Quijote Museum Awards First Place Prize to Local Painter

By Elena Baca Suquet
On Friday, November 26, the Iconographic Quijote Museum in the city of Guanajuato held the awards ceremony of the Twenty-Fifth National Visual Art Contest in painting. The first place and acquisition prize went to Juan Carlos Cázares, a Mexican artist living in San Miguel de Allende for the past 14 years.

Cázares was born in Santiago de Querétaro in 1976 and decided to follow the path of art at the age of 20. Self-taught, he’s made his way in art, beginning in Querétaro while participating in competitions and national biennials and offering workshops in the Museo de la Ciudad. Later, in San Miguel, he established himself independently and put his work, and that of other artists, on the map. Today, he is a renowned artist in San Miguel. He describes himself as a non-commercial figurative artist, with a critical and dark style, sometimes fantastic and surrealist, but always well identified by the unique and very personal skies in his contemporary landscapes and sumptuous banquets where herds of pigs violate the sacred food. Prominent motifs in his work are pig-cardinals, witch-pigs, and pigs on fire being pulled by a worried man with a cage on his head, a piano soloist on fire, or a couple in a wedding dress dancing the wedding waltz also covered in fire, among many other pieces.

His work, which inclines more and more to notes of wonder, meditation, and confrontation, tends mostly toward creative freedom without aiming to please artistic fashions or trends. As he paints, he does so directly on the canvas without prior sketches. He sometimes prints an image of his own creation and alters it, or he paints in “lalimon” style. He draws full folds of human figures in a single stroke in 60 seconds. He makes demands on himself, rips paper, throws paint, or re-paints canvases. He searches and searches again for the fundamentals and the shapes. He also sculpts, carves, and gives shape to a piece of wood or a stone at his studio in the countryside.

His work can be found in different countries around the world: Mexico, of course, the United States, Canada, and in some countries in Europe, in museums, galleries, and in collectors’ homes. However, when he exhibits, for Cázares, it’s equally significant to do so in the street as in a museum. For him, art doesn’t have a particular place; it’s a playful, movable inhabitant everywhere.

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