial center of San Andres Cohamiata, deep within the Sierra Madre Occidental. His style of magical realism makes his artwork the bridge between the old and the new traditions. Thus he has become a very popular artist.
Jose Luis’ artwork contains lots of symbolism from the Wixarika (Huichol) culture. Symbols such as the peyote, offerings like prayer arrows or special animals like the eagle. The way in which José Luis blends colors to make his work aesthetically pretty and it gives it a contemporary feel to an otherwise ancient art.
Luis Castro is the son of Eliseo Castro, one of the pioneers of huichol yarn paintings. His family comes from the ranch of Los Guayabos, near the town of San Andres Cohamiata. Luis’ designs are much more complex than his father’s. His sense of realism and perspective are taking Wixarika (Huichol) Art in new directions.
Luis’ artwork is adorned with skeletons. He explains that they represent his ancestors. As a shamanic culture the Wixarika (Huichol) believe that the Gods are their direct ancestors and it is they who taught them their way of life. Everything you see in his work comes from the actual ceremonies. The offerings of peyote, corn, deer, prayer arrows are all given to the Gods to ask for their necessities. Such as good luck in the hunt, good weather for their crops to grow and healing powers for the shaman.
Santos Daniel was one of the pioneers of the yarn art in San Andres Cohamiata. Part of what sets him aside from the rest is the way he textures the yarn when he puts it into the wax. This gives his pieces a considerable amount of depth. His brilliant colors unfortunately just don’t come out in the pictures. It is this beautiful combination of joyful colors which marks his artistic style.
MaxImino y Yolanda Renteria
Maximino started his artistic career under the great Jose Benitez Sanchez. Eventually, after working under him for 4 years, Maximino decided to start doing his own work with his wife. Maximino got married in 1993 to Yolanda. The couple started to develop their own style, which is heavily influenced by the classic style of his teacher. The themes which are depicted in his yarn paintings all stem from conversations he had with his father, a marakame (shaman) of the community, regarding the Wixarika mythology.