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Oaxaca Woodcarver and Decorative Painter
Influenced by Surrealism
Giovanni Melchor Ramos considers Salvador Dal í his favorite artist and Leonardo da Vinci his favorite draftsman. He was introduced to their work when he studied art at Bellas Artes and the Taller Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca. Their influences -- especially Dal í 's surrealism -- can be seen in his clever, well-conceived designs.
Portrait of Giovanni in 2016
Giovanni has participated in three young artist competitions sponsored by FOFA in collaboration with Museo Estatal de Arte Popular Oaxaca (MEAPO). In 2013 and 2016 he was awarded honorable mention in the category of "decorative painting of woodcarving."
"I Will Tell You My Story" (winning entry in 2013)
The Big Bang Theory sits behind Giovanni's 2013 winning entry in the contest themed "Celebrating Mother Earth: Inspiration for Oaxaca's Folk Arts". It's about the creation of the earth, he explains. Four different colors represent the Four Elements: air, earth, fire, and water. While the elements rub up against one another, they somehow remain in balance. Only man can destroy the earth.
"Three Generations" (winning entry in 2016)
In the 2016 contest themed "Honoring Our Roots, Exploring Our Dreams" Giovanni's piece celebrated three generations of wood carvers in his family -- all rooted in his pueblo of San Mart í n Tilcajete. His grandfather's generation introduced decorative painting to the ancient art of woodcarving. The blue coyote, embellished with historic images of clay masks and embroidery, evokes the grandfather. His father, represented by a jaguar, was known for his measured geometric forms created with wax and ink. The dog bears Giovanni's distinctive mark: a matte base decorated with black and white points.
In 2016 Giovanni participated in a workshop on Marketing, sponsored by FOFA with support from Los Amigos del Arte Popular (LADAP). As a result of the workshop, he was able to improve the documentation of his work and to plan his web page. These professional skills seem to be paying off. Thanks to the workshop and the FOFA competitions -- following which he has appeared in exhibition catalogues -- he now has several new clients as well as new opportunities for exhibiting his work.
Giovanni will be featured, along with six other folk artists from Oaxaca, in an exhibit in Saginaw, Michigan entitled "Folk Artists from Oaxaca: Seven Artists, Seven Voices." The show, at the Marshall M. Fredericks Museum, runs from June 23 to September 30, 2017. The new pieces he has created for the show will combine the traditional and the surreal. The surrealist artist, Giovanni says, can inhabit a world without rules -- or with rules that he alone creates. Among his favorite surreal images is a deer with antlers that are also branches of trees where other animals and plants can grow and thrive.


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