Check out Kathleen Carrillo at Southside Shuffle!

Check out Kathleen Carrillo at Southside Shuffle!

This Friday, February 8, 6-10 check out the show in her gallery (Calle Constitucion 325) featuring seventeen of Kathleen Carrillo’s new works soon to be mounted at the Four Seasons Resort in Punta de Mita.

Her latest collection “Speakeasy/Cabaret” shares works about nightlife, Jazz, dancing and a bit of the dark side. These can be seen at her gallery in Puerto Vallarta.

Kathleen has just opened her second Gallery in Carlsbad, California, in North San Diego County.  She will be spending most of the summer months in this new gallery while continuing to be dedicated to her patrons in the winter months in the Puerto Vallarta gallery.

Watch her latest episode of Colour In Your Life, a PBS affiliated series about artist and their lives, which aired in Australia and Europe last week.  Find it on YouTube: Colour In Your Life, Kathleen Carrillo.

You can call Kathleen at the gallery 322 222 9879, or her US phone 858 261-8129.  Gallery located at Calle Constitucion 325 in Old Town!  See you there.

Painting Credit: “Mixed Signals At The Cabaret”

Puerto Vallarta adds five more sculptures to the landscape

Puerto Vallarta revealed five new sculptures that were installed in different parts of the city. The works of art derived from the International Forum of Sculptors Puerto Vallarta 2017, organized by the University Campus of the Coast (CUCosta) of the University of Guadalajara (UdeG).

In the presence of municipal and university authorities and sponsoring businessmen, the esplanade of the La Aurora colony was the first place where the sculpture “El cuento del pescador” was unveiled.

In addition to the acting mayor Rodolfo Domínguez Monrroy, executive coordinator of the forum, María Asunción Ramírez Barajas; the director of the Instituto Vallartense de Cultura (IVC), teacher Arturo Dávila López; the sponsor and general director of Corporativo Más Vacations, Vicente Aguilar Sosa; and the representative of the La Aurora colony, Juan Manuel Hernández Izquierdo all attended the ceremony.

“The purpose of this cultural event is to provide Puerto Vallarta with cultural works that enrich the heritage of the people of Vallarta,” said Rector of CUCosta, Dr. Marco Antonio Cortés Guardado. “Above all, to enrich the cultural heritage of the popular areas of the city. Bring culture, important works to the people of Vallarta who have fewer resources and who, therefore, have fewer opportunities to access the experience of living with sculptural works of large format on a daily basis.”

The president of Tafer Hotels & Resorts, Luis Fernando Gonzalez Corona, highlighted the role of UdeG in the promotion of art and culture while underlining the relevance of promoting greater artistic works in Puerto Vallarta with the collaboration of the municipal authority.

“I dare to invite the municipal government with Rodolfo at this time, with Arturo tomorrow and with those who come, to maintain an intensely dynamic, proliferation, greater artistic manifestations and especially sculptures, throughout the length and breadth of the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta “.

The Municipality of Puerto Vallarta, through the Directorate of Social Development and the IVC, together with neighborhood representatives, identified the neighborhoods with the greatest need for reconstruction of the social fabric. They also contributed to the placement of concrete bases, as well as the intervention and conditioning of the areas, prior to the installation of the sculptures donated by the University.

Local representatives of the La Aurora, Infonavit CTM, and Los Sauces housing units welcomed the works built in stainless steel by sculptors of recognized prestige and international quality. The other two donated sculptures were installed in the Linear Park on the banks of the Pitillal River, and on the road to Las Palmas, at the junction with the avenue of entrance to CUCosta, respectively.

Welcome Home: Style Guide for Creating a Coastal Home

Welcome Home: Style Guide for Creating a Coastal Home

Two décor styles are popular with Americans and Canadians who have a new home in Mexico.  Since most of their properties tend to be near the ocean, it will come as no surprise that one of them is coastal style.

Coastal decor is best described as a fun and relaxing style that stirs memories of summer vacations of lore.  This is one of the fastest growing and most popular décor styles, whether you live on the ocean or just want to evoke the feel of the seaside.  Natural light and fabrics, as well as ocean blue and sun-drenched white color tones, constitute the core elements of this style.  From there, the category splits depending on which coast you prefer to take your inspiration:  tropical, cottage, Mediterranean, or American.

Tropical is reminiscent of the Pacific.  Also referred to as Island style, think dark greens, floral colors, and natural weaves.  Teak is also a go-to material to create this vibe.  I love this style for homes that are situated in jungle settings.  What an excellent way to extend the outside indoors.

Cottage is arguably the most relaxed of the subsets of coastal décor style.  Most furniture pieces in this style coordinate but are not matched.  An eclectic approach with a common color palette is the way to tie everything together while maintaining the ultimate relaxed feel.  Wood furniture made from reclaimed materials and vintage pieces that catch your interest is the best way to create this look.

The Mediterranean style brings to mind the bright, terra cotta colors, lots of carving detail, heavy black iron and dark woods.  This is a perfect option to decorate a home in Mexico since it evokes the old world feel of the shores of Spain.

The American style of coastal décor takes a nautical slant with reflective surfaces, navy blues, and rope.  Relaxed upholstery often with white or off-white slipcovers are a fixture of this coastal style.  Shiplap, chevron patterns, and decorative lanterns round out the little touches that complete the style.

If Coastal décor is the style that appeals, there are some beautiful interior paint colors available in Mexico.  The Coastal Cool color card is one of my favorites.  It gives me many options to work with depending on whether my client prefers bolder or softer colored walls.               

Although white shutters and horizontal blinds are common, billowing white cotton or linen drapes really make the room look relaxed.      

For upholstered goods, stay clear of dark colors.  Instead, go light and airy with a white or cream fabric cover.  With the new performance fabrics available, there is no reason to be concerned about owning a light color sofa, sectional or sofa bed.  Heavily coated, yet incredibly soft, even red wine left overnight will easily roll off in the morning.  Down feather filling or thick foam, with a frame that has curved arms will create this style.

Choose headboards, tables, chairs and rugs constructed from natural weaves, distressed wood and wrought iron metal to complete the look.            

‘Qulture’ Artists’ Co-Op & Jazz Bistro to Open in August

‘Qulture’ Artists’ Co-Op & Jazz Bistro to Open in August


July 10, 2018
Architectural rendering of the new interior of ‘Qulture,’ a unique venue that will blend art, music and food in one beautiful setting, that is scheduled to open next month in the heart of Old Town Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico – We are excited to announce the upcoming opening of Qulture in Puerto Vallarta. This unique venue will blend art, music and food in one beautiful setting in the heart of Old Town.

THE FACTS

• Qulture is located at Venustiano Carranza 466, Emiliano Zapata, PV 48380

• It features 19 local artists in individual studio/galleries, with art ranging from paintings, mixed-media, sculpture, ceramics, leather and jewelry. These studios are completely leased with a waiting list.

The Galería will open mid-August and will feature works from the resident artists as well as guest artists. Additionally, The Coleccióngift shop will feature jewelry, custom greeting cards, small prints & ceramics and Qulture souvenirs.• Bar Q, an amazing bar-in-the-round will open in late August, mid-September in the courtyard of Qulture. Open for happy hour and evening to start, it will feature art-inspired drink creations and local favorites at reasonable prices, entertainment and a dedicated dog & cigarette friendly area.

Bistro Q, the restaurant, will open late October and coincide with the grand opening of Qulture. It will be open for lunch and dinner with Saturday & Sunday jazz brunches. An ever-changing menu will feature small plates, tapas and miniature decadent desserts to compliment a light and lively lifestyle. Take-out specialty party trays will also be available.

QULTURE IN THE COMMUNITY

Qulture is committed to being a good neighbor in our community and will participate in various activities to further a better life for many here. These include:

• Q Mentors – Our artists will donate their time to various art workshops at Qulture for children, particularly those from abused families and from the poorest of our colonias.

• The grand opening of Qulture will benefit a charity to be announced soon.

• Qulture will spearhead the continuing fund-raising efforts to support the coaching staff of Jim Lee’s “Kick Start” soccer program for the Volcanes Kids Project.

The Qulture website and Facebook page are pending further development. For more information, send an email to jim(at)livingvallarta.com.

Puerto Vallarta Garden Club gives Plaza de Armas a new look

Puerto Vallarta Garden Club gives Plaza de Armas a new look

April 5, 2018

Plaza de Armas in downtown Puerto Vallarta took on a new face, thanks to the image renewal work carried out by the municipal government of Puerto Vallarta and local Garden Club, on the occasion of the Centennial Anniversary of the city.

The work was completed before the start of Semana Santa, and you can already see the improvement with the placement of ornamental plants and other suitable species for this space. Beyond the plants, the benches and kiosk were rehabilitated to give greater prominence to this space.

In a recent town hall session, the plenary session approved an initiative for this civil association, which has contributed to the beautification of other areas of the city, to donate the remodeling materials, gardening (ornamental plants and earth) and workers, as well as as consultant through landscape specialist André Lategan, vice president of the organization, at no cost to the municipality.

In as much the City council will contribute employees of the department of Parks and Gardens, and thanks to Vallarta Garden Club, a plaque will be placed in the Plaza de Armas.

The contribution of this civil organization can be seen for some years in spaces in the Romantic Zone, downtown, Rio Cuale, Mexico Avenue, among others, “for the joy of living in Puerto Vallarta,” as expressed by its members.

Puerto Vallarta Artist Wins International Recognition.

Puerto Vallarta Artist Wins International Recognition


June 1, 2017

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Local artist Francisco Javier Calvillo Valdez recently received international recognition by winning second place in the 1er Concurso Internacional de Escultura Monumental de Paja y Maíz (1st International Competition of Monumental Sculpture of Straw and Maize) held in Colima, Mexico.

The sculptor, who astonishes with his creations in sand on the Malecón, participated in the contest, which had artists from Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Finland, South Korea, Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine making monumental sculptures from straw and corn, during the 2nd International Colima Volcano Festival.

Mexico was represented by sculptors Carlos Ramírez Pereyra, originally from Colima, and Francisco Javier Calvillo Valdez, a resident in Puerto Vallarta.

First place went to the representative of Canada for the sculpture “La Lechuza Blanca,” second place was won by Mexico with “El Dios del Maíz,” and third place was awarded to Finland’s “Maize Vipers.”

It should be noted that all of the special mentions – the Artists, Audience and Children’s Favorites, as well as the International Audience (via social networks) Awards – were won by Mexicans.

Francisco Javier Calvillo Valdez, a plastic artist from Zapopan, Jalisco, graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a Visual Arts degree. Within his artistic career, he has participated in numerous individual and collective exhibitions in diverse galleries, cultural centers, academic institutions and interventions of public spaces; in addition to his participation in forums, exchanges, contests and cultural festivals in various states of the republic and abroad.

In 2008, Francisco Javier joined the world of ephemeral art with the elaboration of sand sculptures. Since then, he has worked independently to exhibit his works on the Malecón in downtown Puerto Vallarta, using his artistic discipline as a means of promoting the destination through sand sculptures.

He frequently collaborates with the city in coordination with the municipal government or the Tourism Trust for various events and makes sculptures to welcome special groups of visitors to our city.

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Trust congratulates Francisco Javier Calvillo Valdez, who has great acceptance as a sand sculptor in the artistic, social and business community. Throughout his artistic career, he has developed sand sculptures for social, cultural and artistic events, for hotel and high-end residential projects and events, and for national and international companies, thereby gaining international exposure not only for his works of art but also for Puerto Vallarta.

Press release translated and edited by Lorena Sonrisas for BanderasNews.com.

Exploring Crafts Towns Around Lake Patzcuaro.

Exploring Crafts Towns Around Lake Patzcuaro

 

Most of us who get hooked on Mexican handcrafts and folk art begin with the typical tourist markets selling trinkets to tourists, with the colors and novel forms as the attraction. As we learn more, we become more interested in the processes, culture and people behind the items that we admire.

Tours specifically to bring people into contact with artisans and the places they live are a growing but still niche business.  So many of these towns are still neglected, in part because of tourist’s fears and in part because artisans do not know how to market themselves to a global audience. But the extra effort is worth it. Buying in the small crafts towns is that it is much more likely to buy locally-made items and even buying directly from the artisans themselves.

Michoacán is one of three major producers of Mexican handcrafts, but knowledge of this lags behind the reputations of Oaxaca and Chiapas. One reason for this is that it has no major resorts. Its major tourist attraction is Patzcuaro, along the lake with the same name. Most of its tourism is national, with the exception of the Day of the Dead, when it is insanely crowded with people coming to see the marvelous traditions relating to this holiday.

Although the rest of Michoacán has a number of notable crafts towns, the highest concentration of these are around this small lake. The reason is historical. In the early colonial period, authorities sent a man by the name of Vasco de Quiroga to Michoacán to bring order to the chaos created by the first conquistadores. Atrocities by Nuño de Guzman and others forced native populations to flee. Working from Patzcuaro, Quiroga not only put an end to slaughter, he also laid the groundwork for the establishment of trades to entice the native population to return. Different towns specializing in different trades, such as the working of various textiles, metals, wood, etc. carry on much of this old system.

The cultural and economic heart of the lake region is the small city of Patzcuaro, on the south shore. However, the city’s economy is based on tourism, not handcrafts. It does serve has the main outlet for much of the handcraft production of the area, with many shops and street vendors making merchandise easily accessible to the casual visitor. The quality and authenticity of this merchandise varies quite a bit and a little knowledge goes a long way in a country that truly believes in “buyer beware.”

One exception in the sea of resellers is the workshop and store of Mario Gaspar, located in the first portal of the Casa de las Once Patios. Gaspar specializes in the making wood items and gourds covered in a lacquer technique that dates back to the pre Hispanic period. Lacquering is a very labor-intensive process, as is the application of extremely fine gold leaf that can be found on most pieces. Unlike the vast majority of shops, Gaspar has informative signs (in Spanish) among his wares and visitors are encouraged to see the family at work in the back and talk to them about what they are doing. Gaspar has won numerous awards over the decades, and says he is the only person doing the work in Patzcuaro. That does not mean his is the only outlet, but you will be buying what you pay good money for.

Various towns work with wood, including Cuanajo, Erongaricuaro, Quiroga and Pichataro, but Cuanajo is the best-known and most-accessible for tourists, with the others having little or absolutely no indications for visitors that any handcraft activity goes on here. Cuanajo is best known for furniture in which flowers, plants, some animals and even people are carved relief-style and painted in bright colors. This furniture is easily found in Patzcuaro and is prominent in handcraft fairs such as the Tianguis and Competition held in conjunction with the Day of the Dead festival. But despite the numerous shops/workshops in Cuanajo lining the only road entering the town, few sell this iconic furniture.

Today, most of the furniture made and sold here is a generic rustic or even modern design, a change that came about a decade ago or less. The reason for this is that most who come to Cuanajo are locals, whose taste in furniture has changed. Most of the carpenters can still make the “old” furniture but the few who do regularly, do so for foreign customers.

Wood masks are the specialty of the small town of Tocuaro, located a short distance west of Patzcuaro. It has about fifteen blocks tops, with about five or six families dedicated to this craft and some other woodwork. The best-known name here is that of the Horta family. Wood masks are a necessity for several traditional dances, but they were not always made here. Juan Horta learned the craft in Pichataro and Quiroga and brought it back to his hometown, established a workshop on Morelos Street. The workshop still bears his name, today run by his sons. It, and the nearby workshop of Felipe Horta, are open to passing visitors. Just ring the bell.

More in line with expectations is Santa Clara del Cobre, just southeast of Patzcuaro and away from the lake proper. This town specializes in the making of copper, with many of the town’s residents dedicated to it. Individual workshops may or may not advertise their presence to visitors, but the town has a small but decent copper museum, various stores on the main plaza and the main parish church is very tastefully decorated with elements made from this metal.

Ihuatzio is on the eastern shore and best known for the working of reeds and rushes gathered from the lakeshore. Traditional items include baskets of varying sizes and shapes as well as sombreros. It is also home to the Tzumindi workshop, which specializes in the making of surprisingly heavy and sturdy furniture covered in the twisted dried leaves of bullrushes. The sturdiness comes from the frame, which is soldered metal over which the rushes are woven. The town center does not have shops, but there are a few on the main road that lead to the town from the highway that connects Patzcuaro to Quiroga.

The next major crafts town is Tzintzuntzan. The main tourist attraction here is the local archeological site, with its unusual round pyramid/platforms. The added traffic supports a number of shops in town focusing on (mostly) locally-produced pottery and various decorative items made from straw. It is home to the Morales family. Angelica Morales is noted low fire pottery with unique line designs. These were initially developed by her father, but she has since perfected them. Her brother Luis Manuel has gone in a different direction, introducing the production of high-fire wares with modern designs based on traditional and pre Hispanic motifs. The best-known family working with straw is that of Faustino Guzman, which can make very large and very elaborate scenes with this very simple material.

North of Tzintzuntzan is Quiroga, which does have shops and stalls selling handcrafts, but the goods here are of dubious quality and origin. It is a small, crowded city, not conducive to wandering tourists. On the north shore is the very, very small community of Santa Fe de la Laguna. The area facing the highway is filled with shops selling mostly pottery to passing traffic, but there is nothing here that cannot be found anywhere else. What is worth a stop in the area is around the town plaza. Most women here still wear traditional dress (all or in part) and there are several interesting shops selling blouses, skirts and aprons, some of which are heavily embroidered and/or covered in sequins. Also recommended are the local breads that are sold on the square.

The little towns around the lake are worth the visit, even if they do not have the tourist amenities that Patzcuaro has. They are real towns with real people living real lives, and pleasant surprises wait in store. In Ihuatzio, my husband and I were invited off the street to partake in atole being served in honor of the local image of the Virgin Mary and I had the best tortilla I have ever had… hand pressed and cooked over a comal on a wood fire, of course.

Artisans are heavily dependent on tourism to survive. A common refrain we heard is how sales are down because of the drop in visitors to the region. Unfortunately, Michoacán has a reputation for being dangerous as it is the home of one of Mexico’s drug cartels, La Familia Michoacana. This keeps many tourists away, both Mexican and foreign. I strongly believe that any danger they may pose is way overblown. The reality is that it is the people who live in Michoacán who have far more to risk from organized crime than any tourist there visiting for a few days. I should also note that the dangerous areas are near drug trafficking routes, which are in the mountains/coast significantly west of the Patzcuaro area. It is perfectly safe to rent a car and go exploring around this beautiful countryside…. the biggest “danger” we encounter here is stray cattle crossing the road.

 

All photos by Alejandro Linares Garcia unless otherwise noted

Puerto Vallarta News Brief & Weekend Events.

March 3 Puerto Vallarta News Brief & Weekend Events


March 3, 2017
From live music and theater to cultural festivals, sporting events, charitable efforts and special interest group meetings, there’s always something fun happening in Puerto Vallarta and around Banderas Bay.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico – There’s always so much going on in Puerto Vallarta and around Banderas Bay it can be difficult to keep up with it all. Here’s a look at some of this week’s headlines, a few community announcements and a couple of weekend events that you won’t want to miss.

Vida Fest, an International Festival of Comedy, Circus & Street Arts, this Weekend

With a rate of 13.5 suicides per every 100 thousand young people, suicide is a global phenomenon that occurs in all regions of the world. According to WHO data released in 2016, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 15- to 29-year-olds, after accidents and homicide. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed suicide. According to state statistics, suicide is on the rise among young people in Jalisco, so the city of Puerto Vallarta is hosting the 5th edition of “Vida Fest” (Life Fest) this weekend. Set to take place March 3, 4, and 5 at the “Aquiles Serdán” Open Air Theater and along the Malecón all the way to the lighthouse, the festival is a non-profit event which seeks to generate social awareness about the problem of suicide through cultural activities such as circus, street theater, clown art, music, workshops and many other free activities. The participating companies this year are: Pata de Perro, All Staar Circus, Clown Yap, Balam Clown, Chicken Bun, Circus Lodum, Danzirco, Trix Company, Mimox Storytelling, Chepetin and Partner, Santi Mutante and Mauri K, and finally Ciboulette. For the full schedule of events, click HERE. For more information, visit the Vida Fest Vallarta event page on Facebook.Pendant Supporting Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter Now on Sale

Help support the Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter and change the lives of women and children, survivors of domestic violence. Thanks to our friend, Georgia Darehshori and Casa Karma, Puerto Vallarta and to Joyeria Diamante Azul (Blue Diamond Jeweler) for supplying the silver at wholesale costs, we are able to offer this beautiful pendant, designed and signed by Alfredo Franco to everyone who sets up a monthly donation to Compassion for the Family Inc. Donations can be set up on the not for profit website CompassionForTheFamilyMx.org. Pay by credit card or by setting up a Paypal account. Donations can also be received at Compassion for the Family Inc., 115 13th Street SE, Altoona, IA 50009. Donations are tax deductible for US citizens. The Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter is working with Vida Reavivida/Compassion for the Family Inc. and Mexican Social Services to provide an immediate, temporary and safe living environment for women and children who are the victims of domestic violence; to prepare them to be financially independent through jobs, education, non interest small business loans; and to assist them in living a life free of violence through professional counseling. For more information, please visit CompassionForTheFamilyMx.orgBeef Dip Producer Steve Buczek Donates $70,050 pesos to SETAC

One of the many exciting events that took place during the 14th annual Beefdip bear and leather week in Puerto Vallarta was the Beefdip and Alphonse Swimwear Tidal Wave – Pool Party and Fashion Show. Held at Mantamar Beach Club on February 2, this year’s pool party was a fundraiser benefiting Los Niños de Magisterio, R.I.S.E. Orphanage, and the SETAC Community Center. Party-goers enjoyed complementary snacks, food & drink specials, and music by special guest DJ & Producer José Spinnin Cortez of Guadalajara. The swimwear, modeled by handsome, cuddly, beefy Bears, thrilled the 200 attendees at a poolside party. In addition to a raffle of swimwear, custom-made and donated by Alphonse, event proceeds came from personal donations. In a gesture of gratitude, SETAC donated a basket containing several bottles of liquor for the raffle, offered free STD informational brochures and condoms to all attendees, and provided balloons to add to the event’s decorations. The producer of Beef Dip, Steve Buczek of Toronto, Canada, presented the Community Center with a donation of $70,050 pesos, which will help SETAC continue to bring the tools of education and prevention of HIV directly to Puerto Vallarta residents and visitors. According to SETAC Director Paco Arjona, the donation will be used to implement 4th generation rapid HIV testing, as well as Quick Hepatitis B, C and Chlamydia Testing, all of which will prepare them to introduce the PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) pill, which will help reduce the number of new HIV infections. SETAC wishes to thank Steve Buczek, Alphonse Deserville, and all of the fun friendly “bears” who attended the 2017 Beefdip and Alphonse Swimwear Tidal Wave – Pool Party and supported their commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in Puerto Vallarta.Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra Sunday Concerts at The Jazz Foundation

The Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra is coming of age fast! Officially established in September 2016, only 5 months ago, Puerto Vallarta’s first and only youth-based jazz orchestra has already been invited to perform the first Sunday of every month at The Jazz Foundation, Allende 116, just a few feet off the Malecón and across the street from La Bodegita del Medio in downtown Puerto Vallarta. While the usual big band orchestra is comprised of 18 musicians, the Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra has grown to 27 members and has already given several fundraising concerts – at Act II Stages in Puerto Vallarta, The Breakers Beach Club Restaurant and Bar in Bucerías, and at Plaza Caracol in Puerto Vallarta. The first performance at The Jazz Foundation will be on March 5th, with concerts scheduled for the first Sunday of the month, 12 months a year. Performance times will be at 7:00 pm. A supporting fee of 100 pesos, in lieu of a cover charge, will be directly donated to the band. For more information, call The Jazz Foundation at 322-113-0295.

Weekend Events in Puerto Vallarta and Around Banderas Bay
Click on titles for more information• Entreamigos’ Ninth Annual Children’s Art Festival

• TREG’s Fifth Annual Puerto Vallarta Real Estate Fair

• Sixth Annual Riverfest to Benefit Pasitos de Luz at El Rio BBQ

• Wine Fest Gran Verbena Popular, Sunday at Lazaro Cardenas Park

The People of Vallarta: Introducing Quetzal.

The People of Vallarta: Introducing Quetzal

 

If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” he says. Many claim they will “make it” in New York City, but sadly, more often than not, many do not.

Quetzal shares this statement with me; saying that by age of fifty (he is now thirty), he will be selling his paintings in art galleries throughout New York City. Given his talent, drive, commitment and passion, I (along with others) believe he will attain this desired goal.

Quetzal is a determined, skilled and highly imaginative young artist who moved to Puerto Vallarta (PV) three years ago. He once owned a small gallery in Mexico City and after selling five paintings in just one week, he decided to move to the city of his dreams; PV. In his short time being here, Quetzal has already firmly established himself in the local artists community. He is involved with various groups and his work is displayed in galleries throughout the city.

Last year, after seeing his potential, Natalie from Art Vallarta flew him to visit galleries in both New York and Montreal. Quetzal is both passionate and serious about his art. He dedicates sixteen hours a day to his work; “Art is my compulsion. I paint eight hours on personal work and eight hours on commercial art.” He also reads a lot, expanding his knowledge through political and philosophical material. “As I learn more, I expand more, and as I expand, I learn more.”

Quetzal continually challenges himself; his degree in graphic design is constantly enhanced through participation in fine arts workshops hosted by the famed Academia de San Carlos.

The first time I saw Quetzal’s work was one year ago; at the lively, filled to the brim Art Vallarta “Frida Festival.” When I entered this funky gallery, I spotted a large, unique interpretation of a dancing Frida Kahlo. As I stood back to admire this work, I was informed it had sold within hours of opening. “That’s Quetzal,” said the curator, “his work is incredible!” I nod and murmur in contemplative agreement. Fast forward to one year later. On a day of torrential rain, I attend the bustling River of Art Fundraiser at Oscars restaurant.

In amongst the numerous bodies, I spot a black and white painting of Frida Kahlo with a deer. While I lean over to examine how the artist managed to convey the deers’ softness through his brush, I see a young Mexican enter with another large, vividly coloured, Frida portrait. I follow the painting, but then step back to make room for those who rush forward to speak with him.

As I wait my turn, Collette Zarry suddenly appears and introduces me to the painter. It is Quetzal, the fellow I did not meet a year ago while viewing his work at Art Vallarta. I am taken aback by his youthful appearance — I assumed the artist who had created these beautiful works would be older; someone with decades more experience and intimate knowledge about colours, composition and the brush. It is clear that Quetzal is ahead of his time.

I edit this story while listening to speakers from the woman’s march in Washington D.C. Interestingly enough, many of Quetzals’ pain-tings are of women. I reach for my interview notes to locate a statement made by this talented young man. He tells me: “Art is a powerful weapon to make people understand many things.

All bad things–inequality, discrimination, racism; they can be put so beautifully through art. That is the real magic —to change peoples’ minds.” He hopes his work will inspire women and young girls “to reach their potential and know there are many more options in life than only marriage.”

I am left those words. Quetzal is a remarkable young artist; someone who lives in a predominately Macho culture, yet someone who still manages, to honour the other. I am not a betting woman, but in this case, I bet that Quetzal will “make it” in New York. If I were you (but I am not), I encourage you run (not walk), to the nearest gallery to buy one of his paintings.

This will not only be an invest-ment in your future, but also, an investment in the upcoming generation of young women, and of the beauty in this world.