Generally, people like to talk about themselves, especially when given permission. I can usually get an artisan to talk at least for 30 minutes, often an hour or more once the conversation gets started.
Today I think I hit a record for the shortest conversation with an artist who genuinely gave me an interview…. 7 minutes.
Its not the first time I have had to do some coaxing. Some people are shy, and some artisans do not quite get the interest and value that foreigners have in their work. But despite the multi-talents that the Ramirez family has; screen printing, photography, jewelry-making, and sandblasted glass, what attracted me was the leatherwork on display on their table at the Feria de las Culturas Indígenas, Pueblos y Barrios Originarios at the Zocalo of Mexico City this past weekend.
Despite my best efforts to coax a story behind the eye-catching work, anything more than bits of data were just not forthcoming. Essentially, the family has been a creative jack-of-all trades for so long, that Mario Antonio Ramirez, the man I interviewed finds it so very ordinary.
I did get that the family is from Mexico City, with just about all still living in the area, except Mario, who lives in the city of Campeche. The leatherwork is relatively new, only 10 years or so, added both because of interest in working with the material and economic necessity. When I asked how they got into it, the simply reply was along the lines of … we decided to do it, bought the materials and learned… like that is so easy.
Questions about how and why their items are bought also elicted vague replies. They seem to sell at fairs all over Mexico, through various resellers, etc. However, they are business-saavy enough to have business cards and a website (although “in maintenance”)… a rarity among artisans.
I found the leatherwork especially the bags to be interesting because while they were definitely rustic, there is something sophisticated in the simple designs I cannot put my finger on. I think perhaps the work speaks far more than Mario prefers.
The family business is under the name of Ivonne and Marco Ramirez Bello, web site http://www.aerogio.com/ or Whatsapp 5540516224/5525319770 or firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com