Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, Mexico
We wake and commence a Puebla City walk, discovering European like architecture and quiet artisan streets. Tiles carefully inlaid to many buildings and little terraces from most windows. It’s beautiful. There are markets with painted tiles, fine pottery – all things handmade and colourful. We visit an amazing chapel/ church. As a sinner who doesn’t frequent these places, I could’ve been here for a while.. But I’ve got other things to do…. that would require repenting later.
Lunch consists of Melotes… best $20 pesos I’ve spent so far. My Melote is a tortilla stuffed with chicken & mushrooms, deep fried and doused in a verde salsa and creme. De-*******-licious.
About 30 minutes out of Puebla in Mexico, is a town called Cholula. We get taxis there to see some average archeological site and markets. The fresh markets are good… until I wander off to buy fruit and can no longer see the group, leading me to decide I’ll just get a taxi back to Puebla. I end up finding 2 guys from my group and Victor… the rest of the group had already gone back to Puebla. There’s some debate about me getting lost though… Let’s be clear, the group lost me, I didn’t lose the group, I knew where I was. Considering we’re all adults, I don’t see the big deal. Victor is seriously considering purchasing a lead for myself and another painful, older woman (an intense, Ukrainian translator who is a terrible communicator, generally off putting and not for me).
Cholula is home to a group of artists (friends of Victors) who are beautifying the high set bessa block fences and walls that trace their streets. Walking down a relatively empty road, a sea of colours and images are sprayed over a great length of wall. In the middle a black and decorated metal door.
Behind the door, a secret garden, for a hidden street art society/ utopia.
Vic playfully bangs on the metal door to announce our arrival and yells out from the street to his friend inside, Flacko. The door opens and the 3 of us are introduced to Flacko who along with 4 dogs, greet us warmly. Flacko is a thin, quietly spoken, child like, Mexican sculpture artist with scruffy straight hair and fluro green rimmed, clear lense glasses. He’s like a cool cartoon character. Walking through the door, into the courtyard, is the home and creative space of Cash Christian Mil Amores. https://vimeo.com/album/3782631/video/1 60959556
Immediately, colours and paintings on the courtyard walls command your attention. Then from a door way ahead, emerges Christian. Shirtless, wearing only comfortable pants. Christian is an artist who promotes and puts up visiting artists at his home/ creative space, curating and organising canvases (walls/ doors/ surfaces) in the streets of Cholula for artists to paint.
He’s not so much into promoting his own work in his own town (he has an upcoming exhibition in Japan and a gallery in NYC). When asked about making a name for himself, he said he’d rather remain unknown and let others shine… that he doesn’t have time or can be bothered with selling his art online. Christian sacrifices more than blood sweat and tears.. He sacrifices blood, sweat and teeth. His own four front teeth to be precise. One tooth embedded in recent artworks of “monsters” he has painted. Now Christian looks like a Mexican vampire or like he’s been in some hefty fights.
Heavy rain sets in and we’re subsequently drenched on the way back to Christians. He hands us some towels to dry off. We sit and watch some short home films based around art being done in the Cholula area. We have some green and some tea during the screening. Some of these feature Christian and other artists creating the street masterpieces around Chulula we’ve been lucky enough to see this afternoon/ evening.
As we say goodbye, Christian tells us we have a place to stay in Mexico. Next door is a bakery so feeling a bit peckish, we grab some munchies and go to a bar for a drink. I order a Mojito and the others dabble in the local alcohol, Mezcal. Mezcal tastes like high school, like bad decisions. Today has been a good day. Art is life.