Mario Ramírez is an illustrator who moved to Ajijic from Tequila in 2019.
Now 33, he started art when he was six and decided to pursue drawing more seriously in high school with the encouragement of his teachers.
He was unable to start a career related to design after high school due to the cost and travel. So at 18, he started working as a maintenance man at José Cuervo in Tequila. It was a job that Mario held for 14 years until last summer when he was finally able to quit his day job and begin life as a full-time artist, a dream he’s had since he was 15.
Mario arrived in Ajijic the day after he quit at José Cuervo, but without any work to sell.
“I didn’t have anything. I only had one finished picture and one started. I put it up for sale on Facebook and the day after, it sold. After, I finished another one and it sold.”
In Ajijic, he says, it’s possible to live as an artist, but in Tequila there are just tourists — “And drunks!” he jokes. “That’s why I couldn’t dedicate myself to it there. Because people don’t buy, there’s no movement there.”
Mario started off selling in the Ajijic plaza before opening his gallery at Juárez #27 at the end of 2019.
He’s a self-taught artist, learning mostly from YouTube and other sources.”I look at the techniques there. When I have a question, I watch the tutorial on YouTube.”
Mario uses charcoal and pens in the majority of his drawings, but also sometimes switches to paints.
His focus is on exploring Mexican culture and his art is focused on portraiture, be it of a person, animal or flower. Charros, catrinas and other Mexican themes like the Xoloitzcuintli (Mexico’s famous hairless dog), are the subjects of his work.
Some of the people found in his illustrations are from Ajijic. Mario is also a photographer and takes photos during the town’s parades. He draws inspiration from these photos for his drawings.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to draw, Mario gives private and semi-private lessons at his gallery. Contact him below for more information.
Last updated March 4, 2020
Juárez #27• Ajijic
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Photos of Mario Ramírez
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Aztec Dancer on Mezcala Island
Jaime Rodríguez stands on top of the fort walls on Mezcala Island, a half-mile stretch of land rising out of Lake Chapala, Mexico. A local indigenous group successfully used the island as a fortress against the Spanish during the War of Independence in the early 19th century.